Social Media Lessons From The P0rn Industry

One from the archives… written in 2006

Last week I was invited to speak at a 4Networking breakfast event in Southend as I was in the area working with Sarah Arrow on our new ebook Zero to Blogger .I decided to do something a little different for my presentation inspired by a video I watched by Ed Celis earlier this year (See video below). I called my speech;

Social Media Lessons from the Porn Industry

Now the idea wasn’t to be explicit or even over do the gags with cheap innuendo, but to highlight the fact that the porn industry really is way ahead of most industries when it comes to digital marketing.

Why? Because they have to be. Competition for their audience is fierce, a quick search has just revealed 2.4 billion results for the search term ‘Porn’ and according to Online MBA there are over 68 million searches per day using adult related search terms. So to rely on traditional marketing methods like PPC would only exhaust budgets quickly and is why they have to innovate.
Sure, it may not be ethical marketing but we don’t have to agree with their methods to learn some lessons from them. I mean after all it is a $4.9 billion dollar industry worldwide which has always been a step ahead when it comes to embracing new technology. In 1895 when motion picture was invented, so was movie erotica… almost immediately. When the first home PC’s were capable of network communication we quickly saw the arrival of online services for adults.

So what are the lessons? Actually there are too many to list today and there will me more to follow in future years. You have never had such a good excuse to visit adult sites and *Ahem, learn digital marketing. I am going to focus on just a few;

1) Content is King or Queen (Depends which way you swing ;-) )

What brings people back to adult sites on a regular basis is constantly changing, new content. Porn sites use teaser content (Video, images etc) to draw you in and get you interested but ultimately they want you to subscribe.

Typically they will entice you on a small fee purchase, but get you on a recurring billing model which you probably overlooked in the small print. D’oh! It is then awkward and difficult to cancel the order and I of course am not suggesting you implement this on your site, however the lesson from this is;

Regular new content will add serious value and retain your audience. Apply this to your blog, your Facebook page, communicate it with twitter and you will stay front of mind. Your teaser content might be an ebook you have written or some tips, a useful how to guide etc. But your end goal should be to grow your newsletter subscribers so you can develop the relationship and stay in touch.

2)  Viral marketing doesn’t suck!

Viral marketing or viral advertising is the technique of using word of mouth i.e. social networks to spread a message. Dutch porn star Bobbi Eden demonstrated this brilliantly when she tweeted she would perform a certain oral favour to everyone of her twitter followers if Holland won the last world cup.


At the time of writing this she had just over 5,000 followers but this increased to over 100,000 by the end of the week! A quick check today reveals 88,532 followers all no doubt hoping for a repeat? Bobbi was, no doubt relieved when Holland lost in the final to Spain He he.

There are many examples of viral marketing at work, my favourite is Tom Dickson from Blendtec but there are many other examples featured in this blog by Jesse Grainger Titled 47 Outrageous Viral Marketing Examples over the Last Decade.

So the lesson? Generate content that people will readily share and be thanked for doing so. Be original, be funny, be shocking or be topical and remember to make it easy for people to share your brilliant ideas by ensuring social bookmarking tools are part of the page. See the top of this page, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and StumbleUpon are all there and easy to use. Feel free to do so yourself ;-)

3) Grab Attention Quickly

We are easily bored and we are getting worse. Society today is suffering from an increasing attention deficit because everything is usually instant and we have so much choice.

I have read statistics which suggest you only have 4 seconds on average to make an impact when someone hits your website so you have to grab them by the *cough  when they land on your home page. Adult sites do this very well i’m told ;-) but what do you do to grab attention?

Some quick fire pointers if you want ATTENTION

  • Personalise your message, don’t generalise!
  • Be relevant to your audience, target!
  • Fewer options equals higher clicks!
  • Get to the point! Keep you marketing messages short and sweet.
  • Offer something of value to keep attention!

Similarly nowadays if people don’t find what they are looking for on the front page of Google/Bing etc they change their search terms. Social Media Marketing is a powerful way of getting visibility but you have to use it!

So there you have it, 3 quick lessons from the porn industry. But before I leave you with the brilliant video by Ed Celis titled Seven Things You Can Learn From Porn if you are a Digital Marketer Just remember the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams and the famous line readily used by porn marketers “If you build it, they will cum come”


Seven Things You Can Learn From Porn if you are a Digital Marketer from ed celis on Vimeo.