‘Dark Social’ Poses Challenges for Social Media Marketers Looking to Measure ROI

According to new research, “dark social” is dominating sharing activity, which may be hindering marketers’ ability to measure the ROI of their social media efforts.

Dark social is defined as the social sharing of content that happens outside of what can be measured through analytics tools, like email and instant messaging.

The “Dark Side of Mobile Sharing” report from RadiumOne has discovered that 84 percent of global shares are dark. In the U.S. specifically, dark shares account for 79 percent of total shares on social networks.

social media, marketing, ROI

The report also discovered that much of the dark social activity appears to be frequently occurring on mobile devices. For example, 47 percent of clickbacks in the U.S. can be linked to mobile devices. Globally, the majority of clickbacks (67 percent) via dark social occur on mobile devices.

“If you want to connect with audiences, you can’t ignore ‘dark social’ because it’s how your existing customers and prospects are recruiting your future customers,” wrote the authors of the report.

Proving the ROI of Social Media Marketing

Research shows that social media ROI has been a challenge for marketers to prove, but this has not dissuaded them from investing in platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The 2016 CMO Survey revealed that social media spend will account for 20.9 percent of all marketing budgets within the next five years.

About 49 percent of marketers claim that social media’s contribution to their organization’s performance has been “average.”

“The findings show that while social, mobile and analytics spending is on the rise, they’re falling short when it comes to boosting the bottom line,” said Deloitte CMO Diana O’Brien.

“I worked with KoMarketing during my time at Pongo in a variety of roles. At first, they were doing the work for us, but in the end, they trained my growing team on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Their education of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) led to us launching a job search blog, over 30 learning center articles, and a social media campaign. I would not hesitate to recommend the KoMarketing team for any size project you may have.”

— Jodi Coverly, Marketing Manager, Pongo LLC

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