Most of us feel like we’re in the dark when to comes to the fast pace world of social media. Well, now we really are, with dark social. Dark social takes a big impact on our business and personal lives. Getting the analytics from Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and etc. for your business are very time consuming and not always easy to find. Personally you want to make sure you and your family are safe on and off the net. These very important cases that are found to be more difficult with dark social. Understanding how content is shared when not immediately visible will be a key metric.
Dark social is traffic that originated from the share of a URL, but is marked as direct traffic in analytics tool. There are now many ways a visitor can arrive at a site without going to the site directly. Here are a few:
- Native Mobile Apps. Mobile apps either fire up a browser instance in-app (like Facebook) or force safari/chrome to open a new browser window (like Instagram) with the URL in question in the browser. In both cases, the browser itself is going to directly to the site and thus it looks like direct traffic when viewed in GA.
- Email. Most email-providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook don’t pass a referrer when a user clicks the link to protect privacy and security for that user.
- Chat. This can be in the form of chat-based native mobile apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or web/desktop based chat like Google Hangouts, IRC, or Slack. Chat clients of all kinds do not pass referrers either!
- Secure browsing. If you’re browsing on a site using HTTPS and click a link to a site using HTTP a referrer won’t be passed.
- Organic search. In some browser configurations, google won’t actually pass a referrer when a user clicks a link from an organic search.
We only consider the first three of these to be dark social, but the point here is that most direct traffic is actually far from direct. If you’re measuring your web traffic using only standard web analytics, you’re missing key insights about how people are actually discovering your content and products. – What is “Dark Social” By Brewster Stanislaw
- This vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs. I call it DARK SOCIAL. It shows up variously in programs as “direct” or “typed/bookmarked” traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that’s not actually what’s happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone Gchatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.
- Just look at that graph. On the one hand, you have all the social networks that you know. They’re about 43.5 percent of our social traffic. On the other, you have this previously unmeasured darknet that’s delivering 56.5 percent of people to individual stories.
“There’s no way to game email or people’s instant messages. There’s no power users you can contact. There’s no algorithms to understand. The best way to create content that is guaranteed to be shared is by writing interesting, informative, original material.” – Alexis C. Madrigal
Mobile Communication Privacy and Security
There is a legitimate “education gap” between the latest technologies and their privacy policies and people taking responsibility for their own security. “Ultimately, it is up to you to control your privacy, assuming that you have the tools to control your privacy,” Swan said.
It is key that users understand exactly how they can create safeguards to protect their data. He added that an emerging arena for privacy debates could revolve around the rise of voice-recognition devices and “Internet of Things”-connected smart home devices that don’t necessarily have screens and keyboards.
“When you have a device that is essentially always listening, it will be interesting to see how companies tackle that idea of a user being recorded at all times. Some companies are very transparent about this,” Jensen said. At the end of the day, it falls on the individual to protect him or herself, Jensen added.
“Concerns over people hacking your laptop web camera or looking into your records is not a reason to fear all web cams or be angry at Apple,” he said. “It’s up to you to do the research, read the fine print, and stay vigilant.” – Messaging apps embrace the “dark social” Web – By Brian mastroianni
As a business owner or a marketing professional, make sure you have the proper analytical insights that will allow you to execute and optimize your social media strategy. Don’t underestimate dark social’s power. Instead, understand it and take advantage of it.
‘Connecting Rural Minnesota’