You Won’t Believe Which Brand Is the New King of Data-Driven Content

In early October, we called on PornHub to seize the opportunity and build the greatest data-fueled brand blog of all time. A few months later, they’ve followed through, creating one of the most detailed cultural studies of human sexuality we’ve seen since William Masters and Virginia Johnson teamed up in the late ’50s.

If you feel squeamish about reading a porn blog, don’t be. PornHub Insights is (pretty much) safe for work and dishes out some graduate-level research. Content marketers, take note: This is how to capture and publish the right data.

PornHub receives an average of 35 million visitors daily, meaning there’s plenty of information to mine. The Insights blog now offers aggregate data that reveals fascinating stats about its users, including most popular search terms, time spent per visit, and the quantity of videos watched per visit. They’ve even broken down the numbers across the globe, comparing the viewing habits of different countries in a series of visually engaging infographics. From a content strategy perspective, this is data done right.

From a sociological standpoint, the blog presents a commitment to data only rivaled by academic and peer-reviewed research. If you think I’m blowing smoke, compare PornHub’s subject matter to studies from Harvard Business School or the newly launched academic journal Porn Studies.

PornHub’s results are fascinating. In Canada, for example, users spend the most time on the site in January. Monday registers the most visits, while Sunday receives the least. Also, on Canada Day, the country’s annual July 1 holiday, the site reported a decrease in traffic in every province.

Want to read about similar details in the Philippines? You can. Malta? No problem. It turns out that trends about popular months and days for watching adult videos appear to hold true across borders and oceans. And if you need a fun fact to talk about at parties: Even though PornHub traffic decreases in almost every country for major worldwide events and holidays, the site reported an 8 percent increase in Japan on Christmas. (There’s a joke there—probably about the versatility of Toshiba products. I’m just not going to be the one who makes it.)

Why exactly is PornHub publishing this blog? Because the data may be compelling enough to shake off some of the stigma associated with pornography, which could make the site more appealing to mainstream advertisers. Clearly, all kinds of people are watching porn, and the value of potential ad dollars is all about understanding these demographics.

Aside from cultural data, PornHub Insights can also tell us quite a bit about how users are watching pornography, specifically when it comes to accessing “content” on video game consoles, tablets, and mobile devices. Those on Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo Wii view more pages on stay on the site longer than computer users. It’s not surprising that 52 percent of American PornHub traffic in 2013 came from mobile devices, an increase of 5 percentage points from 2012. Tablet usage also surged, while desktop traffic fell by 8 percentage points.

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To complement the blog, PornHub recently rolled out PornMD, a real-time scroll of popular search terms on the site. The site only features the text of the searches and some cool maps, but it also includes a number of phrases I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in front of my nana, so be careful about visiting it at work.

PornHub VP Corey Price told Esquire, “When we originally saw the data from the live searches we actually projected it on the wall of our office for a couple of months as everyone found it incredibly insightful and interesting.” It’s the modern take on Gawker’s big board—just a little bit raunchier.

All these trends and stats are pieces to a puzzle of useful information. The more we know about that puzzle, the more we can understand how pornography fits into the overall digital experience. PornHub has created a unique brand publication that melds data with controversy and intrigue in a fascinating way. And if brands learn to emulate PornHub, more potent data will be coming soon.

(We’ll leave the “That’s what she said” joke to you.)

What’s the deal with The Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

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