You are certainly missing something; two thirds of content shares take place in private channels. Are people talking about your brand or your product? Is your communication having an impact? If, in order to find out, you analyse your social media traffic with Google Analytics, it will probably only show you a fraction of the stats. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not a (complete) disaster.

What is it?

Dark social is a sharing space that eludes tracking-standards tools. This content – often copy-pasted links – is shared via SMS, email, private or encrypted messages, etc. That is to say, outside the traditional channels (Twitter, Facebook, a brand’s webpage, etc.). This method of sharing is overwhelmingly dominant. For each piece of content (published on a website) shared on social media, there are seven shared in the background via private messages.

Why does it happen?

For socionauts, sharing is clearly part of the private sphere; almost 70% of all content sharing takes place in private and the rest on public sharing channels. Because we don’t give our best discoveries to just anyone, hence the high informational value of ultra-specific sharing, which also involves seniors more than millennials and Gen Zs. The channels vary, but the rule of thumb, on the other hand, remains firm; only value-added content is shared.

Where do you start?

One way to get the ball rolling is to provide short links that are easy to share, attractive and SEO friendly with tools such as Rebrandly (although its scope is limited). Or to use the share buttons on ShareThis. Or specific analytical tools such as GetSocial. How do we see into private emails or encrypted messages such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? We don’t. Above all, keep publishing value-added content and make it easy to share – never mind if you can’t get an accurate measure of the impact later on.

How can you make a performance lever?

Finance, travel, restaurants… In certain sectors, dark social is the sharing channel of choice. Try to gauge its importance in the sharing habits of your target audience. On this basis, you will possibly rethink your current KPIs, and redefine them. Because dark social is not only the dominant channel on a quantitative level, it also brings you clients and prospective clients who are following the recommendations of a trusted person! And it brings them into the light.

To appease the public, Google has created a dedicated site : “Bien vivre le digital”. (Living happily with digital).

It is highly educational, and it covers and clarifies sensitive subjects.

 

Read the full OneShot article here