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Traffic Report: Power Players Discuss Current Trends, Personal Outlooks

Traffic Report: Power Players Discuss Current Trends, Personal Outlooks

Internet traffic is the lifeblood of e-commerce, attracting audiences for advertisers seeking to sell their products or services and for publishers providing a platform for displaying these ads.

The extremely competitive business of generating and monetizing adult traffic is complex and quite multifaceted, so XBIZ wanted to drill down into several specific aspects of the current scene to provide insights into 2018’s biggest traffic challenges, as well as opportunities from the perspective of the ad networks at the core of the equation.

Compliance with regulations is always a challenge because of the speed and complexity of the environment we all work in, but our team takes our responsibilities seriously and we always do our best to follow best practices rather than just doing the bare minimum.

This includes how compliance with GDPR and other privacy regulations, policy issues and more, are affecting ad types, tone and placement — along with how affiliates and a new generation of performer/producer/promoter talent are using social media in combination with ad networks to build fan bases and to sell their wares.

Here’s what we discovered:

GDPR Front and Center

Touching on one of the adult industry’s hottest topics, Evangelos Zirdelis, ExoClick’s Sales and Ad Operations Director, tells XBIZ the newly enacted GDPR should be a major concern for any publisher, advertiser or third-party service provider in our industry.

“Collecting personal data must be done carefully and following very strict rules,” Zirdelis explains. “It is necessary to change the way we inform and collect consent from end users so it is more transparent and easier to understand.”

The GDPR impacts everything from data collection, such as gathering email addresses and website analytics, to ad retargeting, the use of tracking pixels and beyond, causing a careful reexamination of all aspects of online advertising, traffic generation and monetization.

“As for GDPR, we had to make sure our creatives matched the new data privacy rules for our E.U. traffic,” CrakRevenue’s VP of Business Development Olivier Bourque reveals, “but we haven’t seen much of a change with our media buying activities.”

TrafficForce Advertising Manager Ross Allan believes the impact of GDPR hasn’t been as big as many expected, largely because there was plenty of advance notice of what was coming.

“Most sites became compliant long before the rules actually went into effect, and we do our own due diligence work as well,” Allan tells XBIZ. “Compliance with regulations is always a challenge because of the speed and complexity of the environment we all work in, but our team takes our responsibilities seriously and we always do our best to follow best practices rather than just doing the bare minimum.”

While the final impact of the GDPR on the online advertising ecosystem remains uncertain, in mid-2018, the ad networks seem far more focused on the rippling effect of corporate changes in ad choice and other policies.

Chrome Causes Concerns

JuicyAds.com founder Jay tells XBIZ the challenge for traffic today is the overbearing regulation of publisher websites and advertising networks by private companies such as Google, with its market-leading Chrome browser imposing restrictions on permissible ad types.

It is a belief universally shared by his colleagues.

“It’s ridiculous that you have Google Chrome using their majority browser audience to punish independent publishers, which ultimately benefits Google advertising profits by potentially driving those websites out of business and driving traffic and popularity to ‘Google compliant’ websites based on their advertising choices,” Jay says. “Google can attempt to shroud their efforts in trying to ‘protect’ website surfers from popunders and aggressive advertising, but the simple move of going against popunders bolsters their profits because they get those ‘first clicks’ back that may have been on their ads, which went to a pop-under instead.”

Jay believes Google and Chrome made some serious threats to the livelihood of publishers by abusing their position as the most popular browser in the world, strong-arming publishers into discontinuing their choice of the advertising methods that are right for their websites.

“At the same time, Google appears to be ignoring sections of these same ‘Better Ads Standards’ that they used to justify their restrictions on other publishers in the first place, i.e. pre-roll auto-play YouTube videos,” Jay explains, noting he has no problem with YouTube’s monetization method. “What I have a problem with is the hypocrisy of an advertising company using its advantages to stop other ad companies from operating.”

Jay says JuicyAds supports a publisher’s ability to choose their own ad types, as well as the site visitor’s ability to choose their favorite sites.

“Google, Chrome and AdBlockPlus believe in control and shrouding their efforts in the illusion and optics of helping and protecting people,” Jay adds, “when their policies clearly reinforce the continued existence and expansion of their profits.”

Adult AdWorld CEO Daniel Rand agrees that the biggest challenge today is Google’s decisions about what is best for internet users.

“They seemed to have declared a ‘war on popunders’ and are doing what they can to deter their use, instead of letting the surfer make the decision to avoid sites that display pops,” Rand says. “This provides a challenge to both advertisers, who have tremendous success converting pop traffic to sales, and to publishers, who will often derive half their revenue from pops displayed on their sites.”

For his part, Bourque says CrakRevenue was quick to ensure its banners and landing pages complied with the newest round of rules — and notes that the company profited by being responsive to these changes.

“Since not all advertisers have made the switch yet, we saw a slight boost in traffic for some of our offers,” Bourque confides. “We like to think it’s important to follow recommendations, but not blindly so.”

TrafficStars’ Managing Director Peter Rabenseifner also recalls how the year began with the industry adjusting to the new advertising standards brought about by Google, which was definitely a challenge for those who had not prepared for these changes beforehand.

“TrafficStars had been planning for this in advance by introducing new, fully-compliant ad formats such as native ads, video pre-roll ads and postitial ads,” Rabenseifner reveals. “These are now some of our best converting ad formats, and popularity for them is skyrocketing.”

Rabenseifner says that rather than being a challenge, TrafficStars saw these changes as a big opportunity for its clients and partners to adapt with new strategies in a cleaner and more level playing field.

Further Challenges Remain

Beyond Chrome-inspired changes and continuing concerns over the GDPR, other challenges currently face traffic-hungry advertisers and publishers, with Zirdelis saying some of the biggest problems for advertisers include the time, targeting and optimization needed to create profitability.

“However, challenges like these always create opportunities in the ad technology industry,” Zirdelis tells XBIZ. “Here at ExoClick, we invest a large number of resources in our proprietary technology to ensure that clients can maximize their time, targeting and optimization opportunities and therefore their profitability with automation features including machine learning and AI.”

Bourque says the challenges for CrakRevenue in 2018 are no different than what every CPA network has faced over the past few years.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to exclusive offers for affiliates and relying on products appealing to end users, who, by the way, are more educated and savvy,” Bourque believes. “The ones able to combine those two components will end up being successful and collect their fair share of traffic in the process!”

TrafficPartner COO Jennie Wåge says that when it comes to traffic in 2018, quality and transparency are both the biggest challenge and opportunity at the same time.

“With real-time bidding (RTB) finally gaining traction in the adult space, it allows for more targeted traffic buys and the ability to get a better feel for the quality,” Wåge tells XBIZ. “The Better Ads Standard also changes the way ads are positioned, as well as the content, in favor of better user experiences. These things have required TrafficPartner.com to adapt the way we promote and buy traffic for our big dating brands like Fremdgehen69 and Badults, but in many ways for the better.”

TrafficPartner CMO Florian Eckelt calls the loss of overall traffic as a result of Google’s stricter regulations on pop traffic and misleading ads, coupled with the ongoing shift of traffic from desktop to mobile, the biggest challenges in 2018.

“Nevertheless, the number of overall users on the internet will naturally remain the same, just the number of ad spots and ways to approach them has changed,” Eckelt tells XBIZ. “A ‘clean-up’ content-wise will be good and increase consumer trust of adult content sites overall. For advertisers, it is now important to optimize the quality of the ads and the marketing channel mix as Google-compliant ads and social media will gain.”

Adversity Leads to Opportunity

Of course, the industry is not just sitting idly by as these changes happen, with Zirdelis telling XBIZ that while new ad restrictions eliminated many popular ad types for advertisers and resulted in penalties for publishers using non-compliant ad formats in their site’s ad zones, professionals are taking a proactive response that involves deploying new ad types and new business models.

“In order to combat [ad restrictions], ExoClick launched several new compliant ad formats including mobile interstitials, poststitial, rich media billboard banners, native interstitial and native exit, as well as new in-video banner formats,” Zirdelis tells XBIZ. “All formats can be easily dismissed by users ensuring compliance. We also introduced tools in our admin panel to allow publishers to block non-compliant ads with one single click, ensuring they are not penalized by Google.”

Zirdelis says ExoClick has recently seen a huge increase in the use of native ad formats, which appear similar to the editorial content of a publisher’s site and are compliant with the new ad standards.

“Network statistics for Q1 show just what offers are being pushed via native advertising, with the top four performing verticals being games at 33 percent, dating at 30 percent, VOD and membership sites at 23 percent and Nutra products at 14 percent,” Zirdelis adds. “As of May 2018, our native ad formats have been implemented by more than 3,000 websites on our network. Publishers have adopted this format to help stay compliant as well as to replace underperforming banner spots with great success.”

JuicyAds’ Jay agrees that a great opportunity right now for adult advertisers can be found in native ads.

“That segment of the advertising industry is exploding, set to quadruple by the end of 2018 and projected to be 76 percent of all online advertising in the coming years,” Jay reveals. “The downside is that they may not be the most ‘productive’ or profitable advertising because they contain a ton of click bait. However, if done correctly, they are a great replacement for declining ad types such as popunders, which have come under fire from Google this year.”

Rabenseifner tells XBIZ that one of the biggest focuses for 2018 is programmatic buying.

“RTB holds massive potential and we believe it is shaping the future of our industry,” Rabenseifner says. “We have powerful, advanced and in-house built technology, which we are investing a lot into. TrafficStars is fully Open RTB compliant, with a huge supply of high-quality traffic from a vast inventory of direct sources, and the ability to buy different ad formats. RTB is becoming one of the key aspects of our business.”

Other challenges on the broader traffic front point the way forward to new opportunities.

For example, Zirdelis notes the growth of video consumption on mobile devices and cites eMarketer stats showing mobile phones as the entry point for internet access in many markets and as the primary device for viewing videos.

“eMarketer expects more than three-quarters (78.4 percent) of digital video viewers to use their mobile phones to watch digitally streamed content,” Zirdelis says. “ExoClick provides ad formats for video marketing including pre-, mid- and post-roll in-stream and in-video banners. Adult content is 99 percent video-based so publishers and advertisers are increasingly adopting this format on our network.

“In Q1 our network stats showed that 44 percent of in-stream impressions were served on a desktop, 46 percent on mobile and 10 percent on tablets. Interestingly 75 percent of tablet impressions were on the iPad. With tablets being used mainly to watch video content, it seems advertisers are targeting what are considered to be the more affluent Apple users,” Zirdelis concludes. “On the smartphone side, iPhone impressions showed 48 percent of mobile impressions for in-stream with 52 percent on Android.”

Eckelt also points to the mobilization trend and says that taking a “mobile first” approach is the only way to survive the market change from desktop to mobile devices.

“Apps will be the future, making a great opportunity for advertisers to learn fast how app performance marketing works,” Eckelt concludes, adding, “A huge challenge will be to solve the new fraud challenges connected to mobile and app traffic.”

For his part, TrafficForce’s Allan says although the transition from standard self-serve ad platforms to DSP/SSP is complex, it is something a lot of people are striving to achieve now.

“The complexity comes in scaling a system capable of being able to take millions of requests an hour while serving the ads to the winning auction as fast as possible without ad lag,” Allan explains. “Integrating with other DSPs, building relationships and trust is also quite a time-consuming process with so many people out there waiting to rip off buyers.”

“Due diligence and KYC are very important in 2018, which is why working with solid partners and growing your platform to meet these new technological advancements is hard,” Allan adds, “but it’s worth all our time and energy because it earns our clients more money.”

JuicyAds’ Jay tells XBIZ that the biggest opportunity for advertisers is to be going after markets that aren’t currently oversaturated, as nearly everyone is going after the same markets and those aren’t the places you will find the big ROIs.

“Try new things, put a new marketing angle on it, and go after Asia and Europe,” Jay explains. “North American audiences are so heavily marketed to for every product imaginable. There’s still lots of potential there, but if you want to be successful it’s important to look at things that others are not.”

Pornhub VP Corey Price tells XBIZ the company is also looking to hone in on opportunities in emerging countries in 2018.

“There are several countries, namely Brazil and some in Asia,” Price reveals, “that are seeing explosive growth on the internet with mobile devices and we’re making a concerted effort to increase their traffic tenfold.”

“The largest opportunities we see are from new or improved ad units such as interstitial and pre-roll video advertisements,” adds Adult AdWorld’s Rand. “Pre-roll video is in a nascent stage and advertisers are just learning how best to promote their offers through video which allows them to speak directly to surfers much like a TV commercial.”

Zirdelis reveals the company has developed a new automation tool called ExoClick Bidder.

“It works like a smart assistant with two functions,” Zirdelis explains. “Firstly, it allows advertisers to automatically adjust (up/down) their CPM bids according to their target CPAs. The Bidder will then automatically blacklist ad zones that haven’t converted when their maximum test budget is reached. Secondly, it allows even further campaign optimization by letting advertisers and affiliates create their own rules to block ad zones based on the rules they set for target CPA, maximum test budget, CTR, clicks, conversions or ROI. No other adult network offers such a feature.”

Zirdelis is also seeing exponential growth in programmatic approaches, with ExoClick’s Ad Exchange and 3 billion daily RTB requests.

“Advertisers get access to multiple sources of direct quality inventory and they can bid on a per impression basis, eliminating wasted impressions to really finetune their targeting,” Zirdelis confides. “For publishers, joining our Ad Exchange ensures that they can maximize the demand for their ad spots, because we are integrated with every major agency, network and DSP. Additionally, publishers can identify revenue opportunities across channels with full access to their inventory data, so that they can see who wants their inventory and how much they are bidding. Publishers have full control and can block specific demand traffic sources and specific products.”

Extending its customization options, ExoClick’s platform API allows publishers and advertisers to automate every feature within their admin panel or create their own bespoke admin panel.

“For example, applications can be the simple automation of time consuming or repetitive actions to setting thresholds that automatically change underperforming campaign creatives, etc.,” Zirdelis reveals. “Publishers can automate the optimization of their ad zones, automate the blocking of certain products in certain geos, and more. The creative possibilities are endless.”

Although the current challenges facing ad networks and online marketers are significant, there is a silver lining to all of these profound changes.

“These issues (Chrome’s Better Ad Standards and GDRP) less affect ad types than they do advertisers by limiting the scope of what advertisers have saccess to and can do to target customers,” says Price. “Ultimately, it’s better for the user so advertisers and marketers will have to adapt to the new reality.”

Grand Slam Media (GSM)’s Director of Advertising Stephanie Hall underscores the challenge of being in compliance with Google’s ad standards, but also says it’s been a great opportunity for driving innovation in the industry.

“By eliminating misleading ads, the marketplace has made room for more thoughtful and creative ad types such as video ads, [but] an ongoing challenge is always fraud and viewability — making sure your ads are being shown to real people,” Hall says. “However, with members’ area traffic, ads are only shown to users once they have logged in, which helps to mitigate that risk and a good percentage of these users are credit-card-on-file, paying members, with high levels of engagement.”

Hall says one good thing about all the regulations being implemented this year is that it forces everyone to be more honest and creative with advertising and calls intrusive ads and aggressive pops “a shortsighted play for user acquisition and retention for both the publisher and advertiser.”

“Advertisers that were acquiring customers through deceptive creatives lead the visitor into errors of thought or action, which results in an overall lower LTV than that of an intended user,” Hall explains. “For publishers, aggressive advertising made for an unfriendly user experience resulting in lower time-on-site duration, higher bounce rates, as well as customer complaints through support channels. The net result has been the adoption of interactive, rich media creatives (such as video ads) and the further elimination of the malicious players in the marketplace.”

Ad Networks: An Affiliate's AdvantageAmong the most notable outward signs of the industry’s evolution is the changing face of ad network users, where the client base now goes well beyond “big companies” to include players at every level — including traditional adult affiliates that make use of these ad services as both advertisers and publishers.

Rand says affiliates make use of the services at AdWorldMedia.com in two main ways.

“Site owners can join our network and earn CPM revenue from the ad inventory on their sites,” Rand reveals, “but affiliates who focus on media buying to send traffic to numerous CPA/CPL offers can easily buy traffic from our self-serve platform.”

This flexibility is a hallmark of adult affiliates who have weathered substantial changes in the marketplace over the past few years.

“An affiliate can be both an advertiser and publisher,” TrafficPartner CSO Moritz von Arnim explains. “As an advertiser, they can benefit from our own high-quality members’ area traffic and hundreds of other global direct sources. As a publisher, they can be sure that we make the most of their traffic.”

Von Arnim says TrafficPartner offers traditional affiliates every kind of monetization opportunity as every business model is supported — either long-term (with at the end highest payout) via revenue share, or through simple performance deals on CPM/CPC/CPL/CPI — no matter if it is mobile or desktop, pop, banner, video or email traffic.

“Through our range of product variety,” von Arnim adds, “we not only monetize affiliate dating traffic but also community and mainstream (mobile) traffic.”

Even the top tube sites are getting in on the act, sharing traffic with affiliates, even as they rely upon them to fuel their own traffic supply.

“Affiliates who are looking to generate leads or conversions can act as advertisers on TrafficJunky,” Pornhub’s Price explains, “while affiliates with their own traffic sources can act as publishers driving traffic to our sites via HubTraffic.”

TrafficForce’s Allan says affiliates on the platform can be advertisers or publishers or both.

“Mostly we see affiliates as advertisers. They want to send more traffic to good converting affiliate products through CPA networks and need to buy a massive volume of traffic for testing,” Allan tells XBIZ. “Publishers mostly prefer to have the ad network sell their traffic for them to take the weight off their day-to-day operations and get paid by one source of monthly revenue as opposed to chasing multiple sources to ensure payment is received.”

“Good affiliates know how to work ad platforms for big returns on their ad spend,” Allan adds. “The data available is powerful and effective, so making money in 2018, in a lot of respects, is easier than ever, but it takes a lot of hustle and plenty of testing to get to that point.”

While the dual role of advertiser/publisher is common among affiliates, Jay tells XBIZ that from JuicyAds’ perspective as an advertising network, affiliates are always advertisers.

“However, ‘affiliates’ can be a confusing term as publishers may take advantage of affiliate programs (making them affiliates) and therefore it’s possible for affiliates to be on both sides. With this said, affiliates frequently purchase traffic to deliver traffic to their offers, which range widely by country and type of offer,” Jay says. “Right now, there is a lot of activity in cams, dating, games, VOD and Nutra. Those are pretty popular offers to promote with JuicyAds, but not all offers are created equal and it’s best to experiment, as you will get wildly different results for different offers with the same traffic.”

Likewise, Zirdelis also says affiliates work mainly as advertisers on ExoClick’s network.

“Affiliates are looking for high quality traffic, better targeting, automation and real-time reporting for campaign optimization. ExoClick offers premium traffic, RON traffic and membership area dating traffic through exclusive deals with partners such as Traffic Mansion and Dating Factory,” Zirdelis explains. “Members’ area traffic is a great high-quality source because the ad zones are inside dating sites’ membership areas. Ad spots are limited, making the offers really stand out.”

“Email marketing is a powerful affiliate tool,” Zirdelis adds. “We offer email campaigns that go directly to dating site member’s inboxes.”

For targeting, ExoClick offers a range of deep targeting features, retargeting, day parting and a large range of compliant ad formats with clients getting full access to their data in real-time to optimize their campaigns.

“As previously mentioned, our automation features include our new Bidder and our API. Additionally, affiliates can take advantage of our landing page optimization algorithm which offers various ways of distributing traffic to different landing pages to optimize conversions,” Zirdelis concludes. “With the rise of the push notification format on many websites, where a user is asked if they will allow notifications from a specific website, we may see more affiliates acting like publishers by reselling this opt-in traffic from users of affiliate landing pages.”

Discussing the various factors involved, Rabenseifner says affiliates mainly use TrafficStars’ services as advertisers, buying traffic for offers and products they promote.

“With many noting an increase in cost and effort when buying traffic from big sources such as Google, Facebook and YouTube,” Rabenseifner notes, “many affiliates are turning to adult traffic to drive eligible users to their offers since this has remained a stable market with lots of opportunities.”

Rabenseifner says the behavior of affiliates is evolving with the introduction of the new Google Ads Standards, and more is being spent on native ads and video pre-rolls as advertisers realize the outstanding results that these ad formats consistently achieve.

“Native ads force a transparency that some affiliates weren’t used to previously. As the nature of native ads are less disruptive to users, being delivered in a way that is consistent with the form, style and voice of the platform they appear on, advertisers need to use static images, a brand name and a headline,” Rabenseifner explains. “Flashing banners with misleading elements are no longer allowed, so affiliates have to change the way they create and optimize these types of ads. This new strategy is really paying off as users are responding extremely well to native ads.”

Rabenseifner notes video pre-roll ads are adding a level of engagement which has not been possible before.

“Now, a captivating message can be communicated with a video, which can grab users’ attention like no other ad format,” Rabenseifner explains. “Although video production incurs higher costs than regular banner production, most of the product owners already provide their partners and affiliates with video creatives and the rewards are paying off massively for video pre-roll advertisers.

“Although our new ad formats are performing outstandingly, our classic ad formats such as banners and popunders are still going from strength to strength,” Rabenseifner adds. “Now that advertisers have an increase in the variety of ad formats to use, many are incorporating a mix of these into their media buying strategies; recognizing the strengths of each and how each format can complement their overall goals of achieving high-quality conversions.”

For her part, Hall tells XBIZ that Grand Slam Media works with thousands of affiliates who buy and sell traffic using its real-time bidding network, Adnium.com.

“A great feature recently added to our platform is the ability for advertisers to lock in a fixed-rate deal after testing a traffic source in the bidding environment,” Hall reveals. “This is advantageous to buyers because they know what they’re getting before making a bigger financial commitment and also pulls the source’s volume outside of the RTB model, hence eliminating the inconvenience of daily competition.

“The advertiser can focus solely on optimizing their campaign for the traffic they have secured on fixed terms,” Hall explains. “Our publishers are benefiting by having stabilized, predictable rates for longer periods of time.”

Illustrating the two-way nature of affiliate-network relations, CrakRevenue’s Bourque says he is astonished by how often conversations with affiliates end up inspiring new angles for the company to explore.

“People keep saying how important it is to have a 360-degree vision while dealing with partners [but] very few companies really do that on a daily basis,” Bourque tells XBIZ. “The key is to keep an open mind while approaching people: we could easily end up buying traffic from an affiliate on a CPM basis rather than on a CPA basis, or cut a deal to monetize the emails they collect in their conversion flow.

“Affiliates are not unidimensional — far from that!” Bourque exclaims. “It is totally up to us to make sure our services portfolio is well suited to seize these opportunities.”

This includes moving into new traffic verticals.

Social Media Delivers Results

Today’s traffic game continues to evolve, with social media accounting for an increasing percentage of the pie, especially when it comes to creating lasting, profitable relationships between fans and the performers they crave — but even here, advertising networks are playing a growing part — providing new audiences with fewer demands on a promoter’s time and energy.

In addition to a growing number of affiliates patronizing ad networks today, a new generation of multitalented content creators that take on the role of performer, producer and promoter are relying on social media to build fan bases and drive the traffic they need in order to sell their clips and cam shows, etc. — but increasing competition in social is causing many creators to diversify their promotions — and as a result, some are turning to ad networks for help…

“In my role as a strategy consultant and marketing guru for my other company outside of JuicyAds, I tell my clients that social media is a great addition to everything else they may already be doing for marketing,” says JuicyAds’ Jay. “It can (in theory) be the only marketing you take advantage of, and it’s free.”

Jay cautions, however, that the vast amount of content available on sites such as Twitter and Facebook are drowning out individual voices.

“You really need to make an effort to stand out and not be generic. We see smart affiliates taking more advantage of promoting those performers (like webcams) than we see the performers taking advantage of it themselves,” Jay tells XBIZ. “To be fair to performers, they are often very dedicated to driving the quality of their performances and content, and less concerned with driving their own personal traffic, even though there is big incentive to do so. It comes down to using your time most effectively, but we expect over time these performers will build out their media buying as they build themselves into more powerful brands.”

TrafficForce’s Allan says the company has had a few proactive performers reach out to buy traffic for their chat rooms on major cam platforms.

“One of the reasons we have models come to us is we have automated tools allowing them to buy traffic at set times of day when they know they’ll be online, so they can just set it up and forget about it so long as they have a good routine of coming online at scheduled times,” Allan explains, noting, “It takes little management and they can target users they know spend more money. In particular, we have some models make great use of retargeting features to advertise to users who in the past have shown interest in them when they have been online.”

Beyond the needs of individual performers and producers, ad networks and social media go hand-in-hand for companies of all sizes — but the focus often falls on the models themselves.

For example, Zirdelis says ExoClick allows all brands to retarget social audiences with display ads that can give an unparalleled reach, increased brand engagement and lifetime trackability.

“In order to combine branding with enhanced performance, performers who want to advertise should use keyword targeting,” Zirdelis explains. “The keywords should be the performer’s name or movie/scene titles, production company, etc. This will ensure that their ads appear only next to content that features them as a performer.”

Zirdelis says this enables performer’s campaigns to be super-targeted and receive traffic that is only related to their brand.

“Additionally, performers can become publishers with their own content websites,” Zirdelis concludes, “which can then be further monetized with advertising zones on their sites.”

This process is an example of the equal opportunity the adult industry provides partakers at all levels, where independent models can turn their personality into profits and create a business that transcends their ability or desire to continue performing — but every business needs a little help from time-to-time.

For example, CrakRevenue’s Bourque reports receiving interest from content creators and says some of these entrepreneurs are fully aware of the limitless potential of social media — while others struggle to find ways to make the best out of it.

“Our role is to quickly figure out how familiar they are with the different promotion methods and rules and offer help whenever they get out of their comfort zone,” Bourque tells XBIZ, noting, “The best strategies will fail if the execution is not done properly. Quite often social media does not fall within their expertise — so we need to make sure they will play a role they’re comfortable with — and let us handle everything else!”

TrafficPartner VP Marc Birkefeld notes adult content continues to grow as a part of everyday life and is becoming more accepted in social media.

“You can enjoy cam models streaming on Twitch, see them produce media for YouTube channels and grow massive audiences on Instagram. This hasn’t always been the case and it continues to be a bumpy road, but we’re getting there,” Birkefeld tells XBIZ. “It is also very natural that any entrepreneur is looking to expand his brand’s reach and TrafficPartner has indeed observed an increase in cooperation requests.

“Social media has limits … however, we’ve seen strong outcomes when product marketing and adult influencers work hand in hand — benefiting both extremely well,” Birkefeld confides. “This has happened on a few occasions with one of our communities called AmateurCommunity.com. As soon as talent and product use social media in a combined fashion, revenue margins spiral upwards.”

Sometimes the companies promoting models turn to networks for expert help

“We get a lot of interest from cam companies looking to promote their models via traffic found in Adnium and they like to utilize our day-parting feature,” GSM’s Hall concludes. “This allows the ads to only be shown when a segment or particular demographic of models are online, so as to make each impression a more productive one. Additionally, keyword targeting is great to zero in on certain niches and ensure the ads are being shown to a more targeted audience.”

Echoing the group view, Pornhub’s Price says social media is an essential tool for any business — and this applies equally to adult entertainment.

“Many Pornhub and Modelhub models are using social media to drive traffic to their profiles and are leveraging that traffic for views and video sales. Conversely, many models are also using Pornhub and Modelhub’s massive traffic to promote themselves as well.

“Both Modelhub and the Pornhub Model Program are seeing rapid growth, and we’re proud to be on the forefront of this shift in the industry,” Price adds. “Social media is a powerful equalizer in this world, and the social functionalities of Pornhub and Modelhub are the perfect complement.”

From the range of responses revealed in this report, it is clear that the ad networks at the core of internet traffic acquisition and monetization — as well as their customers — are adapting to great challenges while exploring new opportunities in today’s evolving marketplace.

The future looks strong for these companies as they continue to innovate and serve a broader client base that includes erotic entrepreneurs taking their businesses into their own hands, along with companies of every size, seeking to grab their own slice of the traffic pie.

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