Case Study: I tried running adult campaigns on TrafficStars

Introduction
At Affiliate World Europe in Barcelona, I met old friends Jorge (CEO of LandingTrack) and Slavina (Head of Advertising of TrafficStars) and we discussed working together, that’s how the case study came about.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently a Senior Affiliate Manager with Wewe Media, but before that many years back, I used to be an affiliate, so the main draw for me is an opportunity to get my feet wet in media buying again and revisit my old roots. End of the day, it’s always good to learn traffic.

My goal is simple. Other than testing the setup, I hope to be profitable as soon as I can.

Setup
Traffic Source: TrafficStars
Tracker: LandingTrack
Offers: Wewe Media (Adult Dating)

Wewe Media
I was choosing between DE FR IT or ES since we have strong adult dating offers in EU. I have heard many people saying that DE is a difficult geo. In the end I just took the plunge and went with DE. I’m spilt-testing 4 offers each for desktop and mobile.

DESKTOP

  • Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (49750) – Payout: €4.00
  • WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (61170) – Payout: €5.60
  • FlirtHits – PPL SOI – DE [WEB] (65042) – Payout: €2.88
  • Sexting Welt – PPL DOI – DE [Responsive] (55145) – Payout: $4.40

MOBILE

  • Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (49751) – Payout: €2.72
  • WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (61171) – Payout: €4.00
  • FlirtHits – PPL SOI – DE [WAP+TAB] (65043) – Payout: €1.60
  • Sexting Welt – PPL DOI – DE [Responsive] (55145) – Payout: $3.20

TrafficStars
For any traffic sources, it’s really important to build a good relationship with your account manager so they can provide you intel on formats, targeting, bid, etc to start your campaigns in the best possible manner. I cannot emphasize this enough.

TrafficStars is a premium adult ad-network founded 2014. xHamster’s traffic is being monetized by them and they have many different ad formats. You can read more about them here https://trafficstars.com/.

Every single TrafficStars account is assigned a direct, dedicated and expert account manager, so do make use of that. After discussing with my manager, these are the formats recommended below.

Desktop Native

  • Ad Zone: Native NTV, Native Footer
  • Site: xhamster.com
  • Bid: $0.20 (Dynamic CPM)

Desktop 315×300

  • Ad Zone: NTV B, NTV A
  • Site: xhamster.com
  • Bid: $0.20 (Dynamic CPM)

Mobile Native

  • Ad Zone: Native Mobile Footer
  • Site: m.xhamster.com
  • Bid: $0.20 (Dynamic CPM)

Angles – Landers & Creatives
I did a bit of research and read some reports from PornHub and xHamster on the trends and searches going on in Germany and found that MILF, Teens, and Anal are popular themes to work with.

Also did some spying with AdPeriscope which you can read here: https://zac.wewemedia.com/resources/adperiscope-unlock-the-key-to-profitable-adult-campaigns-on-8-major-ad-networks-with-this-spy-tool/.

Landers – For landers, I did not use my own. Instead, I’m just direct-linking to the landers embedded in the offers.

Banners – Mobile/Desktop Native

Ad1 Ad2 Ad3 Ad4
Headline: Reife dicke Titten in {city} auf der Suche nach Anal-Spaß ???? Headline: Keine Beziehungen. Nur Spaß für zwischendurch. ?? Headline: Lara, 23, {city}. Liebt Massagen. Ich suche nur Herren. Headline: Verheiratete Stiefmütter, die nach lässigen Verabredungen suchen
Brandname: [Privatgelände] Lokale Milfs Brandname: Lokale Anschlüsse Brandname: Fick Freunde Brandname: Reife Angelegenheiten

Banners – Desktop 315×300

Ad1 Ad2

LandingTrack
LandingTrack is a tracker and auto-optimization tool all in one place. What I really like about them is that they sync to a lot of traffic sources via API, and you can set rules for campaigns, sources, banners so you can keep your ad spend in check against lousy performers. Especially handy for RON campaigns for example.

Examples of some traffic sources they are connected to: Taboola, Outbrain, Revcontent, MGID, Adskeeper, Runative, PopAds, Popcash, TrafficStars, Exoclick, PropellerAds, Plugrush, UngAds, TONIC, AdMaven

Another thing I like about them is that they roll out new features and add new partners pretty fast and regular, and they are really not expensive as well.

I find their interface a little different from the other trackers, which might take some getting used to. But other than that, all good.

Initial Testing – August
Desktop Native

Cost: $247.44
Revenue: $83.59
Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (49750) – 11 leads $49.01
WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (61170) – 4 leads $24.96
FlirtHits – PPL SOI – DE [WEB] (65042) – 3 leads $9.62
Profits: -$163.85
ROI: -66.21%

Desktop 315×300

Cost: $57.92
Revenue: $6.24
WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (61170) – 1 lead $6.24
Profits: -$51.68
ROI: -89.22%

Mobile Native

Cost: $186.82
Revenue: $83.22
Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (49751) – 11 leads $33.32
WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (61171) – 10 leads $44.55
FlirtHits – PPL SOI – DE [WAP+TAB] (65043) – 3 leads $5.35
Profits: -$103.60
ROI: -55.45%

Tweaks:
Out of the 3 formats that I’m testing, Desktop 315×300 had the worst result, so I decided to pause the campaign and focused on the other two.

For Mobile Native, I paused Ad4 which had no conversions. Ad2 and Ad3 had the highest eCPAs, so I allocated more weight to them. On top of that I added another 2 new creatives.

Ad5 Ad6
Headline: Junge Geile Mädchen in {city} Suchen Männer Zum Ficken! ???? Headline: Junge Geile Mädchen in {city} Suchen Männer Zum Ficken! ????
Brandname: Fick jetzt Brandname: Fick jetzt

I also included Ad5 and Ad6 to my Desktop Native campaign and gave higher weight to the new creatives since the others weren’t doing exactly great. Lowered my ad budget for the campaign as well since I see a more potential on the Mobile Native campaign.

1-8 September
I got a pretty good payout bump for one of the mobile offers because of quality. Apparently, my small number of leads were able to generate a few sales for the advertiser. WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (61171) – Old payout: €4.00. New payout: €8.00

Desktop Native

Cost: $66.27
Revenue: $19.84
Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WEB+TAB] (49750) – 3 leads $19.84
Profits: -$46.43
ROI: -70.06%

Mobile Native

Cost: $109.87
Revenue: $122.87
Whatsex – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (49751) – 1 lead $3.31
WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (61171) – 13 leads $114.60
FlirtHits – PPL SOI – DE [WAP+TAB] (65043) – 1 lead $1.76
Sexting Welt – PPL DOI – DE [Responsive] (55145) – 1 lead $3.20
Profits: +$13
ROI: +11.83%

Tweaks:
I finally made a small profit from the Mobile Native campaign! Desktop was still very bad, hence I decided to cut that and focused on just my best campaign.

Ad5 was the best performing creative. I kept that running and paused the rest. As I mentioned earlier I was direct linking to the offer which rotated landers. I took a look at the stats on the network platform and added each lander link to test, with higher weight given to the best 2 landers, LP14 and LP16.

9-15 September
Mobile Native

Cost: $111.55
Revenue: $185.80
WhatsAffair – PPL DOI – DE [WAP] (61171) – 20 leads $185.80
Profits: +$74.25
ROI: +66.56%

Conclusions:
I was able to stay in the green not just for another week, but with much higher ROI this time. Granted that these numbers are nothing to shout about, but end of the day I managed to achieve profitability, which was what I aimed for in the first place.

At this point, I could have continued, but I chose not to since this is kind of an experiment for myself. Just take the win. Media buying is still so exciting!