What is “Dark Social” and how to track it?

A senior editor at The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, devised a term “Dark Social”, to refer to the social sharing of content that cannot be tracked by Web Analytics Programs like Googla analytics or bit.ly. This means that one cannot monitor website referrals and social media activity. in 2018 Dark Social challenges marketers to trace the origins of traffic and engagement.

Through an analytic platform, you can tell if a visitor came from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But this isn’t possible in the case of dark social. In the past, when everything was link-based, we discovered something through links/search or by browsing via bookmarks. So, the site visitor who arrived on a site without referrer he/she had to be the direct visitor. But now it’s not the same.

Simple Sharing

Dark Social Traffic comes with no apparent evidence of a consumer visiting and interacting with the business website. But being able to detect traffic, it gives you a complete picture of your content.

Now let’s get this straight. When someone publishes a website link from his Facebook page, his/her goal is for as many of his/her customers as possible to see it. The customers can now like, comment or share it on Facebook elsewhere. This is a public social media someone uses to gain an audience and drive traffic to his/her website. This is one kind of sharing. Now let’s see another way of sharing and gathering an audience.

Dark Social Sharing

Suppose that someone finds a great blog on a website. Now instead of sharing it on his/her Facebook page, directly paste the link into a message and send it to his/her friends using Facebook messenger. Now, this link is available for their friends to click and explore. This type of sharing is known as Dark Social Sharing.

 

Dark Social Marketing

Using private messaging, for example, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc. to connect with your customers is an old traditional method of sale and customer service. This can be referred to as the Dark Social way of marketing experience.

Dark Social Dominates Over Sharing Activity

According to Researches and Reports, dark social accounted for 84% of the content shared online in 2016. However, this shows it’s important for the marketers to find a better and relevant way of sharing experience.

 Well, according to a report, almost 85% of all the sharing occurs with copy/paste action of URL. However, the rest of the 15% is done with the help of the sharing button. So, it is concluded that still a significant amount of visits are unknown according to Dark Social Traffic to the marketers. The only option that left is to track the audience by tracking activity via Dark Social.

How to hunt down Dark Social Traffic

The best way to track Dark Social Traffic is to use the Google Analytics to find out the unidentified traffic.

1.   Google Analytics

Google Analytics Dark Social

The best way to perform is it by creating a new section in Google Analytics.

•   Click on Audience, then on Overview and then Add Segment

•   Now select Direct Traffic

•   This helps you only to access traffic marked as “direct.”

•   Now click on Advance which is on the top right

•   Add the pages that are super easy to keep in mind in the following format:

§ Jobs/blog/contact/about

After doing this, the results which will be displayed will be those links that consider as DARK SOCIAL TRAFFIC. Many other different tools are targeting to lessen the probabilities of traffic being checked off as “Direct” even though without acknowledging where it comes from.

2.   Add This

add this dark social

AddThis helps you to track traffic simply from Dark Social by generating a share button for your website, moreover, it also helps you to simply copy/paste the code for tracking. However, It is also probable to include sharing to more than 200 networks with this. Plus, the customization options it offers assure you that the browsing isn’t interrupted.

3.   GerSocial.io

gersocial.io dark social

GerSoical.io is a tool that helps you analyze different kinds of shares. Once you install this tool, it allows you to copy/paste the code to site, and thus aid you to track all the copy/pasted shares by offering real-time data analysis. GetSocial.io also offers you a cross-device sharing measurement, makes all types of sharing visible.

4.   Po.st

po.st dark social

With the help of Po.st, you can have link shortening and at the same time social sharing option to track the messages that directly come from Dark Social.

Moreover, it enables the different marketers to check out the Dark Social Traffic simply by copy/pasting the URLs.

This tool enables marketers to monitor that dark social traffic from copy-paste URLs. This tool is beneficial for marketers to dig into for audience. On the other hand, it also provides visitors with an opportunity to revisit the page where they clicked through copy/past by single click.

5.  Bit.ly

bit.ly dark social tracking

Bit.ly is a popular tool which works by shortening the links and also helps as a useful assistant in tracing the dark social traffic. The best way to use this tool is by providing a abridged link to your every post and to embolden the visitor at your site to share the useful content through this link. In this way, you can have check and balance on the traffic.

Overview

With the evolution of social platforms, and the rapid change of social networks, it is getting quite difficult for the marketers to comprehend all the changes just to keep their value audience in touch and active.

With the passage of time, the users now tend to opt using mobile applications, messaging services, and private networks; however, dark social will get higher from now on.

Yes, it’s true that dark social traffic can prove as a headache for many business owners. But on the contrary, there are many tools available to detect such traffic. No doubt, it can be quite challeging to go through such tools and analyze, but we believe that marketers can easily detect and undertsand from where the traffic is coming from.

Dark social shares may be difficult to track, but this doesn’t mean that the marketers should give up on acquiring insights into their user’s behavior. Howeever, with the help of testing different tools, one can be able to find the perfect solution to detect dark social traffic by assisting you to understand consumers behavior.

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