A Guide to Common Verticals in Adult Affiliate Marketing
Choosing the right vertical is one of the first steps you’ll need to take as an affiliate marketer. While the adult entertainment industry might itself be considered a vertical, within that broad category you’ll find a few key subcategories and niches that you’ll want to understand.
It’s generally wise for affiliates to focus their efforts on verticals that they themselves find interesting. If you’re passionate about a niche then you’re more likely to do that work — and you’re more likely to run campaigns that resonate with the intended audience.
This guide walks you through the key adult entertainment verticals that have proven to be profitable for skilled affiliates in recent years.
In the last decade of the adult entertainment business, live cam networks have been one of the biggest winners. Recorded media will always be of interest to porn fans, but there’s also significant demand for live interaction. With live cam shows, nudity and sex acts are only part of the draw. True fans of adult webcams love talking with people they find to be attractive and compelling.
Building your own live cam network isn’t going to be practical for most online marketers. These platforms are very expensive to create, and attracting both models and fans to a new platform isn’t easy. That leaves affiliate marketing if you want to cash in. Luckily there are quite a few great companies running live cam affiliate programs. You can even get your own white label cam site that uses your own domain name, if you want to go that route.
Most live cam affiliate programs will supply you with all kinds of tools that you can use to promote them. You can use a variety of methods to send traffic, including popunders, text links, banner ads and postitial ads. Some programs will let you embed content into your own sites, such as live cam rooms or lists showing models currently online.
Adult dating has been a reliable revenue-generating vertical for affiliate marketers for quite some time now. The dating vertical shares one thing in common with the live webcam vertical: it attracts people who are looking to interact with others.
So how big is the adult dating vertical? Let’s start with the bigger picture, the dating vertical in general, to get a good understanding of the upper ends of possibilities here:
According to an Allied Market Research report on the online dating vertical (published in 2019), “The global online dating services market was valued at $6,400.0 million in 2017, and is projected to reach $9,202 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.7% from 2018 to 2025.”
Those are staggering numbers. Now of course the adult dating vertical is a subset of those numbers and getting exact figures on that segment can be difficult, but the same report listed ‘adult dating’ as one of four key segments of the overall field, along with “social dating,” “matchmaking” and “niche dating.” Note that “social dating” subset, the largest of the four, is heavy on “instant hookups.” That really isn’t that far off from what the “adult” segment is all about. The primary difference then is in the marketing/presentation of the services, which is partially in the control of the affiliate.
You can shop for a good dating affiliate program in our Business Directory.
Adult Virtual Reality (VR)
We’ve been hearing for a long time now that adult VR is “going to be huge,” and to date it still isn’t one of the top two verticals in size. That said, there’s a whole lot to like about the direction of this sector of the adult industry.
If you have ever strapped on one of the the industry’s leading VR systems, you already know how amazing this technology has become. If you’re looking for some good numbers about who’s currently using (or has tried) VR, a report on VR usage (published by Artillery Intelligence) gets into these things and more.
At this point all we have is speculation about how consumers looking for adult VR compare to those looking for traditional adult video. It stands to reason that people who spent money on a VR system might be a tad more open to paying for great content.
If you choose to market the adult VR vertical what would you be offering? The biggest players in this space have a pretty wide range of content options. Some clips are just 180 degrees while others are offer a complete 360 degree view. Most of the biggest programs offer VR content in ultra-hi resolutions. VR scenes tend to me immersive, an attempt to give the viewer at least a visual approximation of having sex with their favorite models. Some programs even include adult VR video games (more on video games in a moment).
Check out the various adult VR affiliate programs in our Directory and shop for one that you like best.
Adult Video Games
Adult video games are another intriguing option for affiliate marketers. Many of the companies offering these games didn’t exist just a few years ago. Adult gaming has long been a thing in Japan, but it’s still a somewhat new experience for American and European audiences.
If you’re new to this sector of adult affiliate marketing you may want to start by watching this YNOT Summit session titled Profiting from Adult Video Games, which features Porco Rosso from Gaming Adult. He offers plenty of great ideas about how affiliates can earn some payouts by participating in this niche — plus, games are just fun to promote.
You can also browse through adult video game programs in our Business Directory to shop for one you like. There aren’t a lot of big programs available yet, but the ones that are there are worth a look.
Prior to the rise of free adult tube sites like Pornhub, this was by far the most lucrative vertical in the adult space. In fact it may have once been the most lucrative vertical period. That all changed when a few aggressive companies started offering free videos in an all-out bid to dominate the adult traffic space.
Still, there’s a small but reliable subset of porn consumers who will pay for content that delivers something they enjoy. Much of the content available for free on tube sites only exists in the hope that viewers will consider paying for more of that content elsewhere.
If you want to try marketing adult paysites then it’s your job as an affiliate to find the right kind of audience or, if you can’t do that, convince the audience you do have that there are benefits to buying porn. If you yourself enjoy the content you’re marketing then you have an advantage that you can leverage in your campaigns.
There are a lot of adult paysite affiliate programs in our Business Directory, and some of them are more active than others. Take your time looking through the listings and focus on programs that seem like they’re still actively supporting their affiliates.
Most adult affiliates overlook the option to promote adult novelties. If you’re looking to try something a little different you might consider checking out this lesser-used vertical to see if it interests you.
The approach needed to be successful marketing novelties is of course quite different than what you’d need to do for digital adult content, so we recommend you form a good relationship with your affiliate manager (for whichever program you plan to promote) and ask for ideas on what works well for their unique products.
If you want to get into adult novelties you can always purchase your own inventory and run your own store. The advantages of using an affiliate program over setting up your own novelty store from scratch however are significant. Some programs will supply you with your own white label website, credit card processing, inventory and shipment, as well as customer service. That frees you up to focus your efforts on marketing and traffic.
We have some novelty and retail affiliate programs listed in our Business Directory to get you started.