According to recent research, 77% of content is being shared via ‘Dark Social’. Marketing company, RadiumOne found that over three-quarters of content coming from publishers or marketers is being shared via ‘Dark Social, versus just 23 per cent on public social networks.
For those of you who are unaware, ‘Dark Social’ refers to social sharing that web analytics tools cannot track, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Taking into account the amount of sharing of content we do on a daily basis it is not surprising that ‘Dark Social’ is on a sharp rise. It is estimated that millions of people share links through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger every day.
Even though most of us share links from friends which takes us directly to the webpage, analytics tool’s are not able to track where the link was first found. WhatsApp recently made headlines this month by announcing end-to-end encryption, meaning even law enforcement can’t intercept messages. However ‘Dark Social’, also represents new opportunities for PRs and Marketers to engage with big audiences. For instance, big corporations like ASOS now allow its customers to arrange an exchange with ASOS via Facebook Messenger and pay a utility bill on WeChat.
Speaking to the Drum, RadiumOne European managing director, Rupert Staines said: “Dark Social is a big piece of the sharing universe. This interest and intent data source is particularly powerful when it comes to mobile, where the majority of interacting with shared content is occurring. The opportunity for brands is to track, gather and activate these valuable signals to connect their owned and earned media investments with paid media effectiveness”.
Some believe that once the glitches have been fixed, ‘Dark Social’ will provide personal communication – almost like talking to a human rep, offering one to one assistance through private message. However, brands will have to earn the respect of prospective customers and ensure that more intimate forms of communication do not feel intrusive.
“The many channels and platforms consumers use to share the things that matter to them, and the behaviour around this, is evolving by the day” says Rupert Staines. “It’s becoming increasingly complex and harder for brands to keep up with the fast pace of consumers. However, brands can harness sharing technology to allow them to take a channel and platform agnostic approach to keeping up with consumers.”