Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dark Social Media and Content Marketing

What is Dark Social? Dark Social is the sharing of content that's not trackable through traditional analytics -- that is, for business purposes, it's in the dark. Beyond more traditional channels like email, SMS and instant messages, Dark Social sharing also includes ephemeral platforms like Snapchat and WeChat.

Tom Edwards recently published a fascinating article in Social Media Insider on the topic: 2015 Will See the Rise of Dark Social. What's most staggering are the statistics:
According to a recent Radium One study, 59% of all online sharing is via dark social. Further, a whopping 91% of Americans regularly share information via dark social methods. This study also showed that 72% of sharing is simply users copying and pasting long URLs and either e-mailing or texting the information.
While I agree that Dark Social is on the rise and will only continue to grow in 2015, I'd like to focus on how we as digital marketers can prepare for this shift. So what does it all mean?

Social Media is about connections. While this may seem quite obvious, it's easy to focus on trendy new platforms and lose sight of social media's original reason for existing: people want to connect with other people. Whether that's publicly on Twitter or privately on SnapChat, one thing is certain: channels are variable, but connections are constant.

Great content fuels conversation and sharing. With so much conversation happening off of more "traditional" social networks and visible channels, the need for quality content to inspire sharing and discussion has never been greater. Content can be anything from feature films to 6 second Vines; graphic novels to single panel comics; double albums to hit single teaser snippets.

This is just the beginning. I expect this segment of social to only continue to grow in 2015, so get ready and stay out of the dark!