Dark Social. Sounds ominous, right?
Black market, black hat, the Dark Side of the Force – all these things bear a certain negativity in their names, eliciting fear and prompting people to stay away at all costs, lest they suffer for it.
But when The Atlantic’s Tech Editor Alexis Madrigal coined the term “Dark Social” in 2012, he wasn’t referring to something harmful, but something infinitely more helpful, especially for businesses. He was referring to all the GOOD Dark Social can do!
But more on that in a moment…
Defined simply, Dark Social is social sharing done through (previously) untraceable sources like email, private messaging (think texts and GChat), and other mobile information sharing apps. It takes its name not from the evil nature of its practice, but from the private, more intimate execution of sharing content with a friend. Unlike its shiny, mainstream social cousins – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – it’s not super easy to track, but just as important if you know how!
As a business owner with a modern marketing plan, you want to step into the shadows with Dark Social. Dark Social has 3 times the volume of social media channels! Sharing through these “dark” channels” provides a much more intimate experience between you and your consumers and helps you reach your interested audience in a much better and more personal way.
Think about it.
When someone shares content from your site with a friend on a private channel – be it a video, impressive product, before-and-after photo – they’re doing all the marketing for you!
One customer, who trusts you, sends another potential customer an invitation to trust you as well. If you can track this information, you tap into a much more valuable resource: “word-of-mouth marketing” in its purest, and most organic form. Essentially, existing customers become one of your most powerful tools: an influencer.
All you just have to do is track all that hidden social interaction and you get a fuller picture of where ALL your traffic comes from.
Something like 69% of all global sharing is done on Dark Social. When you want to bring Dark Social stats into the light for your business, there are some key practices experts recommend to make the most of these reclusive results:
However you decide to dive into it, one thing for the future is clear: For better results and better reporting, Dark Social is becoming the new black.