Decoding the Impact of Dark Social on Analytics in 2024?

Dark Social 2024
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A million-dollar question that is still lingering!

What is the impact of Dark Social on Analytics in 2024?

But before we understand the impact of dark social, as a reader you need to understand the basics behind this term.

‘Dark Social’, is an intrusive yet something commonly used term by every marketer. It’s all about the web traffic we can’t easily track – like when people share links in private messages or chat in online groups.

It’s tricky because it’s hidden, but it’s super important for understanding your customers.

There are lots of stuff we use every day like groups on Facebook or Slack, and even our everyday chats in Zoom meetings or WhatsApp. It’s all the ways people share and talk about things when they’re not directly on your website.

But I know what you must be thinking, ‘Hey, we can track everything on social media with our fancy tools, right?’

Well, it’s not that simple.

For example, sharing a blog post on LinkedIn. Someone clicks on it, and your tracking tools can easily see that. It seems straightforward. But what if you share something without a link? Like just a text update or a funny video? Or what if they copy the link, and share it somewhere else, like in a WhatsApp group? That’s where you can not navigate the right data. Your tracking tools might lose track of where that traffic is really coming from.

Adding to my statement, in 2017, Radium One uncovered data regarding the consumer purchasing decision process: a whopping 84% of what consumers share online actually takes place in dark social spaces. Thus, making it a key element in dark funnel marketing.

And guess what?

It’s 2023, and you might think that by now, we’d have it all figured out. But no, this enigma continues to baffle even the brightest minds. Take Steve Lamar, for instance.

Recently, he went deep into studying AI-powered dark funnels, where he experimented and shared his findings related to Dark funnels for e-commerce on SparkToro.

He set up 16 subdomains just to track where web traffic is coming from.

What did he find?

TikTok profile clicks? 100% from dark social. Yep, every single click.

Then, clicks from private messaging apps like Slack, Discord, WhatsApp, and Mastodon were also 100% dark social – but here’s a twist, only 75% from Facebook Messenger.

And it gets even more interesting. Instagram only showed accurate data about 30% of the time, LinkedIn was at 14%, and Pinterest? Just 12%.

These numbers are huge clues about where and how people are finding us. But this can not be the only way to track the analytics of Dark Social!

Let’s break down some easy and hands-on tips for tracking Dark Social in 2024:

1.   Google Analytics:

First things first, you can do is sort out your Google Analytics. Separate the direct traffic from your usual URLs. This might not only help you understand Dark funnels for lead generation and enhance your funnel marketing strategy but also spot those difficult-to-track dark social visitors. 

Filter out easy-to-remember URLs like your homepage, /blog, /contact, etc. What remains are likely long, complex URLs that people wouldn’t visit directly – and viola there is your dark traffic.

2.   Take help via Surveys:

Take leverage of UGC by conducting surveys to analyze your B2B dark funnel. All you need to do is simply ask your audience how they found you.

A simple survey question could guide you through navigating those dark social chats.

For example: A simple question like “From where do you hear about us or How do you hear about us?” This method provides direct feedback from customers and helps in identifying which marketing channels are most effective, including those involved in dark social traffic.

3.   Optimizing Social Listening tools:

While it can’t peek into the private messages of your audience by utilizing social listening tools you can still get an idea of what people think about your brand as a whole and understand the dark social networks.

Consider using advanced sentiment analysis to gauge public perception of your brand on social media and forums. This will help you identify trends and topics that resonate with your audience, which can inform your content strategy and marketing efforts.

4.   Dark Social Tracking Tools:

Mapping the change in trend and rise in demand, there are specific tools specially designed to follow the trail of private social shares.

These tools can identify patterns and popular content shared via dark social, providing valuable insights for content and campaign optimization.

5.   Tracking with Link Shorteners:

Ever thought of using Bitly?

Services like these are great for tracking link clicks and understanding sharing habits in dark social networks.

Apart from Bitly, you can use UTM parameters with shortened links. This will accelerate your tracking capabilities, allowing you to see not just where links are shared, but also how they perform in different contexts and channels.

Always make sure to implement these tactics as navigating through a dark tunnel full of beneficial resources. It requires a deep understanding of their limits.

But once you get the hang of it, these tools become incredibly powerful for your company (either B2B or B2C), turning complex data into strategic insights. Thus helping you to have a data-driven customer journey mapping.

It’s 2024 and we are still getting dark traffic influenced based data. It’s time to buckle up and explore quick tips and tricks to for tracking Dark Social in 2024.

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