There’s much discussion these days about measuring the right key performance indicators, or KPIs. Are likes worth anything? Are shares social gold? Does engagement help if it doesn’t lead directly to business? These questions are important and worth discussing at your company (and on this blog). However, my question today is, how do you measure the impact of ‘dark social?’
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. (Source: Technopedia)
People are beginning to value privacy in their online interactions. Facebook users are sharing less personal information, messaging apps have exploded and mobile messaging is projected to reach 80% of smartphone users by 2018.
“Some of the key drivers of mobile messaging’s growth identified include consumers’ growing interest in intimate forums for social sharing.” –eMarketer
Instead of commenting publicly on your company’s Facebook post, a community member may share it via Messenger with close friends. A fan who never engages with your tweets may be reminded to purchase from your company and even influence others to do the same. A reader of your blog may never interact online with your posts but bring them up regularly at nights out with friends.
How do you measure this dark or private activity? In his article, Three Reasons Dark Social May Be Coming Into the Light, Mark Schaefer discusses three emerging trends that may finally give marketers access to this previously untapped goldmine of data and purchasing activity.
“The interesting thing is all the communication that used to be private is now migrating into the hands of Facebook (who owns WhatsApp with 1 billion users and Messenger with 900 million users),” writers Schaefer.
While people are seeking more intimate forums to interact, these forums are being purchased by larger companies, who see the potential value in monetizing their services. As a publicly held company, Facebook has shown interest — and an aptitude — for monetizing services while still providing users value. Expect that trend to continue, which should make marketers and consumers happy.
As Schaefer suggests, “perhaps 2016 is the year dark social starts to become a thing of the past.”
Shine the Light on ‘Dark Social’
How does your company measure the impact of ‘dark social?’
What KPIs do your company track?
Does your company require a hard return on investment (ROI) from social media or do you consider a presence worthwhile regardless?
Working in the dark,