Give it up. What brands can learn from Porn.


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I’ll admit it.

I’m a perv.

I possess prurient interests.

But that point notwithstanding, the following examination of the porn industry on mobile is purely from an analytic perspective.

You see, when I first got into apps and mobile, the porn industry was well established online.

The content was there, but it existed behind numerous barriers.

The most you would get was a snippet.

If you wanted the full experience, you had to pay for it.

The filters the porn industry employed online ensured that if you wanted more content, beyond snippets, you had to pay to play.

But that was back in the day.

Today, its a whole new ballgame.

On mobile, porn is practically given away.

Whole movies are capable of being streamed for hours, sans payment.

Sure there are a few mobile websites which still require that you pay, in order to access their content.

If you want premium content, like movies streaming in HD, then you’ve got to ante up.

But aside from that, you can watch oodles of pronographic content.

All for free.

And without having to sign up, log in with Facebook, or otherwise provide any information prior to getting your freak on.

So where’s the lesson for brands?

That IS the lesson.

Give your stuff away for free.

Give it away without any annoying pop ups asking for information.

And with no hard sell or (obvious) expectation that the user will buy anything.

What the porn industry did (and does) well, was create an appetite for what they offer.

And a seamless way to get it, once they’ve got you hooked.

They don’t bother highlighting price, features, sign up – anything beyond base utilitarian information – until you’ve gone deep enough inside the experience.

By that point, you’re hooked.

Want to see more MILFs? Sign up for free!

Women on women action more your speed? Enter your phone number for instant access!

Once you’re in their ecosystem, they then tailor their messaging to ensure that they convert.

And conversion isn’t measure purely by dollars and cents.

It’s often measured by the information they collect.

Or the cookies they leave in your browser.

Sure, they didn’t get you this visit.

But you’ll be back.

A perfect case study for brands truly interested in the level of engagement possible on mobile, is Pornhub.com

For porn aficionados, Pornhub is the gold standard.

The site loads quickly on mobile devices, whether you’re on wifi or 3G.

It automatically detects what device you’re using and renders content appropriately.

And Boom!

Without having to do anything else, they deliver you smack dab into content.

No sign up required.

No payment required.

No pop ups asking you to register to watch videos.

Just videos.

Click an image and you’re presented with a ‘play’ screen.

Tap the ‘play’ icon and viola!

Video playback.

And that’s it.

Watch your fill and move on.

And that’s what the porn industry gets that most brands don’t.

If your content is compelling enough, even if you give it away, they’ll be back.

The likelihood is greater that they’ll return if they initially got something free, than if they had to pay for it on the first go round.

Now the Pornhub model doesn’t necessarily apply to every brand.

If you’re not a ‘content’ brand in the media or entertainment space, this model may not be completely apropos.

But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

You’ve got to entice people to your brand, give them a reason to check you out and come back once they have.

Removing any barriers to access is the first order of business.

Full sites on a mobile device is a no-no.

So make sure that you’ve got a mobile site.

Making people register before they can explore your brand is equally distasteful (and results in high bounce rates).

Avoid making folks fill out any forms or provide you with any information until they decide that they want to.

Save the hard sell.

They’re already on your site, so it stands to reason that there is something about your brand they’re interested in.

Don’t blow it by coming on all hard and heavy.

When they’re ready to buy whatever it is you’re trying to sell, they will.

Finally, make it easy to get around.

Menus should be easy to find and functional.

Icons should be universal and intuitive.

Navigation buttons should be easily depressed, even by fat fingers.

Remember, you want users to engage your brand.

Not be turned away at first blush.

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