What Is Dark Social?
Jan. 2, 2019, 3:13 p.m.
Dark social is all the social media interactions and sharing content that comes from outside that what can be measured via Web analytics programs and that marketers just can’t see. Dark social is the term created in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal from The Atlantic. According to Madrigal, data from the analytics revealed that over half of the firm’s social traffic came from untraceable sources. Marketers, instead of focusing on tracing traffic sources, are mistakenly focused on the content itself (and the traffic from traditional social media platforms). Dark social interactions include: - Private social media communications on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., - Forwarded emails, - Private social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, and Snapchat, - SMS. All the dark social links don’t have tracking code appended to their URLs, so it’s not possible to determine the way our visitor found the website. Current social media platforms have the most power over social traffic but dark social applications are making it very hard to analyze. The value of dark social Most organizations and even marketers are unaware of dark social as a risk factor. However, it is well worth giving serious consideration – not only because it gives a huge share of your social traffic, but also because it can be considered as the most valuable social traffic. Recent research indicates that dark social traffic now accounts for over 70% of the website traffic. It turns out that people usually share links by sending them privately, not via their public profiles on social media. To track this traffic you need to understand how dark social works and then configure Google Analytic accordingly. Another solution is adding a button to the articles, thanks to which the user will receive a reward (like e-book or access to extra materials) if he answers the question of how he came to the site.