Dark Social

this marketing so important that you don’t see

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When Elliot Boucher, co-founder of Edusign, contacted me this summer to talk about the Dark Social, I thought he wanted to tell me about a new episode of Star Wars, even if the character in question is called Darth Vader and not Darth Vader. Then he explained to me what it was all about and I learned something. Here is a new term that will allow you, in this new school year that we wish you good luck, to shine in society.

Dark Social: this marketing that we do not see

social dark
Seeing what is happening in marketing that is hard to track: this is the essence of a real content strategy according to Elliot Boucher
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Dark social therefore has nothing to do with the well-known interstellar epic.

Dark social is what happens in marketing and is difficult to track. That’s what we don’t see

This is what Eliott explained to me in the podcast associated with this post.

social dark
This marketing so important that you do not yet see!

A precise definition of this phenomenon

Our colleague Bertrand Bathelot, in his famous website Definition Marketing, provides us with some useful details:

The term “dark social” was popularized by American journalist Alexis C. Madrigal as part of his work for The Atlantic newspaper. Dark social consists of recommendations of internet content that are not made publicly on social networks. These recommendations can be considered obscure because on the one hand they are not visible on social media, and on the other hand, they are not always visible or “tracked” by the content publisher who benefits from them.

The Dark Social under the microscope

social dark
Elliot Boucher, founder of Edusign and author of the training/innovation podcast

Dark social is therefore represented by everything that makes up the value chain outside of what we offer as marketers, continues Elliot:

  • an exchange on a Facebook group,
  • a WhatsApp conversation,
  • a LinkedIn message,
  • an email,
  • and all those things that you can’t track down that are very important.

Finally, the exchanges that we see on social media, which are emerging and therefore visible exchanges, are just the tip of the iceberg he tells us.

An impression that we already had intuitively, and which motivated our course on word-of-mouth marketing [vismktg.info/cours]

Dark social reminds us that we should not optimize our content only for visible metrics

This concept of Dark social is less innocuous than it seems. Somehow, it is even the foundation of (good) content marketing.

A concept that is not trivial according to Elliot Boucher

Optimizing your content only to generate leads makes you miss out on Dark Social and its enormous impact

As a result, according to Elliot:

You have to transform your measurements and stop optimizing your content for “vanity metrics” [NDLR: des chiffres destinés à faire plaisir à celui qui les lit]

A content strategy should not seek an immediate and direct impact on sales

You also have to be careful, Elliot tells us, to create content not to absolutely get the person’s email, but create good content in order to have a big impact on dark social.

Finally, this “dark social”, you might think it’s just the good old word of mouth, but Elliot corrected me on this point.

Too many measures kills the measure

We cannot directly measure the dark social explains Elliot. You can’t advertise on the person’s WhatsApp, or measure the conversation between two people, for example.

On the other hand, when the person comes to us, we can ask him how he heard about us

That would have pleased Andy Sernovitz.

Add to this that Elliot warns us against the famous attribution to the last click which has made the cabbage fat of Google.

Beware of the famous phrase: “I saw you on Google” Elliot warns us because “in fact there were 50 steps before”.

A wise advice that would please François Deltour who fought against this last click.

Because there are many sources of information, explains the start-upper:

There is the newsletter, the podcast. In marketing, it takes five or seven touchpoints on average for the person to convert. You have to go from an attribution model to last click or first click, to see what happened in the middle, because that’s where it’s happening

The Dark Social is not the Dark Web

We’re not talking about the dark web here, it’s not something dark, bad. It’s just something you don’t see. We could call it “invisible social”, it would come to the same thing, explains Elliot.

Dark social is not word of mouth

The word of mouth deals with people you know, he explains, while dark social can be practiced with strangers.

We can interact on a post from someone who has not interacted directly with us. We have no impact on this post as marketers and cannot track it, says Elliot.

Tips for B2B marketers to conduct a good content strategy from this angle

Elliot gave us his three tips for successfully implementing a content strategy based on Dark Social:

  1. Switch from one mode allocation based on the lead generation to demand generation and therefore make sure to measure the right things;
  2. Make good content for himselfand not optimizing its content for lead generation;
  3. Understand the dark social phenomenon and make sure to measure all actions globallyand not just the actions we take on things that can be “tracked”.

Armed with these tips, all you have to do is work on your Dark social.

Elliot Boucher’s Podcast: Training Innovationcan be found on all the good platforms including Spotify, Apple and Android.

Yann Gourvennec
Latest articles by Yann Gourvennec (see everything)

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