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What is dark social and how can marketers benefit?

The Shadowy World of Dark Social

"Everything the light touches is our kingdom [except dark social.]"

“Everything the light touches is our kingdom [except dark social.]”

Have you ever emailed a friend a link to see which Disney cat is their spirit animal?

Odds are you found that quiz via social media and didn’t want the whole world to know you clicked on it and let alone sent it to someone else. Guess what? You have engaged in dark social. This is a universal act resulting in 84 percent of outbound sharing being done privately.

Dark social refers to any content that is shared through private channels like email, instant messaging, text messaging and even messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. There are times when what we share doesn’t need to be inherently social. For example, your favorite artist in is town and you send the link to a friend who might want to come with. You may also want to have an email chain with a group of family members about which points of interest to see on your next vacation.

What can you do to shine some light on dark social?

Evaluate what content gets the most traffic

If you are seeing high numbers of traffic on a page or article but not seeing the referral tags then it came from dark social. This is a unique opportunity to get insight into what your customers like to see (and share) the most.

Make sharing easy and intuitive

Does your website make it easy to share an article, file or event via social media? If not, invest in plugins that allow seamless social integration. Product and service recommendations now more than ever come from your friends on social media. Why not give your customers the tools they need to market your product?

Author, Laura V. Boston
The C3 Group

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