By adaptive - November 26th, 2014

With just 19% social sharing occurring on Facebook, understanding and cultivating dark social channels can deliver massive rewards

New research published RadiumOne reveals that 74% of all online sharing activity in the UK takes place via ‘Dark Social’ channels, compared to just 19% via Facebook and 7% on all other social channels combined. 
In addition, 36% of ‘dark social sharing’ globally now takes place via mobile devices, illustrating their increasingly pivotal role in daily shopping and sharing habits.
Dark Social takes place when people copy-and-paste content or links from a website into a private message and selectively share it with their connections. It tends to be directed to friends, family and colleagues. The strong familiarity, trust and frequency of Dark Social connections more than compensates for the “one-to-many” virality of other platforms. Personal, relevant and influential, Dark Social sharing carries much more weight than a Facebook post or a Tweet.
Dark Social Sharing

Moving into the dark

Rupert Staines, MD Europe at RadiumOne said: “Dark Social is simply too big to ignore; sharing in the dark outstrips Facebook and all other social channels combined by three-to-one, yet many brands are currently unable to understand this untapped audience. Acting on Dark Social presents a huge opportunity for brands to improve their ROI from their social media and digital marketing investments.”
Key UK findings from the study include:
  • 91% of UK consumers regularly use Dark Social channels alongside social channels when sharing information online (93% globally).
  • 26% only share in the dark, meaning brands with no Dark Social strategy in place know nothing about a quarter of UK consumers online – this rises to almost a third globally (32%).
  • The topics discussed most often via Dark Social channels are typically more one-to-one in nature such as Property (89%), Careers (87%) and Personal Finance (83%).
  • Conversely, the topics most discussed via social channels are more one-to-many such as Pets (81%), Family & Parenting (54%) and Society (43%)
Staines continues: “Brands need to quickly get a grip on what is relevant to their online audience in real-time. By using smart tools that protect data from being sold or used by competitors, brands can gather and activate known engagement with their content in real-time, across all channels. This will help brands discover and protect their audience whilst importantly finding new customers.”
Dark Social generates high volumes of valuable real-time data – which can then be segmented and activated at the exact time when the consumer is showing genuine interest and intent.  
The research includes a series of case studies highlighting how RadiumOne helps marketers and publishers reach and convert new audiences with its data sharing tools, integrated data management and advertising platform, and the globally patented ShareGraph technology.
Among consumers who share, the majority include Dark Social among their channels for sharing
Dark Social Sharing can have a massive impact on how corporate marketing messages will be shared. Worldwide, Dark Social sharing is three times the size of Facebook sharing. The size of Dark Social compared to Facebook ranges from twice the size in North America to over seven times the size in France.
What is clear for all corporations and their key brands is that their focus on light social sharing has a value, but there is a whole new stratum of potential levels of engagement across dark social. Those brands that can factor dark social into their marketing campaigns will be able to make much deeper and longer lasting commercial relationships with their customers.

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