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Glossary keyword - Dark Social

Dark Social

Dark social refers to social shares that have no digital reference. That is why web analytics cannot measure the source of information shared in this way. Dark social mainly happens when a user sends any link to another one through private means of sharing. 

How it works

Dark social or dark traffic is a result of sharing a link through emails, online chats, IRC channels, or SMS. While it is one of the significant problems of social media marketing to control the quality of content, it is mainly used in online advertising. 

Usually, when a user clicks any links to websites from social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, digital referral information will seem for web analytics platforms. However, most users share links via direct messaging applications such as WhatsApp, or emails. It is impossible to know what the source of the information is. 

Dark social works so easily and accidentally thanks to users. For example, a user sees an interesting video on a website and sends its link to friends just by copy-pasting via WhatsApp. That is why web analytics call dark social or dark traffic. 

Why and where it happens

First of all, some web and social channels are responsible for dark social. There are four main such channels: SMS, messaging services, social media platforms, and secure browsing. While sharing any link via emails or SMS, it impossible to leak reference of a source. Messaging services and social media platforms almost work similarly. However, securing browsing protects the referrer when a user clicks a link from HTTP or HTTPS

Dark social happens because of some psychological reasons. The existence of individualism in dark social allows users to use such kind of private sharing. It helps users to choose where and what to share in a short time. 

Another reason is that people want to build personal relationships with others regardless of distant cultures. 

Dark social also provides a chance for users to feel joyful and beneficial. In this case, people consider themselves helpful for others by sharing a link that seems unusual for both of them. 

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