Commentary

Even Adult Video Sites Need Advertising

The Adult Video News (AVN) awards are bigger than the Oscars. Or they might be. There's probably no way to know for sure because nobody's going to admit they watch it. But since guys aren't watching the Oscars, maybe that's their award show. I know it's mine. Just kidding. Okay, maybe not, but you'll never know. 

Before I get into what this is about I should say that I write about automotive marketing as my main reporting beat, and when I tell people that, they're like, "Oh my god, I wish I had your job." This very exchange just happened. A guy rang my doorbell. "Pizza delivery," he said. 

"You don't look like a legit pizza guy," I said. (He had the pizza box and a tag that said “Hi I'm Rocko, Pizza Guy” shirt, but he didn't have anything on in the way of pants.)

"I'm not," he said. "Wait, isn't this the film set for 'Candy and Babs Order A Sausage?’” Did I miss my cue?" 

"Oh, right. You want apartment D. Take a left instead of a right off the elevator. You must be one of the talent." 

"Yeah. What do you do?"

"I write about cars." 

"Wow! Here's my card. Listen, I can write real good and I love cars. I'm what you'd call a car guy, and this gig is just to make the rent. So if you need, like, a writer...”

“Sure, whatever.” 

“Wow,” he said, “I bet there are a lot of people who want your job." 

"And vice versa." 

So, yeah. I'm writing about porn today. Hey, it's big business, it's legitimate, and like everything else, it's up to date media-wise. They have apps, they have sites, they have digital. And one of the more popular ones, PornHub.com, even supports PlayStation 4. But the real clue that porn is quasi-mainstream is the fact that PornHub.com is looking for a creative person to develop an ad campaign. Yes, an ad campaign. No, it won't be on daypart. 

The site has launched a "Creative Director Challenge," a "competition soliciting high-quality, 'safe-for-work' designs for an upcoming multimedia advertising campaign." The winner gets a one-year paid employment contract as the official creative director of PornHub. I know people who would die for that job. “Here's my card. I'm a good writer. I write about cars just to make rent!”

Do these sites even need to advertise? Corey Price, VP of marketing at PornHub, told me that adult sites are among the top 100 most-trafficked sites in the world, with PornHub boasting over 35 million visitors a day. Again: 35 million visits per day. That means just about every guy over 18 in every urban market going to PornHub once a day, right? I'm assuming these are mostly daily uniques: if you're visiting this site more than once a day, you are unemployed, not busy looking for other work (unless it's as a pizza delivery person or plumber or best friend of a guy whose mom is home for some reason), and either not in a relationship or in one that really needs some spicing up. 

Price also told me the total PornHub network of sites  attracts over 100 million daily visitors. That's a not insubstantial portion of the U.S. population. 

He explained all the AV marketing facts of life to me: "While we are an adult site, we work very hard to keep our brand relevant and on the tip of people's tongues [ahem]. While we do have an automatic audience, we're always looking to grow [so to speak]. We want to position [cough] ourselves as the go-to destination for online adult entertainment. Our target audience is everyone of legal age with an Internet-connected device." Talk about a demo.

The site, per Price, makes money through advertisements sold by the TrafficJunky ad network. The competition? Statistically, you probably know the answer; don't act like you don't: YouPorn, RedTube and Tube8.

Price also says about 30% of adult users of PornHub are women. I don't even know why I mention that. Well, it's common knowledge that women are the deciders when it comes to a lot of purchases, so maybe it holds true here as well:

Man: “Honey, I'd really like to go see the Calder exhibit at the Frick tonight.”

Woman: “I have a better idea. Here, put this apron on, take this box, knock on the door and say you're the pizza guy.”

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