Dark social is the sharing activity that is somewhat invisible to traditional analytics. It’s the culmination of referrals and sharing of content that originates from instant messages, e-mails containing links, and most recently, the rise of ephemeral social communication platforms such as Snapchat, WeChat and WhatsApp.
A majority of focus today is on social broadcast platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. With the tides shifting toward ephemeral social communication applications as a key driver of sharing, the attribution data of the share — and all of the value that comes with it — is essentially untapped and, in some cases, simply unknown.
According to a recent Radium One study, 59% of all online sharing is via dark social. Further, a whopping 91% of Americans regularly share information via dark social methods. This study also showed that 72% of sharing is simply users copying and pasting long URLs and either e-mailing or texting the information.
There are a significant number of conversations — and more importantly, potential intent — from a marketing perspective that is simply being ignored and untapped. Currently, there’s an over-reliance on retargeting. Dark social could represent an opportunity to bring balance to the equation.