Dark social: all of the sharing we cannot see

#Social Marketing #Marketing Insights
BY Jet Weevers
11 Oct 2018

Group chats: where birthdays are planned, GIFs are sent and friends’ opinions can be openly shared. But with an increase in private sharing, comes the rise of dark social.

Dark social is not as sinister as it may sound. It is essentially the content that is shared through private messaging services, such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and email. As much as we love sharing the latest marketing news (and perhaps the odd funny story) here at Crowd, it does cause an issue for businesses as they are unable to track the engagement of their content



Many of us are culprits of sending a yummy recipe or catchy song directly to our nearest and dearest, through copy-and-pasting direct from the address bar. As marketers, an essential part of the social media ROI framework is knowing where the traffic comes from, but this private sharing causes 84% of shared content to be untraceable!

So, how can we shine a light onto dark social?

Keep URLs short but sweet.

Shorter URLs with trackable codes (we recommend UTM codes!) make it easy for people to share the content in a message or email and your analytics programme can track its origination.

Share in just one click.

Make it easy for your content to be shared! It may sound simple, but a strategically placed ‘share’ button can be the difference between a viral story and an unseen article. Instagram, for example, have made privately sharing a photo effortless, with just a simple tap of the arrow.

We ensure our mobile sites include a share to Whatsapp link, which we can track to see how many times it’s been clicked.

Question ‘direct traffic’. Traffic coming through from shared links are listed as ‘direct traffic’ on analytical sites, such as Google Analytics. This would mean the whole URL has been typed into the address bar - and with URLs looking like this: https://twitter.com/thisiscrowd/status/943835991269429248, we doubt its the case! It is safe to assume that the majority of these clicks are from dark social.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to track 100% of dark social anytime soon, but hopefully, we have shone some light on the situation!

Still feel like you're shooting in the dark? Get in contact.

Tech and marketing by profession, entrepreneur by instinct and curious by nature. Jet’s eye for detail, ease of communication and interest in tech trends places her at the front line of the digital industry.

Get in touch with us today to talk about your marketing challenges.