Dark Social was a term was first introduced back in 2012. It means social sharing that occurs outside of social media platforms, basically it is when we share links to articles, videos and posts through email, messaging, WhatsApp and other platforms.
A reason we may do this is because we don’t want to share the article against our social platform, for anyone we are connected with to see.
What Makes Sharing Content In This Way Dark?
When your post is shared via channels such as email, messaging, WhatsApp and other non-social media platforms it isn’t tracked and therefore the traffic it produces to your site is termed as Dark as it will likely appear in Google Analytics as direct traffic and you won’t know where it generated from.
How Big Is Dark Social?
Over the past year and a half Dark Social has been responsible for up to 84 percent of sharing worldwide.
It may be no surprise that mobile devices account for the biggest share via Dark Social.
What Can You Do About It?
There are a couple of approaches you can take to record more accurate analytics from Dark Social. You can use Google Analytics to setup campaigns with custom URLs and/or you can use a URL shortner. These two options will give you a better insight into how your posts have performed and you will be able to make better judgement calls on your marketing efforts with this more accurate way of data collecting.
If you aren’t using the above facilities now, then you can still use Google Analytics to see specific URLs in the direct traffic section of the website. If the URL is long, such as www.acardealer.co.uk/bmw-5-series-0123456789 you can almost be certain that this link wasn’t manually typed and has come from some form of Dark Social.
There isn’t anything you can do about ensuring people take sharing online, other than making your content easier to share. On a positive note, a share is a share and if your content is bringing traffic to your website via Dark Social then you’re winning.
Thanks for reading!