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Dark Social

We work in an increasingly complex, multichannel, marketing environment. It is vital that we measure how a strategy is performing, assess success and evaluate the return on investment. However increasingly some web traffic cannot be tracked.
"Dark social" is a term coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by Web analytics programs. This mostly occurs when a link is sent via online chat or email, rather than shared over a social media platform from which referrals can be measured. Platforms include WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat. 
This presents challenges for marketers who want to connect with their customers.Dark social is part of the marketing mix. Burbery and Dominos Pizza have used Snapchat, Dutch Airline, KLM, has used Whats App and Adidas is using WhatsApp to try to track personal dark social conversations.
Generation Z and millenials are becoming more private - brands need to think about how they are communication with a younger audience.However brands cannot control the content being shared and need to be careful about intruding into a more private and personal space.
Florian Alt, global brand communications senior director for Adidas, says that dark social carries 70% of global brand referrals. This suggests that brands can easily gain plenty of traction when people mention them in private messages with their friends.

Influencers ( Bloggers, VLoggers)  can leverage dark social to spread awareness amongst their followers. Influencers are highly trusted individuals so their opinions on things in their respective niches can influence the buying decisions of their followers. So when an influencer sends a link to your articles or product pages to their followers through a messaging service, there’s a good chance that link is going to get a lot of opens. There are both big influencers and smaller ones. Most micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate because they engage with their followers on a more personal level. So anyone can be an influencer; all they need is passion in a particular subject so they can establish an expertise in said subject. For example, there may be a person who qualifies as a micro-influencer among a friend group or a group of colleagues mainly because of their interest and knowledge in a certain subject.

You can create a Whatsapp, Line, or Facebook Messenger group in which micro-influencers and their followers can connect with each other. Promote the existence of the group with your followers so they too can join and talk to micro-influencers whom they look up to.

Emails are still important. You come across a nice article while browsing the web and you want to share it with a select group of people personally. At the same time, you do not want it to get lost in a long trail of messages on a messenger. So you email the link to them this is dark social sharing.

The same procedure can be used in influencer marketing. Influencers might be using emails to share links to their latest blog posts and YouTube tutorials with their subscribers. To help you promote your content or your products and service, they can help share your link via email. Email shares have become so common that you can find email share buttons on many websites

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As marketers we have more work to do and more opportunities.