I attended this session as I had honestly never heard of Dark Social. Rupert Staines, from RadiumOne, presented on this topic, with a good explanation and obvious solution provided by RadiumOne. It would be good to have had a broader session on this topic.
What is dark social?
It refers to web traffic that comes from outside sources that are not traceable or trackable. It happens when someone shares a link by copying and pasting a URL into instant messages, emails, forums or local hub sites. When you then rock up to a site you carry no referrer data, retailers don't know where you came from, and can't track you. It's called the biggest intimate social network and is 2x the size of Facebook – 60% of sharing occurs in the dark. Rupert refers to RadiumOne's White Paper handout which was conducted across 900 million UU (I'm sure they will issue this readily on request).
Highest in automotive, finance, FMCG, retail and travel sectors where product recommendations most likely to occur.
The Power of Sharing
Sharing has always been around even with the early days of ICQ in the 90's. 82% of UK population share content online more than most other countries with 55+ showing great appetite. 91% sharers use any dark social platform.
Email is more important than social networks (77% vs 74%).
Pinterest is becoming very popular for sharing image-based.
Why is dark social a problem?
Since data is the most important part of a CMO's job looking to have a connected audience with different data points, there is clearly a large missing element. We need to understand how people are sharing across the different touch points.
PaddyPower: RadiumOne tracked audience and found that 30% new customers came from social sharing.
Team Sky cycling: Keen to show which content attracts commercial partners to their team and efforts. 95% of the content they produce is being shared in the dark.
Universal Music: How do you keep track of users engaging with Sam Smith, Robbie Williams and Taylor Swift? They want to know how they build equity around their artists. RadiumOne enabled them to use branded post URL (like bitly) – 20% increase in engagement from branded shortlinks e.g, Pdy for paddypower. This URL can be used for ANY piece of digital content: image, video and text. Step 1 is intelligence, how is the audience collected? Also use sharing widgets on own sites. Step 2: define the artist fans e.g. for Sam Smith
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