Porn Is Really Just A Sales Funnel

It’s been quite a while since talked about our failures here. Since then, we’ve made some new mistakes but used each of them as an opportunity to grow and we would like to share with you the lessons we learned.
Publish Date
May 27, 2019
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Read Time
4 minutes

As a digital marketer, I make sure to follow all the best in the industry. I read Neil Patel’s blog regularly, I check major industry news websites a couple times a week, and I see what the latest and greatest brands are up to. What’s trending on the world wide web, and what people are searching for. And do you know what I’ve learned?

People search for porn sites. Lots and and lots of porn sites.

Gross, right? But not everyone is driven by their baser instincts. There is something to take away from this. Globally, the porn industry is estimated to be worth roughly $97 billion dollars per year. There’s a lot of money at stake, and a lot of people are competing for views, clicks, and paid subscriptions.

When you start to look at the adult industry from the eyes of a digital marketer – things get really interesting. In fact, the idea to write this post emerged after some digging into the analytics on one of my websites, Rapid Purple, and discovering that porn is one of our biggest traffic drivers. No, this website isn’t a secret porn site, and no it’s not affiliated with any porn sites either. However, the viewers on Rapid Purple seem to have a high level of interest in the porn industry, and like me, their primary concern is on the marketing and the money.

Every industry offers its own lessons, including the adult industry. You might feel a bit embarrassed about researching porn, and you might believe that it has nothing to teach your industry. However, lessons can be learned anywhere, and because the adult content industry is so competitive, it’s actually a great industry to learn from.

Take Pornhub for example. It generates a ton of traffic, seriously. Pornhub receives 23 billion hits a month and is the 27th most popular website in the world. Linkedin trails at 29th. That’s right. This article would probably get more views being posted on Pornhub, than here on LinkedIn. Anyway, people also spend a lot of time on Pornhub. While the average user spends less than 6 minutes a day on Linkedin, they will spend nearly 9 minutes on Pornhub.

So, you have Pornhub – with it’s massive load of traffic. And now it needs to monetize that traffic. So what does it do? If you head to their website (discretion advised!), you’ll notice that there are tons and tons of ads. Most of the ads are in the sidebar, or popup before the video starts. A few ads come on as commercials, like YouTube.

There’s a common thread to many of these ads: they are for paid products. You’ll notice that many of the ads are also for niche video content. If you’ve got a special fetish you’d like to fulfill and it’s legal, you’ll be able to find the video on a legitimate porn site. However, once you get off the generic free websites, you’ll be expected to pay.

Do you know what this process is? It’s a sales funnel. A simple sales funnel. That’s the real lesson you can take away from the porn industry. Sales funnels work. Basic marketing techniques, that are preached across most marketing programs in colleges across the US, and by most digital marketing gurus across the world wide web, work.

See, the porn industry uses a rather common model. First, you prime the top of your funnel (Pornhub) with free content that people are interested in (very interested, in fact, given the stats mentioned earlier). This gets them to your website. Once you have the audience’s attention, you can pitch them. Try out this product, subscribe to this gated website, etc.

A more PG rated version of the sames exact sales funnel is being offered a free eBook which gave you some free marketing tips and then pitches a marketing video course for sale.

Basic marketing tactics – generating billions. However, many simply don’t respect market principals. It’s clear the porn industry certainly does.

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