According to recent research by RadiumOne, around 84% of outbound sharing online happens through a medium known as ‘dark social’. But what is this mysterious dark social and is it something that marketers need to know about?
You’ll be relieved to learn that dark social is not something shady or illicit. It is simply a term to describe when web users take to private online communication methods to share social media content. For example, someone wanting to share an article with a friend may copy and paste the link in a private instant message or email, rather than using the ‘share’ button on a social media site.
So, what’s wrong with this? The crucial point for marketers is that this dark social activity isn’t trackable. It represents meaningful engagement between the user and your content, which could even lead to conversions, but it won’t appear in any of your analytics data. If you’ve ever wondered where all the ‘direct’ traffic in your analytics data is coming from, dark social could be the culprit.
This gives marketers an incomplete picture of the effectiveness of their campaigns, means they are potentially measuring the wrong things, and could also lead to missing out on a spectacular marketing opportunity.
Despite the prevalence of dark social, hardly any online marketers seem to be particularly concerned about it. Econsultancy’s research found that just 4% considered the rise of dark social as a barrier when trying to “build a joined-up view of the customer journey”.
Despite this, there are many persuasive reasons why digital marketing professional may want to take a minute to look into the dark social phenomenon. For example:
One of the possible reasons why digital marketers aren’t paying much attention to dark social is that they think there isn’t anything they can do about it, but this isn’t strictly true. Hootsuite has a few helpful tips, including:
For more help with social media marketing, contact the experts at Ambos Digital.