The PR BlogDigital PRMonitoring, Algorithms & SEODark Social: The Online Interaction We Can’t See

Dark Social: The Online Interaction We Can’t See

How can we measure what we can’t see?

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Dark social is an essen­tial shar­ing factor — but it’s hidden.

Alexis Madrigal, a seni­or edit­or at The Atlantic, coined what might prove to be a very much-dis­cussed term amongst social media nat­ur­als for some time to come:

Behold the dark social of online sharing:

We Can’t Measure Dark Social

Dark Social

We’re impressed with the shar­ing num­bers from vari­ous social net­works, includ­ing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

But how much is socially shared bey­ond meas­ure, bey­ond what we can see? How much is shared via email, instant mes­sages and dir­ect mes­sages? How much is shared on darknets, BBS net­works and untrace­able forums? 

According to Alexis Madrigal, seni­or edit­or at The Atlantic, quite a lot.

Dark Social Diagram
Most of the shar­ing takes place on dark social.

Here’s a tl;dr sum­mary of dark social from The Atlantic:

1. The shar­ing you see on sites like Facebook and Twitter is the tip of the ‘social’ ice­berg. We are impressed by its scale because it’s easy to meas­ure.

2. But most shar­ing is done via dark social means like email and IM that are dif­fi­cult to meas­ure.

3. According to new data on many media sites, 69% of social refer­rals came from dark social. 20% came from Facebook.

4. Facebook and Twitter do shift the paradigm from private shar­ing to open pub­lish­ing. They struc­ture, archive, and mon­et­ize your publications.”

When cal­cu­lat­ing reach num­bers for your PR cam­paigns, are you tak­ing dark social into account? 

Read also: Dark Social: The Online Interaction We Can’t See

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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