Nov 17, 2011

Mobile Conversions for Adult Content from International Perspective

Mobile is a hot topic at the moment. Although industry analysts have been predicting turning points for years, the recent rapid growth of mobile traffic across segments shows that the mobile time has finally come.

Professionals in the adult industry have started to pay closer attention. I am probably not the only one who has noticed expansion of new companies exclusively dedicated to offering mobile services and their growing presence at the industry summits. When only a couple of years ago, there were only few of us discussing mobile internet strategies, today I see tens of adult companies focusing on the mobile channel.

Since I feel there is still a bit of confusion about the possibilities and methods of monetization or conversion of mobile traffic, I would like to briefly introduce few basic concepts from a country-specific perspective.
Although mobile is still a small-fry compared to desktop, and currently accounts to only 10% of overall internet traffic, it is growing unprecedentedly, and in any case should not be ignored. In general, mobile ads generate higher click-through rates versus desktop, and if landing pages are properly optimized for mobile, the conversion ratios also tend to be higher.
The reason for higher CTRs is due to the dominance of PPC advertising on mobile, which can be attributed to precise targeting, single column layout and a lack of screen real estate. But to achieve good conversion rates on mobile, it is crucial to offer mobile optimized landing pages along with a convenient checkout. The option of redirecting traffic coming from mobiles to mobile optimized sites with relevant content, or optimizing your desktop page for mobile by using a proven white label, or simply cloning your desktop site to its mobile version, is usually a choice of branding strategy and budgetary factors, and statistically, yet, it does not significantly influence the conversion process. So, based on my experience the most important factors affecting conversion of mobile traffic are:
• Available payment method
• Ease of payment process
• Simplicity of landing page navigation.

Because the selection of mobile payment methods greatly varies by country or continent, differences in conversion rates must be naturally taken into consideration, too.
Generally speaking, the highest conversions on mobile are generated in the countries where operator billing is enabled for adult content. This payment model is the currently the simplest for mobile visitors with one-click process leading directly to a custom payment page of the network operator. Charges for subscription to adult pay site or downloading video content are after double-click agreement automatically added to the monthly phone bill. For example, in Germany, mobile visitor conversion tends to be as high as 1 to 50 due to the possibility of having a branded payment page maintaining the look and feel of landing page. Retention rates are also favorable due to the smaller charges for weekly subscription.

In Austria, Switzerland and Czech Republic, the ratio, usually in a range of 1:100 to 1:300 is slightly weaker, which might have to do with payment page redirected to the operator, without any option of customizing it. Especially in the Czech Republic, the process is a bit more strenuous for the end user having to click up to 5 times to confirm the purchase, which affects the conversion process negatively.

It is also important to point out a variance in legal requirements when it comes to the type of adult content offered on mobile; e.g. in Germany where operator billing process does not include any age verification, presented content needs to be soft core or FSK 16 compliant.
In the US, mobile operators still do not allow charging for adult entertainment on the monthly cell phone bill, and credit cards are the most widely used mobile payment method. And even though the US mobile consumer is accustomed to credit card process on mobile, conversions tend to be significantly lower when compared to operator billing.
The basic rule in order to achieve the highest conversions on mobile is to simplify the process. As the industry is getting ready for the next phase in mobile commerce, I am confident new market opportunities and simple alternative payment methods will evolve so the customer is offered more choice and greater transparency in payment for subscription services on mobile. And ideally, the conversion will only depend on the quality of offered content.

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