Harnessing the Dark Social Side
Dark social sharing is more prevalent than you might think and here’s how and why you should include it in your analytic reports.
What is Dark Social?
It is any social media content shares that cannot be measured, like emailing or texting an article to someone. There is no way to record that those shares, and it’s more common than you think as 84% of outbound sharing takes place via dark social. This information can be frustrating for digital marketers when trying to compile data on the effectiveness of a particular campaign.
Is there any way to see Dark Social traffic?
Well sort of, but it takes some digging. When looking at your traffic channels in Google Analytics, you’ll see a list of URLs under “Direct Traffic.” Now it is possible that someone did type some of the addresses listed, but chances are the longer and more specific the URL is then it is most likely a dark social share.
How important is it to go out of your way to track this dark social sharing?
Well considering that mobile dark social shares have gone up from 53% in August of 2014 to 62% in February of 2016, it’s safe to say that these numbers are worth looking into when gathering data. The most important aspect behind these numbers is the ability to see what interests people enough to take the time to share your content, which brings us to our next talking point.
What can be done to reduce dark social sharing?
The easiest solution is to ensure your content is easy to share. Utilizing tools and plugins on your website that make it easy for visitors to not only share your content across various social media platforms, but also give users the ability to email your content as well. Another method is to use a URL shortening service like Google URL Shortener to help you track where visitors are coming from on both mobile and desktop.
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