Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of Dark Social

Dark social is one of the most important trends in social media, despite being one of the least discussed. Here you will find out everything you need to know about Dark social and how you can track it and what you can really do about it. Everything You Need to Know About Dark Social.

Everything You Need to Know About Dark Social

Basically dark social means any type of social sharing that happens privately. Oftentimes this means sharing links to Tweets, YouTube videos, or other social content via direct message, text, or email. Think about it: you find an interesting article, you simply copy and past the link into a messaging app and hit send.

Millions of people do this every day, sending lots of traffic to publishers. But links shared in this way lack referral tags, so when the recipient clicks on it their visit will show up as ‘direct’ traffic. Since nobody writes the complete link in the referrals while sharing so it becomes a part of the Dark social traffic. Some channels responsible for dark social traffic include:

  •  Social Media Giants like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  •  Email – to protect users’ privacy, referrers aren’t passed.
  • Messaging apps – WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, etc.
  •  Secure browsing – If you click from HTTPS to HTTP the referrer won’t be passed on.

Another type of dark social is unpublished Facebook posts. These are posts that don’t appear publicly on a brand’s timeline, but are rather posted to a targeted group of people using ads or advanced targeting features.

Dark social is no small trend either. Study shows that a whopping 84% of all on-site social shares come from dark social. The other 16% come from public shares on Facebook or other public networks.

You won’t be able to fully track dark social traffic, but there are some steps you can take to narrow things down.

If you look at your direct traffic in whatever analytics platform you’re using, it’s fair to say that any long links which are lumped in with our direct traffic on Analytics were not typed in manually. The best solution that may also help you increase your shares aswell as track down your dark social shares is to use the UTM codes. A UTM code is basically is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.

The best way to increase your dark social shares is to add direct share buttons to your blog or other published content. For example, you can add Facebook messenger, Slack, and SMS share icons to your blog posts. Attach a unique UTM code to each of the buttons so you can track clicks from each share and import said UTM code.

There are a number of WordPress plugins and web apps you can use to add direct share buttons to your blog. Some of these include AddThis, GetSocial.io, and ShareThis. Take a look through these apps and find which best fits your needs.

Once you’re setup, view your on-site dark social shares by searching for your dark social UTM code in the campaigns section of the Google Analytics channel report in Social Report (Reports > Channels > Google Analytics > Campaigns).

READ ALSO: Google Phased Out The Green ‘Secure’ Lock on HTTPS Sites in Chrome

So, in this blog you have explored what exactly is the Dark social and what techniques can be used to track it down and use it for your own benefits.

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