If there’s one thing certain about the social media industry, it’s that industry players love to coin new, unknown phrases to describe social media interactions we already know. The latest phrase being thrown around in posts, blogs, articles, and news pieces today is Dark Social Media. We’re here to break down what is Dark Social Media, and why you as a brand or business owner should care about it.
What is Dark Social Media?
Dark Social Media, also called Dark Social, refers to any web traffic that’s not attributed to a known source, such as a social network or Google search. No tags or hashtags come with Dark Social Media, making it virtually impossible to track (hence the term dark). While a lot of social media sharing today occurs from different social media platforms and search results, equipping them with tags that track the sourced information and who shared it, when they shared it, and what they commented on, Dark Social has no kind of tracking mechanism.
Common examples of Dark Social include links copy and pasted into emails, texts, and instant messages. Though some of these can be obtained with the tags included, by clicking “share this link” from the original source, more times than not, you’re going to just copy and paste a link out of your browser right into your open Gmail window.
Covered up as “direct” traffic when processed through third party platforms like Google Analytics – it’s really referring to Dark Social.
Why should you care?
So what does this mean for your business and why should you care? Dark Social tells us something we already know: content is King. People are only going to participate in Dark Social Sharing if the content of the piece is worth sharing. Makes sense. Dark Social’s increasing relevance (about 32% of social media users claim they share posts and information through Dark Social to avoid public attention) only validates how much more informational, funny, quirky, and eye-catching your social media posts should be. It furthermore validates the importance of using shortened links (we’re looking at you, Bitly) to encourage platform visitors to type out the link accompanied by a tag.
And lastly, it makes tracking Facebook and other platform algorithm updates incredibly important. Knowing a new algorithm gives you information on how to reach the largest audience. Since Dark Social gives us no information on why or who shared the post, relying on maximizing existing algorithms is your second best bet.
We can help!
Of course, if any of this seems confused, that’s why we’re here! We get it, and we want to maximize your business exposure right through the dark and into the light.