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Embracing the dark (social) side

Dark social refers to a type of sharing that can’t be tracked. It’s easy to see how many people shared a link you posted on Facebook to their own Facebook timeline. It’s impossible to see how many copied and pasted your link or video into a private message or email. This sharing is 3 times bigger than the sharing activity on Facebook globally. In fact, 32% of people that share content online share exclusively through dark social means.

What’s the big deal?

You have no way of knowing just how effective your content is and all of your analytics are inaccurate.This is especially true if you’re marketing to those over the age of 55, most of whom share through dark social. You could have posted to Facebook and only had it shared a dozen times…but perhaps another 80 people copied the link and sent it to their friends and family. You could’ve gone viral without even knowing it! Of course, your web traffic will increase if this is the case, but knowing where that traffic is coming from is crucial for your marketing plan.

What can I do about it?

There are options, depending on your budget. Do some research with surveys. There are companies out there that invested in a bit of research and discovered the sharing they could see only accounted for as little as 5%.

dark social

Start researching what’s going on with your consumers

Another option is to introduce “smart sharing” buttons to your posts and emails. This allows consumers to press a button to forward the email, which can be tracked. Not all consumers will take advantage of this button and there will still be more that continue to copy and paste.
Don’t forget to include a video in your email signature to increase leads!

Taking advantage of dark social

There are a few very simple tricks to boost the amount of people sharing your links. Finding a way to track your current statistics will prevent you from going in blind, so this is definitely a good place to start. Next, look at shortening the URL you want shared. A shorter URL is easier for a consumer to remember or copy without looking messy. Short URLs also look better in email signatures, direct marketing (like text messaging) and on your average social media post.

By Emma Wilkinson

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