XBIZ LA Offers Website Traffic Tips

LOS ANGELES — Kicking off the educational seminar schedule at the 2011 XBIZ LA Digital Media Conference was this year’s highly anticipated traffic session, entitled “Traffic: Sourcing & Acquiring Profitable Customers.”

Offering insights from top industry traffic buyers and experts, the seminar’s backers setup the event by stating that shifting traffic patterns are driving many website owners to seek out new and innovative sources of visitors, drawing from both adult and mainstream supplies to garner the visitors they need.

Moderated by traffic guru Brad Gosse, the seminar’s panelists included Twistys Owner Shap, Wildline! Founder Charles Hentrich, Cameron from Gallery Traffic Services (GTS), EroAdvertising CMO Judy Shalom and OC Cash’ “XXXJay” Quinlan; whom together formed a diverse array of experience and expertise — delivering on the show’s promise that the session would reveal the overall state of adult traffic, along with the most effective traffic acquisition strategies for the coming year.

The traffic session focused on a number of hot-topic issues, including ways in which mobile visitors are obtained, along with and the latest trends in behavioral analytics and ad response measurement.

The focus on mobile makes sense, as in some markets, its growth and profitability is hard to dismiss. For example, Shalom discussed the German market, where mobile offers are highly developed and conversion ratios of 1:6 are common on targeted mobile traffic.

Some of the program’s other highlights include the revelation by XXXJay that tube site marketing has proven to be less profitable than, for example, WordPress-based blogs.

“We’re constantly developing our own traffic network,” Quinlan said.

Hentrich discussed the resurgence of effective banner advertising and how these ads appeal to an older generation of users — users that are willing to pay for adult content and who show a preference for clicking on banners — and the simpler the banner, the better it seems to “pull.”

Shap agreed, adding that webmasters should “Watch your numbers and don’t just assume that you know what’s hot.”

As with any traffic discussion, free sources are always a welcome topic.

“The only free traffic is from search engines,” Cameron stated, providing perspective on the notion that social media marketing, such as via Twitter and Facebook, are not free; in that to be effective, marketers must give away something of value.

Once again, Shap agreed, saying that a free membership, perhaps in exchange for taking a survey, is a great tool for social media marketing.

Hentrich is not so certain of social media’s role in adult marketing.

“Nothing really succeeds like good SEO,” Hentrich told the audience. “Unless you’re extremely creative, you can’t get into social channels because they are extremely allergic to adult offers.”

Marketers need that creativity these days, because as Quinlan noted, “Adult people have been complacent for too long because of the easy money.”

“SEO is very, very important,” Shalom said. “But you need to find a balance.”

Indeed, the consensus is that you will likely need to pay for some of your site’s traffic — making the question one of “how can I track the effectiveness of my ad spends?”

While tracking print-based ads by using discount coupons, quick response codes, or other means, is “better than nothing,” the digital arena offers the technology needed for tracking ads and their response rates. For example, so-called “pixel codes” allow for easy, cross-network traffic monitoring and conversion source tracking, so a run-of network ad buy could be tailored down to just the most productive venues for a given offer.

The behavioral analysis and user tracking enabled by these technologies may be a boon to online marketers, but privacy advocates and tightening governmental regulations, are making this a difficult path to follow — especially within Europe.

Legalities are not the only thing to consider when purchasing traffic, however, as the visitor is typically someone that has already declined several offers or may be unable to see your offer, due to device limitations.

For example, a buyer may purchase traffic for his website only to discover that the entire buy is made up of Indian surfers on Samsung devices — a bad situation when your site is not Samsung-compatible and you’re unable to process Indian transactions.

“If you’re buying traffic, you really want to watch for countries and devices,” Shap said, adding, “Tube traffic is harder to track, as many surfers won’t click through, but will type-in the domain name later [after seeing it on a watermark, for example].”

As in past years, the traffic session at XBIZ LA provided the groundwork for adult website owners seeking the latest techniques and tools for unleashing a flood of new visitors on their sites. Unique to this year’s event, however, is that the knowledge that was revealed in this introductory session laid a basic foundation for attendees seeking more advanced information — which Gosse will provide at Tuesday’s 11:30 a.m. “Traffic Master Class.”