Blog Post Written By: Melrose Michaels
Knowing what your fans want is the only way to capitalize and monetize your audience as an adult creator. In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience is crucial for success. As a co-founder of SWR Data, a company dedicated to providing insightful reports and data analysis for adult content creators, I am passionate about empowering creators to make informed decisions based on solid market research.
For the past year, my team and I have been surveying adult creators through our platform, SexWorkCEO. Some of you have probably already taken our qualifying survey, which gives us an idea about the type of creator you are, so when we have paid surveys available if you match the criteria, you can get paid to share your experiences. Ultimately, I’d like to grow this program so big that you can make an extra stream of revenue by taking surveys and helping shape the future of the adult space. By doing so, we can ensure that new products, platforms, and players entering the adult space meet our unique needs and preferences. After all, who knows this industry better than us, the creators themselves?
Through SWR Data, we have released the highly acclaimed "State of the Creator"report in 2022. This comprehensive analysis shed light on the platforms where creators experienced success, the challenges they faced, and many other valuable insights. The report empowered many audience members to make informed decisions on optimizing their businesses. This year, we are excited to announce that we will release another "State of the Creator" report to provide our #CEOsquad with even more actionable information.
I want to emphasize the importance of market research in shaping how we run our businesses. On the SWR Data side of my businesses, I do market research on what creators want and need, whereas you, the creator, need to be seeking and looking to understand what your fans want and need so you can monetize on it. We, as creators, need to take an analytical approach to understanding what our customers desire, which is crucial in a competitive space like ours. You will undoubtedly be disadvantaged if you neglect to gather information on your audience's preferences or fail to analyze their needs.
By leveraging the power of market research, you can gain valuable insights into your audience's desires, preferences, and trends. Armed with this knowledge, you can make strategic decisions that align with your audience's expectations, effectively boosting your reach, engagement, and, ultimately, your success.
Understanding the importance of market research is crucial for any creator looking to connect with their fans and customers on a deeper level. It allows you to gather valuable insights and implement strategies to enhance your content and ultimately drive success. So, in this blog, I’m sharing 16 actionable ways to gather market research on your fans and customers so that you can use that information to make data-driven decisions for your content, brand, and business.
While feedback forms may not yield the highest conversion rate for adult creators, they are still valuable for gathering market research. Creating a form using platforms like Google Forms and sharing it with your fans allows you to ask specific questions and receive direct feedback. A more modern - influencer approach to doing essentially the same thing, minus the form, is to gather feedback through the comment sections of your social media posts. By asking questions in your tweets, Instagram posts, TikTok, or YouTube videos, you can encourage fans to share their thoughts and opinions in the comments, providing you with valuable market research.
Interviews and Focus Groups
Interviews and focus groups are commonly used in mainstream market research and can easily be adapted for the adult industry. You can engage with your fans in real-time conversations and gather honest feedback using live cam chat rooms or one-on-one cam sessions. After a cam show, for example, you can ask your fans what they would have liked to see differently or what they would want to try next time. This live feedback loop mirrors the insights gained from interviews or focus groups.
Analytics and insights from your platforms, such as social media and website analytics, are powerful tools for gathering market research. They provide valuable information about your demographics and can guide your content creation decisions. For adult creators, platforms like OnlyFans, Clips4Sale, SextPanther, and Slushy offer in-platform data that can inform your content choices.
Social Monitoring Tools
Social listening and monitoring tools, like Brandwatch, Mention, and Hootsuite, enable you to listen to and understand the public responses to your content. They help you identify trends, monitor brand mentions, hashtags, and keywords related to your content, and guide you in making informed decisions based on community feedback. Leveraging keyword research can also help you optimize your content for better visibility and engagement. When you understand how keywords rank on Google and are actively searched by your target audience, you can create content around those keywords. A great example is when the pop culture moment surrounded ‘Storm Area 51’. Suddenly alien porn was highly searched on Pornhub. Those keywords like alien, space, area 51, and more would’ve been great to add to your content description and metadata to help drive traffic and views.
Engaging with your fans on social media is another effective way to gather market research. Utilizing features like question stickers, polls, and Q&As on platforms like Instagram, you can easily collect feedback and insights from your fans in a format they are familiar with and comfortable using. These features also don’t feel like such a big ‘demanding’ ask from your fans the way a formal form might. Fans already conditioned to engage with you on social media are typically the best place to start.
Conducting a competitive analysis is a valuable practice for any creator. By observing content trends among other creators and analyzing fan interactions on similar content, you can gain insights into what resonates with your target audience. Identifying creators aligned with your content and evaluating the success of their content, fan sites, clip stores, or premium socials can help you understand where you can improve and refine your strategies. See what things have ranked the highest for them, & have gotten the most views. If you feel that you align in many ways with another creator, you can gauge their content and success, rank it against yours, and see where you can improve or expand as a creator.
Affiliate and Sales Data
Another way to gather market research is affiliate and sales data. Affiliate and sales data provide valuable indicators of what is working well regarding promotions and revenue generation. If you have affiliate revenue share deals in place, analyzing the success of the traffic being driven to your page can offer insights into effective promotional strategies. This is something that the average creator doesn't have a lot of access to. However, if you are running any kind of affiliate revenue share deals to your page where someone is driving you traffic, then you're sharing the revenue from that traffic. This can be a good indicator of what they're promoting on their end that's actually seeing internal success on your pages. For example, I have an affiliate that drives my traffic, but their first photo for the traffic campaign didn’t result in much traffic to my Onlyfans page. However, I saw more traffic and sales once we swapped out that content for a gaming-related image. This is how you can use affiliate and sales data to drive decisions. It told me I have an active fan base of gamers seeking out my type of content.
The next way is behavioral tracking tools. Behavioral tracking tools, like Fanwire, allow you to record user interactions on your website. By tracking fan behavior and analyzing spending patterns, you can make informed decisions on allocating your time and resources to maximize income potential. For example, on Fanwire, I can see that X user spent X amount of money on my subscription versus my PPVs, wall posts, tips, etc. If I can gauge that most of my audience is opening their wallet on one specific behavior, let’s say unlocking PPVs, then I know to focus my time and attention on that specific place to get the highest ROI on my time. Because I can track the behavior of my fans on my pages, I can make decisions on where I should spend more time because I can tell by the fan's behavior it will likely provide more income as a byproduct.
Mailing List Metrics
Next, we must recognize the power of email and newsletter metrics. If you haven't already implemented an email capture campaign, now is the time to start. By gathering email addresses from your fanbase, you gain access to valuable data such as open and click-through rates. This information provides a roadmap to understanding the accessibility of your audience and the effectiveness of email promotion for your various offerings, whether it be new products, joining new platforms, or promoting live events. Leveraging this data allows you to capitalize on the most effective communication channels with your audience.
You should not overlook offline methods either. Attending in-person meetups and events will enable you to gauge your impact in the real world versus online. If you can attract many fans to an expo or convention, it demonstrates your ability to engage your audience personally. The ability to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds is a powerful position to sell and market your brand. For example, you can negotiate appearances at bars, nightclubs, or even strip clubs because you would have the data to know in X city, I can get at least 50 to 100 fans to show up in person to see or meet me at a given vent. Offline methods become a powerful negotiation tool if you have the market research data to support it.
Don't forget about the potential of third-party review sites and forums. Many creators are unaware of SEO websites that rank profiles and drive platform traffic. One example of this is onlyfansaudit.com. A site where creators are reviewed and their OnlyFans is ranked. You can claim your profile on SEO sites like these and siphon the traffic from their Google ranking. By leveraging these platforms to your advantage, you can gauge the number of people actively searching for you online and funnel them to your adult platforms. This type of market research allows you to understand the visibility and reach of your brand within the digital landscape.
Crowdsourcing ideas and feedback is another effective method for conducting market research. Mainstream platforms like BuyMeACoffee or Streamlabs provide opportunities to raise funds and engage your fanbase in decision-making. But you can also do the same on your adult platforms like OnlyFans. By raising money and crowdsourcing ideas like funding for a new cosplay or an expensive new toy, using these tools will show your fanbase's interest in seeing you in that cosplay, using that toy, taking that trip, or attending that convention. Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding is a great way to conduct market research while making money at the same time.
Split testing two paths to the same outcome and seeing which one has the most success is something I always advocate for on SexWorkCEO across many areas of business. Let’s say you split-test Twitter post #1, which says this specific copy or caption, and then Twitter post #2, which says this different Twitter copy or caption. You have two different tracking links on each post, and you can see which of those two posts performed better and brought more traffic to your pages. A/B testing is also an indicator of market research because you can see what kind of captions and copy work for the audience that you have or the audience you're trying to target.
YouTube's community tab is an example of an in-platform feature that helps you conduct market research. You can create polls or post questions and get feedback from your audience. You can also analyze reactions in the comments and posts. A lot of adult platforms also have feedback features. FanCentro, for example, has a star rating system that allows your fans to provide feedback. You can also outwardly ask in a mass message on platforms like OnlyFans for your fans to provide feedback.
Collect insights from brands of other creators whom you've collaborated with. For example, when I collaborate with another creator on content, I get feedback based on how that content performs because of that collaboration.
Suppose a particular video performs well. In that case, I know the feedback I'm being given from my audience or that market research I'm receiving says that my audience likes to see me with a creator who looks like this or does this kind of content. This type of market research is invaluable when planning future collaborations to get the most ROI from your time, investment, and travel working with another creator.
Personal Fan Survey
Now, I want to touch on the last way you can conduct market research because this is something I want to offer you, dear reader. I mentioned Surveys and questionnaires at the beginning of this blog. My other company, SWR Data, allows me to give you what you need regarding tools and data to make data-driven decisions. If conducting a fan survey interests you, but you don’t have the time or resources, let us do the analysis for you! We’ll create your own survey plus a link and provide you with a detailed report at the end of 30-60 days. So, if you're interested in surveying your audience and getting the real nitty gritty numbers on things, this would be an excellent solution. Fill out our contact form and mention this blog or DM SexWorkCEO on socials, and we will make that happen for you.
Market Research Conclusion
If only you take the time, there's no shortage of ways to access your audience to conduct market research. As a passionate advocate for data-driven decision-making, I urge you to embrace market research as an integral part of your business strategy. By harnessing the power of SWR Data's comprehensive creator reports and taking part in our option to survey your fans, you can make informed decisions that propel your career forward in the ever-evolving adult content industry. Let's embark on this journey together, armed with knowledge and insight, as we shape the future of this industry.
If you enjoyed this blog, you'll really love the Twitter Space we did focusing on market research. We had a packed space...hundreds of creators joined us and listened to the playback. This is your sign to hit play (as if you needed one 😉).
Have a question about pricing your adult content? DM or tag @sexworkceo on Twitter and Instagram, or send us an email. We're always here to help; it's what we love to do! Want to be part of the conversation? Join us on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. CST on Twitter, where we discuss new topics weekly to help take your adult content creator business to the next level. Unable to make it live? No problem! You can listen to all our past Twitter Spaces here.