Dark Social: B2B Marketing’s Secret Weapon


If you’re in the world of B2B marketing, chances are you’ve heard the buzz around dark social. It’s a term used to describe the sharing of content that happens outside of traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Think private messaging apps, email, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

But here’s the thing—because this type of sharing is private, it can be tough for businesses to track and measure the traffic coming from it. That being said, if you’re a B2B marketer, dark social could be your secret weapon. It offers a way to reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website.

So, what do you need to know about dark social? Read on.

For a more detailed definition, head over to our Glossary entry on Dark Social

How does dark social impact your brand?

The shift in communication dynamics means that water cooler talk has transformed into online discussions, making it essential for brands to adapt their strategies. The power of these conversations lies in their ability to influence your audience and connect with them on a deeper level. However, tracking and attributing the impact of these discussions, known as dark social, can be a challenge.

To gain insights into how your audience discovers and engages with your brand, consider asking your customers directly. Engage them in qualitative conversations about their reading habits, their influences, and how they found your brand. Often, you’ll find that their journey was not limited to a single trackable source. Embrace the reality that dark social plays a significant role in driving engagement and trust that these conversations are happening, even if they can’t be fully quantified.

While you can strive to influence dark social through your content and engagement strategies, it’s important to recognize that you can’t control or track it comprehensively. As a marketer, this lack of control and measurement can be unnerving. However, attempting to overcompensate with complex tracking mechanisms may not align with consumer preferences or ethical considerations surrounding data privacy.

Dark social is a fundamental aspect of how people communicate and how prospects make purchasing decisions. Accepting and adapting to this reality is crucial for your brand’s success. By focusing on creating valuable content and engaging with your audience authentically, you can tap into the power of dark social and leverage its influence to connect with your target market effectively.

Seeing Beyond the Visible: Leveraging Customer Insights to Navigate Dark Social

When you focus too much on what you can’t see, you can create a phenomenon known as data delusion. In the context of marketing and brand analysis, data delusion refers to the tendency to rely solely on measurable data and overlook the impact of hidden or untraceable interactions. This is particularly relevant in the era of dark social.

The challenge with dark social is that it directly affects the buyer’s journey of a brand’s customers. People often discover and engage with content through dark social channels, even though it is not visible or trackable through conventional analytics methods. Brands may miss out on valuable insights if they rely solely on traditional tracking mechanisms.

To overcome the limitations of tracking engagement through conventional analytics, it is essential to directly ask customers how they found your brand or content. By soliciting feedback from your audience, you can gain a deeper understanding of the channels they use to discover and engage with your brand. Surveys, interviews, or even incorporating a simple question in your communication channels can help gather this information.

Understanding the impact of dark social and engaging with customers to learn about their discovery journey allows brands to make more informed decisions. By acknowledging the existence and influence of dark social, brands can tailor their marketing strategies and optimize their content for these hidden channels. This approach enables them to reach a wider audience, foster better customer relationships, and ultimately drive better business outcomes.

Cracking the Code of Dark Social: Influencing and Tracking Private Sharing for Marketing Success

One of the intriguing aspects of dark social is that, although you can’t directly control it, you can certainly influence it. By consistently producing valuable and engaging content, you increase the likelihood of your audience sharing your brand’s message through dark social channels. When people find your content useful, interesting, or entertaining, they are more inclined to pass it along to their friends, family, or colleagues via private conversations. This organic sharing contributes to your brand’s share of voice and presence in the minds of your target audience.

Dark social has become an integral part of the modern digital landscape; rather than resisting or ignoring it, it is essential to acknowledge and embrace dark social as a valuable marketing avenue. By tracking dark social, you can gain insights into how your content is being shared and consumed, even if you can’t directly measure it through conventional analytics tools. For example, using tools that can help identify dark social referrals, like shortened URLs or unique tracking codes, can provide valuable data on the sources of dark social traffic, enabling you to better understand how your content spreads through private channels. 

By actively monitoring and tracking dark social, you can gain valuable insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences. This information can inform your B2B content marketing strategy, helping you tailor your messaging to better resonate with your target audience and optimize your marketing efforts.

Ready to learn even MORE about dark social? Read on:


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