I'm working in online advertising since 1998 and finally decided to start my own blog.

Adult Affiliate Marketing in 2017, where is it heading?

RUNNING ANY ADULT TRAFFIC?

I just returned from Prague the other day, where I attended The European Summit (TES) Conference. TES was the first affiliate conference I ever attended, and I keep on returning there ever since … been there like 5 or 6 times already. This conference started as an ADULT only event, but for the past few years, the organizers tried to venture out to more areas of digital marketing.

However, it still has the adult feel to it, with all the hot and barely dressed models walking around, and waste majority of the exhibitors are adult companies too. Most of the affiliates that you can meet here are adult affiliates as well. That’s why I keep on attending this event from time to time, to stay in touch with the adult industry and to see where it is going.

SO WHERE IS THE ADULT INDUSTRY GOING AT THE END OF 2017?

For the past few years, the whole adult traffic segment was dominated with MOBILE… it was everywhere, mobile traffic networks, mobile affiliate networks … mobile this, mobile that … And this has changed this year. No more huge booths from the market leaders, they been present still, but on a much smaller scale.

It’s clearly visible that the regulations have hit the Carrier Billing Adult offers pretty hard. Large part of them moved to the mainstream side of things, where the regulations ain’t that heavy yet. Or let’s just say, mainstream offers can run in more GEOs than adult products – think about the Arab world or some large Asian countries.

I’ve seen the traditional, cover-all Affiliate Networks, trying to get some more business going with the adult crowd … companies like Leadbit, Terra Leads, Advidi, Adcombo … just to name a few, these were not present on these shows in the past, but more and more of them exhibit at adult events every year. And as you can guess, they are the strongest in evergreen offers that sell well on adult traffic … Dating, Nutra (especially male enhancement), Casino/Binary etc …

Dating is kinda dominating the adult industry for a few years now, along with Live Cams, which was another vertical with several companies presenting their Cam platforms. Dating companies had a significant presence too, many of the old-timers were there, but also a few newer ones like Xcash.Com for example, which is another operation launched by the BrokerBabe/Glize guys.

The trend in dating is clear, all the platforms are moving to Europe, even the eastern part of it, so not just EU … but also other emerging markets. This is good news, since we all know the TIER-1 GEOs are pretty hard to work with, especially for the new guys. Whitelabel dating sites are still running strong too, I’ve seen several companies advertising this concept … HubPeople for example.

There is one newcomer in the pool : Adult Games … not that it would be a completely new segment, but it’s been growing lately. It’s actually one of the few niches that seem to be growing in the mobile Carrier Billing area too. This might be a good one to look at right NOW. Gaming experience is something you cannot simulate and give away on tubes, so there might be some potential in this for adult affiliates.

HOW ABOUT THE ROOTS OF THE ADULT AFFILIATE MODEL – PAYSITES?

The extinction continues … I’ve seen only a few individuals representing production companies or traditional adult affiliate programs, that are still running paid content sites. There were more TUBE site owners than paysite owners … which is quite ironic as the Tubes cannibalize on the content from paysites.

Well, this has been the trend since like 2008 or so, I’m pretty sure nothing’s gonna stop the tubes now. The paysite market has consolidated since, there are a few strong players remaining in the business, along with a still-decent amount of independent smaller productions. I’d say the market might be stabilized by now, so the paysite model is here to stay with us … the audience is still there. Especially for those who experiment with new technologies – 4K, virtual reality…

Based on the info I have, there are still 3 approaches that can sell paysites well – Review sites, Discount sites and HEAVILY niched sites. So if any of you plan to start some adult site, I would consider some kind combination of the above 3 … Niched review site with discount offers maybe? Sounds like a worthy plan 

Regular TUBE or general FREE Site traffic is very hard to convert on any paysite, since the users already get it all for free on such sites … that’s why Dating and Live Cams are the best selling products on such traffic … you simply cannot record and give away a dating or live cam experience for free 

IS THERE BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD?

It’s bright for some, not so bright for the others  Adult itself, as a vertical or niche, is definitely not going anywhere. People simply want to look at adult content, so the traffic isn’t going to decrease, it will actually go up, since the worlds population is growing too… and so is the access to high speed internet.

Monetizing the traffic is a different story, it’s getting harder now, because of the mobile downswing which has been driving large part of the industry for the past couple years. Right now we’re waiting for the next big thing … hard to say what it’s gonna be… VR maybe? Doesn’t look like that for now, but hard to say just yet.

Anyways, since the traffic is there and the owners want to sell it, business is still thriving for the various traffic networks … Exoclick is still dominating and no other networks comes close in terms of volume. The other STABLE players are TrafficJunky, TrafficFactory, TrafficHaus, TrafficStars, JuicyAds … not much changes here either.

I’ve seen one change though, when it comes to traffic networks … mobile impressions are now cheaper, again because of the Carrier Billing regulations, since those offers were responsible for very high CPM rates in the past.

Dating, LiveCam and Nutra affiliate networks should be fine too, just as the affiliates working with these verticals. Also anything that has to do with LeadGen and is “compatible” with adult products, should do just fine.

Judging by just this one conference, I’d say the adult industry has passed the worst years and it’s climbing back up slowly… there were more attendees again, more exhibitors too … BUT there was less affiliates.

This was another trend that I noticed for the past few years already, the adult business is moving more to a B2B form of cooperation, there seem to be less and less of the individual affiliates. So offer owners are looking to form in-house media buying teams and work directly with the traffic sources, for example…

The good thing here is : underpaid media buyers will hardly come up with better optimized campaigns than a seasoned and dedicated affiliate. Those who are qualified enough, will start working on their own most likely. So I’m not really afraid of this at all.

BUSINESS AS USUAL …

Yup, that’s how I’d sum this experience up … no major changes going on, except for the mobile decrease maybe … but no doomsday at sight either  The major players are still in the game, stable verticals are still generating millions of dollars and there is still a large part of the pie up for grabs 

Dating, Cams, Adult themed Nutra, Casinos … plus the growing Adult Gaming segment … these are the areas to focus on at the end of 2017 and probably a good part of the next year too – adult affiliates are still making good money here. It’s still a competitive game, and it’s most likely going to increase again as the pressure from the B2B approach keeps on rising.

But for those, who’re willing to dive in and give the business what it needs … adult is still a very viable option to generate lot’s of revenue from the affiliate model, and it’s gonna to stay that way for quite some more.

Thanks for reading 


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3 comments

  1. Hey Matej a.k.a Matuloo ;),

    Thanks for the interesting post. Really nice to hear a guru/super experienced affiliate talk about the current state of adult aff marketing. I am a newbie affiliate thinking about to get into adult.

    I know, I know you probably get sick of questions like mine so I apologize in advance but I just have to know :D.

    Is adult “doable” for newbie affiliates with a budget in the $400-700 range? Of course I will target Tier 2 geos like, Western Europe. But even then…

    Thanks in advance!
    CC

    1. I’m never sick of questions CC 🙂

      I’m afraid that kind of budget definitely isn’t enough, you’re almost guaranteed to blow it and not getting far with it. Unless you are extremely lucky 🙂 In all honesty, I would’t try adult paid traffic with less than $3000 to spend.

      Matej.

  2. Hahaha, thanks for your quick reply Matej. I understand you are a busy man with your own campaigns, being a STM moderator and of course your family!

    I meant $700 for pure ads so excluding servers, tracking, tools etc. I already got that covered. Since I am from a Western European country and thus speak the language, knowing the slang and culture I thought I had an advantage. I saw that as my “edge”. Perhaps I was naive :P.

    So $700 is not enough in your opinion? Damn, I probably need to save some more money then :P. Thanks for your honesty!

    I also read that you recommend Pop ads for starters? Is that perhaps a better place to start instead of adult (exoclick, juicy ads etc..)?

    BTW, I’ve been reading your posts on the AffiliateFix forum and you said:

    “I don’t see how this is a good or visionary thing for the industry itself. I also don’t agree that there is still the same amount of money in adult, people are not willing to pay for adult sites that much as they used to. They still sell but not so well. Dating also still sells, but not as good as a couple years ago… same with cams. Adult mobile did a lot of money for the past few years, but that’s almost over too.” [0]

    While the main focus of the thread was SEO does this post resembles your opinion on adult affiliate marketing? This blog posts seems pretty positive about the industry.

    Sorry for me being such a stalker but your AffiliateFix posts provide a lot of golden nuggets.

    Thanks!

    [0]: https://www.affiliatefix.com/threads/when-seo-was-hot-and-easy.94793/#post-431879

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