Forget Facebook, Dark Social Is What Rules The Internet

by • February 5, 2015 • Experts TalkComments Off on Forget Facebook, Dark Social Is What Rules The Internet14915

The title might seem a little harsh but it is nonetheless a big truth that you will have to accept as a marketer. Most brands invest most of their digital marketing budget on the more traditional platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but consumers are sharing most of their content elsewhere: on email, on messaging apps, on forums, etc… Welcome to the dark side of social media.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Making It Big on Facebook

The term Dark Social was first used by Alexis C. Madrigal, a tech editor at Atlantic.com, in one of his articles back in 2012.

What Is “Dark Social”?

Alexis used the term to refer to the amount of web traffic that comes from outside sources that web analytics are not able to track.

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In clear, Dark Social is when someone shares content or a link by copying and pasting into communications platforms such as emails, instant messages or forum posts. On the contrary of the more traditional social media platforms, these cannot be tracked by web analytics tools.

What is incredible about Dark Social, is that, according to a recent study from RadiumOne, Dark Social represents more than 69% of all sharing activity that takes place online! To put this in perspective, Facebook is only responsible for 23% of that.


Why You Should Embrace “Dark Social”

Well, first of all, because as we just explained, Dark Social represents 3 times more online sharing than Facebook for example.

Moreover, according to the research from RadiumOne, Dark Social is the leading sharing activity in over 19 content categories, some of which are among the most important to advertisers: travel, personal finance, technology and automotive.

In fact, a large percentage of consumers, among those are probably your customers, only share via Dark Social.


Now you understand why harnessing the power of Dark Social is a huge opportunity for brands and advertisers. It can help achieve impressive results in engaging with audiences and greatly improve the ROI on their social and digital marketing activities.

For example, by acting on Dark Social data, Universal Music Group has improved the performance of their programmatic media campaigns by 300%, according to RadiumOne.

Harnessing The Sharing Power Of “Dark Social”

As you have probably understood by now, Dark Social cannot be ignored. In fact, ignoring Dark Social would almost mean you are voluntarily choosing not to listen to 2 out of 3 of your customers.

There is a lot to learn about Dark Social and I strongly invite you to visit RadiumOne and download their white paper after you have finished reading this introductory post (link at the bottom of this post). But the main point you need to understand is that Dark Social is about data.

Harnessing Dark Social means you need to take back control on something which is by definition out of your hands. If you cannot control where users share your content, then you must control what they share.

To make things simple, the basic principle of Dark Social is built around implementing short URL sharing and acting on the social and data insights in real time.

Start By Implementing Short URL Marketing

Most marketers use URL shorteners for sharing their content across platforms. There are many reasons for this, but the main one remains that short URLs are, well short and as such they are easier to share on platforms like Twitter for example.

What most marketers fail to do, is to take advantage of the resulting data. The good URL shorteners do not only transform your links into shorter ones, they transform them into measurable links across platforms. Yes, every click on a short URL will generate clickbacks and rich data that will really help you improve your digital marketing. The typical resulting data from good URL shorteners includes information on location, whether the link was clicked on a mobile device or not and even tracking information on copy/paste sharing!

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So are you ready to harness the power of Dark Social?

To download the full white-paper from RadiumOne, visit this page.

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