You’d be forgiven if you thought that dark social was a far away cyberland where Instagram modelling careers go to die and witches and trolls mercilessly rule! We’ll gladly tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
What is Dark Social then?
If you’re serious about growing your online community and converting your page visitors into customers as a business, then you most likely have tools in place to track the traffic and where it came from. What then happens when ‘poof!’ a visitor appears with absolutely no referrer data?
Are they really typing ilovedelicioussaucychickenwings.com/blog/realcluckinggood into their browser? Research has found that most page or website visitors come from referrer sites or dark social. Socialmediaexaminer.com broke down dark social in the most understandable manner:
“Suppose a user visits a website and finds a great blog post or product link that they think their close friends will love. Instead of clicking a share icon, the user copies the URL of the website link.
Then they open Facebook Messenger, paste the link into a message, and send it to their friends. They may even add a comment about why they’re sharing it, but the link is now available to their friends to click and explore. This type of sharing is “dark social.”
So in essence…
- Native Mobile Apps. Mobile apps such as Google Chrome or Safari.
- Email. Platforms that provide emailing services such Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook don’t pass a referrer when a user clicks the link to protect privacy and security for that user.
- Chat. Links or content can also be shared on applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat, neither of these pass referrers.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Dark social deciphered!