Mobile Content Market in CIS Countries and Beyond: How to Pick Up the Right Offer for Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

21 April 2020

Mobile Content Market in CIS Countries and Beyond: How to Pick Up the Right Offer for Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Mobile money 

What is it that affiliates running nutra offers and those who promote gambling, sweepstakes, and Forex have in common with people trading in ice cream and soft drinks? The answer would be pretty straightforward: money. 

By this, I mean both cash and assets that can be converted into cash immediately. So, it’s pretty much the same thing.  

As far as this issue is concerned, the mobile subscription business operates with a different kind of money. This is not the money you can spend on buying a book or a cup of espresso. You can have zero money in your pocket or on your card, but if you happen to own a cell phone, it means you still have some assets other people can be interested in.  

What I mean is prepaid money (prepaid tariff plans subscribers) or obligations to pay your mobile phone debt (postpaid tariff plans subscribers). Mobile carriers throughout the globe allow third-party content providers to charge their subscribers for value-added services (VAS).  

I am sure each of you has a mobile phone, and there are probably a lot of people among ZorbasMedia’s audience who have signed up for paid subscriptions or came across other mobile traffic monetization channels. The mobile content market in Russia is quite representative in this regard.  

If I ask you whether you enjoyed using mobile content services, you may probably feel an urge to punch me in the face. The toxic nature of paid mobile subscriptions is indeed a considerable problem for the market in general.

Where toxic services date back to 

To grasp the heart of the matter clearly, we need to go back to the past, i.e. to the 1990s. Back then, cellular mobile communications had already been introduced as a form of communication technology. 1992 marked the deployment of the GSM standard. Mobile communications were spreading rapidly across the globe, which represented a significant technological challenge. What needed to be done was to have high-tech cell towers installed throughout the globe and connected into a single network. As the years went by, the investments were only growing. 

Obviously, mobile carriers invested countless funds and resources into infrastructure development in the hope to earn huge amounts of money on phone calls and messages in the future.  

Meanwhile, other technologies were following suit. New software and service solutions that reduced and even eliminated the communications costs for subscribers were proliferating. The mobile communications market welcomed new players such as Skype and Google, and now also Viber, WhatsApp, and Zoom. These apps have reduced the need for roaming and international phone calls. 

Mobile carriers were trying to create content delivery solutions to monetize the audience on their side, and all these expensive projects have one thing in common: large investments producing negligible results. I don’t believe I have seen any such successful project to date. If you know about one, please be sure to write about it in the comment section below. Having abandoned the goal of charging a monthly fee of $20-50 per subscriber, Russian carriers are now trying to reach a value of $5-6. Meanwhile, market outsiders are continuing to dump the prices even lower. 

In dire need of a solution to this problem, mobile carriers turned to VAS and allowed content providers to monetize their audience for a modest commission of 50-70%. So, let’s see how it works in practice. 

In the ideal world, it would look like this: a content provider buys high-quality traffic, helps to grow the audience of the likes of Netflix and supports charity projects. However, this is not always the case, and especially so in Russia.  

Content providers work with CPA networks and affiliate marketers or launch their own affiliate programs. A commission of 15% or more is levied at every level of this chain. To earn a profit in such circumstances instead of breaking even, cheap traffic is monetized on a massive scale. What I mean by this is spamming, delivering deceptive ads, and running cheap non-target traffic. Take a look at how wap-click offers are promoted, and everything will become clear. 

Mobile Content Market in CIS Countries and Beyond: How to Pick Up the Right Offer for Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Mobile Content Market in CIS Countries and Beyond: How to Pick Up the Right Offer for Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

So, that’s how mobile carriers resolved money and reputation issues. Content providers are now viewed as bad guys who cheat subscribers out of their money, while carriers are good guys who monitor the market and facilitate its development.  

To wrap it all up: money in the mobile content industry is something that almost everyone has, regardless of whether they have cash in their pockets. Mobile carriers want us to take this money from subscribers because they will get their commission for it in return. 

It’s time we move on to find out how to do it in the most effective way.

Types of mobile payments 

If you have ever promoted mobile content offers, you must have seen how the regulations got tougher and the flow became much more complicated. What started with a one-click flow has evolved into two- or three-click flows and additional SMS verification. This is what happened with all mobile payment types as far as aggressive markets are concerned.  

We can identify different types of mobile payments according to the interaction with a carrier: Click, SMS, USSD, and paid call. Successful interaction between a carrier and a subscriber results in one-time or regular mobile payments. Obviously, users start subscribing to paid mobile services on a massive scale when it is easy to do so. Now, let’s look at this from the point of view of numbers. 

Simple mobile payments  

The user is required to perform a single target action such as: 

  • clicking on a button;  
  • sending an SMS; 
  • sending a USSD message;  
  • making a phone call. 

Conversions rate 1:35-70 

Two-step payments 

Target actions required on the user side:  

  • clicking on a button and then making the second click to confirm the first one; 
  • sending an SMS and responding to the incoming message to confirm your action; 
  • sending a USSD message and responding to an incoming request to confirm your action. 

Conversion rate 1:100-500 

Complex mobile payments 

The user has to perform three or more target actions such as 

  • entering their phone number, receiving an SMS and responding to it; 
  • clicking on a button, receiving an SMS with a confirmation code and entering it on the website; 
  • making a phone call, listening to the recorded information and pressing the button to confirm. 

Conversion rate 1:500-9999 

The more target actions the user is required to perform, the less your conversion rate will be. 

Thus, when picking up a mobile content offer, be sure to account for the type of mobile payment and the steps involved. The best way to do it is to open a mobile version of the website and go through all the payment stages yourself. If the payment process is pretty straightforward, then this offer is worth testing out. 

I wish you good luck! Mobile content offers perform very well in the era of social distancing, and the data for our affiliate program only confirms it. 

Don’t hesitate to ask your questions in the comment section below or contact me on Telegram.

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