Blog Posts Digital Comms Social Networks Dark social — the online interaction we just can’t see

Dark social — the online interaction we just can’t see

How can we measure what we can’t see?

Dark social is just as important — but hidden.

Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, coined what might prove to be a very much discussed term amongst social media naturals for some time to come:

Behold the dark social of online sharing.

We’re all very much impressed with the sharing numbers we see from various social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn included.

But how much is socially shared beyond measure, beyond what we can see?

How much is shared via email, instant messages and direct messages?

How much is shared on darknets, BBS networks and untraceable forums?

According to Alexis Madrigal, quite a lot.

Dark social: The social sharing that’s hidden away from us
Most of the sharing takes place in dark social.

Here’s a tl;dr summary on dark social from the Atlantic article:

1. The sharing you see on sites like Facebook and Twitter is the tip of the ‘social’ iceberg. We are impressed by its scale because it’s easy to measure.

2. But most sharing is done via dark social means like email and IM that are difficult to measure.

3. According to new data on many media sites, 69% of social referrals came from dark social. 20% came from Facebook.

4. Facebook and Twitter do shift the paradigm from private sharing to open publishing. They structure, archive, and monetize your publications.

When you calculate reach numbers for your campaigns, are you taking dark social into account?

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash.

Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer aka Doctor Spin is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Read this next

The inbound marketing paradigm

When it comes to inbound marketing, most marketers think about conversion and softwares. But it's more — inbound is a new paradigm for marketing.