Daily Buzz: How Dark Social Is Skewing Your Data

Dark social shares mean your team could be basing its marketing insights—and budget—on inaccurate data. Also: ideas for a website relaunch.

For your performance marketing team, “dark social” might as well be the dark side of the moon.

“Dark social describes the ‘invisible’ shares that happen through channels like messengers, but also email and text messages. If you go to The New York Times right now, pick any article, and send the URL via Facebook Messenger to one of your friends, you’ve shared it via dark social,” says Liesa Opitz on Convince and Convert. “For the NYT team, that share will come up as ‘direct,’ even though you didn’t type the whole link into your browser. They won’t know where you got the article from, making dark social a form of referral traffic that is attributed to the wrong channel.”

In fact, one report says about 84 percent of social shares happen via dark social, according to marketing firm RhythmOne. The stat means that groups are spending precious marketing dollars based on only 20 percent of real data, Opitz says.

So, how to get around dark social shares?

“Analyze earned, owned, and paid together, so you can start optimizing and tweaking campaigns and content to move customers along their purchase paths,” Opitz says. “In your social media analytics tool, you can overlay it with your mentions and social shares to shed some light on how your customers are sharing.”

Website Redesign Inspiration

If you’re launching a new website, take a hint from the Healthcare Financial Management Association, says member researcher Amanda Kaiser on Smooth the Path.

For one, the group includes solution-based messaging throughout the site, which prompts visitors to engage with their content and get involved in the organization.

And the content itself is diverse and spread throughout the website, Kaiser says. “Without having to say it explicitly, the site shows members that if they join, they will get a ton of value without incessant upselling,” she says. “This web relaunch was coupled with a bigger business decision to move to an all-access, one price membership as a way to boost engagement, but any association can tip the balance toward more content and less selling on their website to inspire trust.”

Other Links of Note

Confused about marketing segmentation? The MemberSuite blog explains the art and science of the process.

Business travel costs won’t rise steeply in 2020, according to a new report. MeetingsNet explains.

Updates to LinkedIn’s algorithm have created a 50 percent increase in viral activity. The Hootsuite blog explains how to make the algorithm work for you.

(scyther5/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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