Dark social is a term that is used by SEO experts and marketing specialists to describe the website referrals that are challenging to record and track. The reason why it is called dark social is that unlike the analytics that you are tracking, this type of referral does not have a specific source. Distinct from regular website referrals (which are tracked by directly typing a full URL into the search bar or clicking on a bookmark), dark social traffic comes from people sharing site links through email, text message and private chats through apps like WhatsApp or Slack. While dark social is incredibly difficult to track, the fact is that the majority of shared content is coming from dark social channels, so it is imperative that you make an effort to analyze it. All of these reasons culminate into why your business needs to be tracking dark social.
While it is difficult to track, there are ways you can get a handle on your website’s dark social. One of the simplest ways is to utilize a dark social calculator. These calculators pull data directly from your Google Analytics account which assess how much dark social traffic you really have. You can also do a quick audit on your direct traffic, while filtering the data that will ignore traffic to your main landing page. This will allow you to discover how much of your “direct traffic” was actually misattributed and is really coming from dark social. Both of these methods will certainly aid your company in figuring out your dark social traffic – you can then use that data to figure out how to plan your future marketing strategies with dark social in mind.
The world of website analytics is an incredibly difficult and complex one to manage. Understanding what dark social can do you for business (it can either help or hurt it, depending on how you react) can open up possibilities for your company to garner even more business. Learning about what dark social is, how you can track it, and what you need to is imperative in running a company with an online presence. Tracking analytical data is always important, and managing your dark social is just another facet of marketing that you need to be in control of in order to turn your company into even greater success.