The World of Dark Social
“A single candle can both defy and define darkness”- Anne Frank
The world of social analytics is very similar to the quote. If we have the social data analytics of the inflow and exit traffic to the social content, then you have your perspectives clear and insights can be drawn, the flip side stands as The Dark Side of Social Analytics. The term ‘Dark’ refers here as the absence of knowledge, purpose, and clarity in a particular area of data context. The Dark Social resembles the lack of visibility and purpose to draw necessary insights resulting in visibility and clarity of behavioral patterns of Social Media Users, reacting to a contextual information, content and their engagement to a specific social media platform. The above concept is still in its experimental cycles of maturity. Majorly, the fundamental cause of this effect, seeds from the social content being shared privately through private chats and emails and messages under public restrictive access areas, which cannot be tracked for the actual conversion statistics and other business decisions.
The term ‘Dark Social’ even though surfaced in 2012, hyped in the later 2016, where companies and social media specialists, and evangelists realized that most of the direct traffic coming to their websites and portals as word of mouth or as direct traffic sources, stand untracked and tracked, which can be classified and further purposed to draw valuable insights. This data remained untraceable through regular social media surveys and techniques and was classified as unknown sources. Dark Social has intrigued most of the social media experts and companies to get insights and track it for better optimization. Let’s just take the most obvious example here;
“Facebook the largest social media platform has been one of the prime tools in digital advertising. We all are familiar with the ‘Share’ feature. Honestly ‘do we actually use it?’ if yes how frequently and under what situations or psychological triggers do we use them. From my personal experience, I have rarely shared any links (especially adverts) for any company, so we can assume that these links are either shared in personal or informed to fellow consumers through Word of Mouth.”
When endeavoring (sounds more like an adventure) to track our campaigns, there are questions, on what is known and what is unknown. Currently, we have to be dependable on 2 things; one is social media tracking tools and other is the humanized experience and intelligence of our managers. This question the authenticity of the data interpretation, where we become either conscious and use the data with uncertainty and or continue making a logical conclusion to it or just assume the data to be complete. No doubt, as marketers we have embraced the new techniques for marketing which drive growth, but sadly there is still a gap between the method and our achievements.
“The impact of dark social depends on what drives your brand’s website traffic”-Jeff Rajeck
Your experience will always be different as compared to others. One thing to remember is that Dark Social shares are always useful for your brand, these links shared through encryptions between friends, colleagues etc. through email or chat applications will always have a better click-through rate. So, the best way of fighting the war of Dark social is to accept it and create the content which is unique, creative as well interactive. In the end, we worry less about ‘Where the content is being shared and more about improvement in conversions.