Why Dark Social Needs To Be In Your Content Marketing Strategy
So you’ve produced a great blog on “x” and you have posted it on your website and social media platforms. But when you check your analytics, the majority of the traffic is coming from direct hits? Well congratulations, chances are that your content is being shared on dark social platforms.
For those in content marketing (or digital marketing generally), knowing about dark social is vital. Here, GLW will discuss what dark social is, why it’s important and what you can do to shine a light on your dark social activity.
What is Dark Social?
Dark social is a concept by Alexis Madrigal from the Atlantic magazine that explains why some web traffic that cannot measure the source of traffic. This is normally a link that has been shared on private digital communication platforms, such as email and instant messengers, or shared without referral tags.
Sharing without tags or a known source usually results in the traffic being noted as direct hits on analytic software – even if your URL is pages deep. Consider the link of one of our blogs below:
Over 38% of the traffic to that blog is considered direct traffic according to Google Analytics. As much as people love GIFs, I find it hard to conceive that there is a person out there willing to type that URL by hand (80 characters long) without errors.
Who Is Using Dark Social?
Dark social represents 69% of all content shared on the internet, which 3 times larger than Facebook. 32% of people will only share via dark social exclusively – meaning that a potential third of your audience data is missing on your analytic software.
Because your audience is sharing among a private network, your content is contextually very important. Instead of being shared via one-to-many on social media, it is being shared one-to-one (e.g. your friend sharing you a review for a movie you are about to watch) it makes your content personal, relevant and influential. In comparison to a typical post to an audience on social media, it has a much higher click rate
What Does This Mean for My Social Strategy?
It may seem scary that a large chunk of your audience is unmeasurable by conventional analytics – after all, you want to be able to see what has engaged your audience and where you should spend time optimising your site/content. But if you are worried about that large chunk of direct traffic, well try not to – you should take pride that your content is being shared widely over many platforms. The lack of detailed audience insight should not put you off from spending time (money) and effort on items that are shared this way.
But there is one thing you can do to gain some insight into those links shared via dark social:
Using shortened links can gain insights into how your content is being used on dark social. Using a site, such as Bitly, you can see where the clicks have come from (known as clickbacks). While these may not be integrated into your regular analytics software, such as Google Analytics, when used together will give you your customer’s experience from start to finish. Then you can find out if there are any areas of your content or social platform that need to be optimised.
The best way to incorporate dark social into your strategy is similar how to incorporate content marketing: to create unique and engaging content that people will want to share. There is only one way to do this, ensuring that your writing is interesting, informative and in line with your target audience.
GLW can create engaging copy and content for your website and social channels (don’t believe me – you’ve just read this article thus far). For more information on our content creation service, get in touch by emailing us or calling 0203 318 4001.