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April 2022

‘Dark Data,’ And The ‘Dark Social’ Conundrum

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In a tech-driven world, where data can quite literally mean the difference between failure or success, failing (or being unable) to track your users can be an entrepreneur’s worst nightmare.

Here’s how ‘dark data,’ and ‘dark social’ works in practice:

Customers could be talking about your business on WhatsApp, and you haven’t tracked it.
Customers could be discussing your business on social media, and you haven’t tracked it.
Due to Google’s recent rollout, if you’re using Google Analytics and a user doesn’t click the ‘accept cookie policy’ button on your website, Google won’t track it.
Customers could be discussing your business via email, instant messenger, and text message, and… you haven’t tracked it.

The reason this happens is because some platforms are encrypted. Also, if you haven’t set up a UTM tag or a tracking link, most analytics platforms are unable to determine the real referral source.

The Solution?

If your readers want to post your content on social networks where the space is limited (such as on Twitter for instance), shorter links will save your readers some characters.

Twitter has a special “t.co” URL shortener, which means that Twitter referrals are easily trackable. In your Twitter Analytics dashboard, there is a handy “Link Click” report that shows how many times a link was clicked from your tweet.

Most analytics platforms (Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture, and Chartbeat, for instance) have a section in their reports called “direct,” which counts the apps that visitors use to click on links “direct to a site,” including Facebook, Reddit, Gmail, and Instant Messaging apps.

Another great idea is to make it easier for your users to share your content on dark social platforms. Consider adding share buttons for WhatsApp, email, and text to your website. This’ll put you back in the driver’s seat.

Also, with the right analytics and social media monitoring set-up, it’ll become easier for you to track your dark social activity, so be sure to invest some time and resources into getting this set up.

By George Taylor April 2022

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