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What is Dark Social Traffic?

There is a new concept rolling around social media circles these days called “dark social traffic”. Sure, it sounds ominous, but it’s not as sinister as it seems.

Dark social traffic refers to the kind of sharing of content that happens in Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, and emails. We’ve all done it. Maybe you see a sweater you like, but you’re not sure if it’ll look good on you. You cut and paste the link to URL where the sweater is being sold to get your sister’s thoughts. You’ve just engaged in dark social traffic.

Sharing, in this behind this scenes way, is much different from posting a link on your Facebook page or on Twitter, as the traffic is more difficult to track. Often, instead of using a “share” button, users will just copy & paste a URL for ease which doesn’t allow the website to see how their content was shared.

There are some businesses that are trying to leverage dark social to their benefit by creating targeted ads to bring leads into Facebook Messenger or Twitter DMs. And other businesses are using dark social to address customer concerns, issues, and questions in a more intimate space.

What’s most fascinating is that this concept has even caught Google off guard as they scramble to sort out the way to gather analytics around dark social traffic. At this time, you can configure Google Analytics to show likely dark social traffic, but the information is elusive and not a true representation of the traffic happening out there.

If you’re analyzing the information that Google Analytics is telling you about your website traffic and engagement, remember that there may be more going on than meets the eye.

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