Up to 84% of consumer outbound sharing from a business’s website happens via private dark social platform.

Dark social is when people share content through private social channels. They include message apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and WeChat, as well as email, native mobile apps, direct DMs and secure browsing sites. In other words, it describes any web traffic that’s not attributed to a known source such as a Google search or social network. For marketers, dark social can be a daunting so how do you measure dark social if it’s essentially invisible social traffic?

With video content on the rise and dark social traffic doubling in 2018, here’s our tips on getting started:

Create bespoke and informal video content

70% of dark social users are most likely to share entertaining photos of videos, ranking way above links to websites, new articles or even deals. When planning a video strategy, create informal content that sparks a personable conversation. Dark social users see these platforms as a safe environment where they can be themselves. Avoid using content from your wider campaigns – instead, curate bespoke and exclusive content.

Let the conversation flow organically

Recruit micro-influencers, open up a suitable channel, seed exclusive video content and allow the group to enjoy unbranded conversations. Avoid the hard sell and push out topical content that’s shareable and original.

Dark social essentially gives brand the opportunity to be a fly on the wall. Starbucks’ dark social strategy allowed the coffee giant to have much deeper conversations with their customers – gaining insights they otherwise wouldn’t have through public social channels. This meant that they could collaborate and share feedback on product development and testing.

Make the most out of links and buttons

Get around invisible social traffic by shortening video links. Cut down on raw links and use bit.ly or a similar service to increase trackability. You can also put a copy and paste button at the bottom of your video content. Once the ‘copy’ button is clicked, a UTM URL is pre-loaded into the search bar. Add prominent share buttons to your video content as you can tag these social sharing buttons for tracking.

Think logically when using Google Analytics

Google Analytics doesn’t track dark social, but if you segment your Direct Traffic, you’ll be able to spot your dark traffic in no time. The logic behind this is that some URLs – the long-titled, random blog posts for example – are more difficult to remember or type into Google. These are more likely copied and pasted from somewhere and then clicked via a dark social channel.

Utilise dark social tracking tools

There are plenty of tracking tools out there that’ll aid tracking. For starters try Po.st and AddThis – tools that add social share buttons for your website and copy/paste codes for tracking dark social media shares.

If you’re thinking about creating a video strategy, get in touch with Skylark Media today for a free video content audit.


Nina Jun 5th, 2019

About Nina Postans

Nina is Marketing Manager at Skylark Media. Her background is in editorial content, running fashion and celebrity B2B services in New York and London. A keen home renovator and interior hacker, Nina juggles life on the school run while tending to her other kids (indoor plants!).