Date: October 23, 2021

What Is Dark Social?

Over the last few years there has been a paradigm shift in terms of online content consumption globally. As data and smart phone prices have fallen, users are spending more time online and sharing more and more. As a marketer, it is important to be able to track this journey. However, ‘Dark Social’ makes it difficult.

But what is Dark Social? Dark social is simply the traffic that a content site is unable to track and identify the source. In an era where media is expensive and its critical to know your traffic source, dark social is putting a spanner in the works for brands on digital.

To explain further, content sharing happens in 3 ways.

The first is ‘open sharing’ where the user is clicking on a button and shares your content on a social platform like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

The second type is ‘closed sharing,’ wherein the users clicks and shares through a messenger like WhatsApp or through email. However, the metadata to identify the source is still there which allows analytics to track the source.

In the case of Dark Social, the user simply copy’s the web address and pastes it in the messenger or email thereby losing the metadata and tracking ability. This traffic shows in the database as direct traffic. For example, instead of sharing the interesting article on herbal tea via Facebook, your friend copied the URL and sent it to you on WhatsApp. This will show as direct traffic on the herbal tea website, even though you did not type in the URL in the search bar.

Several studies have shown that over 80% of the traffic shared through social media is dark. So if you do a new marketing campaign and you are tracking share, they will not give you the true picture. However, there are simple filters that you can out which would allow you to narrow down the content which is being consumed on dark social.
DG Brew can help you make sense of your traffic and decipher the analytics for you.