How is Dark Social Useful to My Business?

Samsung Galaxy
Photo by Rami Al-zayat / Unsplash
Dark social refers to the content that occurs outside of what can be measured by analytics programs. Based on a February 2019 survey, 63 percent of Internet users from the United States and the UK stated that they were likely to share content and information to their peers through private messaging apps. Globally, 70% of all online referrals come from dark social.

In April 2019, at the F8 conference, Facebook announced that its new approach will be a more privacy-focused social platform. Social media platforms are consciously prioritizing their users’ privacy over marketers needs for data. This poses a challenge to all businesses because customer data is a basic part of the fuel that businesses run on.

Sources of dark social include:

SMS, Chat platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and google hangouts.
Email platforms like Gmail and Yahoo ensure users’ privacy, so they do not track the sources of links.

Native Mobile Apps, in a bid to build a more consistent user experience, prefer keeping content in-App. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook instant articles, do not have clickable links.

Private or secure browsing also does not track sources of traffic. A marketer does not have control of a consumer’s choice to go incognito on chrome. This data will be lost.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”- Peter Drucker. Though this quote has some truth, I choose to disagree with it based on social media trends. There hacks you can apply to track some data on dark social.

You can use google UTM campaign builder to track the source of the link click. Just a caution on this, if someone gets the link on one platform and shares it on another, that data will be useless. For example, if you tracked a Twitter link, and someone found it on Twitter, and shared it on Facebook, that data will still track Twitter, therefore giving skewed reporting.

Another quick tool that you can use is bitly. It not only shortens links but also tracks sources of link clicks. Most of the social media management platforms have bitly integrated to them for purposes of shortening links. Google’s UTM campaign builder has this option to shorten the links which look very long on their own.

Can I get metrics from dark social using Ongair CRM?

Another way to measure some of the dark social analytics is by integrating a good CRM tool in your marketing strategy. Ongair CRM, for example, provides businesses with the ability to integrate chat platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, SMS through Africa’s Talking and WeChat. You can create your Ongair account here for your business to start taking advantage of dark social metrics.