The More Things Change

If you have worked in the adult Internet industry since its early days, you’ve probably come to view technological developments that have an impact on the industry as both a blessing and a challenge; a blessing in that the new technology often opens up new markets and distribution channels, and a challenge because there’s often a bit of chaos along the way, as competing formats and protocols vie to be adopted as the new standard.

Mobile technology and the mobile market fit right into that pattern, as the rapid adoption of smartphones is changing the way many consumers access and consume online content and content distributors puzzle over the optimal means to serve the various devices that define the mobile landscape.

For all the differences between the mobile and fixed-web environments, however, market leaders in the adult mobile space will tell you that when it comes to marketing and promoting mobile and fixed web products, there are more similarities than differences.

The current state of the mobile device market is somewhat analogous to the early days of the adult Internet, when site designers and coders had to account for differences in the way that the major browsers of the day handled and displayed HTML and graphic content. Prior to Internet Explorer establishing dominance in terms of browser market share, it was not uncommon to see messages like “this site best viewed in Netscape” emblazoned on websites, or to encounter sites that looked just fine in one browser, and entirely screwed up in another.

For adult companies that have already taken the plunge into the mobile porn sector, like Digital Playground, the diversity of mobile devices on the market presents a similar puzzle in a modern package: how to effectively serve the myriad of handheld gadgets is a logistical question that has to be addressed in order for effective marketing to take place.

“We take a universal approach to developing and delivering our sites for a multitude of mobile devices,” said Farley Cahen, chief operating officer for Digital Playground. “We strive to deliver our content with the most user-friendly experience possible.”

TopBucksMobile takes a similar approach, crafting unique front ends for each of the major device types, and employing automatic detection and redirect scripts to deliver each user to the front end optimized for their device of choice.

Once you have addressed the practical question of supporting multiple device types, the ins and outs of marketing mobile content are actually not that different from the marketing strategies and techniques employed for standard websites. In Digital Playground’s case, the company’s popular and high-profile performers are an important part of the mobile marketing equation, just as they are in promoting the company’s fixed websites.

“We of course utilize our contract stars to the fullest via Twitter, Facebook and their branded sites,” Cahen said. “They promote the mobile versions of all our sites as well as our new live video chat to mobile.”

On the affiliate side of the mobile marketing equation, Cahen said that many tried and true methods from the fixed-web environment are equally effective when applied to the mobile sector, which, Cahen observed is “still in its infancy.”

“Webmasters who are successful at driving traffic will continue to be successful [with mobile],” Cahen said. “Keyword and ad buy campaigns continue to produce positive ROI as well as mobile versions of existing websites. Consumer traffic on mobile devices continues to grow exponentially.”

One feature of traditional adult site marketing that Cahen hopes will not replicate itself in the mobile sector is the over-supplying of free content to consumers, which undermines the ability to sell product.

“At Digital Playground, we have proven internally that giving away too much free content is a losing battle,” Cahen said. “We chose to offer an extensive library of high quality, exclusive HD content that can’t be seen on any other sites. Additionally, we work diligently to battle pirated content so that the user experience at our sites is truly worth the subscription price — thus our Trademarked tagline, ‘Porn Worth Paying For.’”

Cahen noted that having free sites on the market is not an entirely negative thing, particularly if a company can successfully keep their content from being displayed on such sites.

“In our case, we benefit to a degree from other free mobile sites,” Cahen said. “Our consumers are looking for a superior experience, and being that they can’t easily find our content on tube sites, they are willing to pay for Digital Playground content. A large portion of consumers will always be willing to pay to enjoy the highest quality experience and that’s what we deliver.”