This post summarizes Tracking Dark Social, a presentation given for the New Adult Committee of the Reference and Adult Services Division of the Suffolk County Library Association, a section of the New York Library Association.
Tracking our marketing successes on Dark Social are difficult, because they are inherently private spaces. Still we need gauge whether our marketing efforts are worth it.
What is Dark Social?
Dark Social are services such as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsAPP or classic SMS which are generally considered a private space. Most of these apps are messaging services, but they a close forum or Facebook group can also be an example of Dark Social.
Who uses Dark Social?
- WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger combine for more than 60 billion messages sent every day
- 15,220,700 texts sent every day
- 81% of Americans Text Regularly
- 26% of people 18-24 use messaging Apps for news
- Items posted on facebook or twitter often end up getting shared via dark social
Why should we use it for marketing?
People like receiving text messages for personal reminders. They also like two-way text communication, especially about appointments and concerns they have. In addition, by taking small steps we can see how our “broadcast” posts spread in Dark Social in a way that is not overly invasive.
We can do this by using short links, affiliate management programs, publicly available event managers like Eventbrite. If we use a specific short link for a specific service, then we can track the spread of that message sent through that service.
For example, let's say we make a link for this post that will only be shared on Snapchat. Then we send it out to 200 people, and that snap is opened 25 times. However the link shows it was clicked on 24 times, and one of the referring URL as Facebook. Then we know it was opened and shared.
A copy of my slides, including the data sources for this presentation can be found here.