Dark social: Why measuring user engagement is even harder than you think
Interesting take; At least half of your social presence is “dark,” which means that you can’t really quantify it. THey say the only solution is to keep creating engaging content. Personally, I do social media because of the messages I want to put out there, not to build my Klout score… Just do what you like and the people will come to see it!
Originally posted on Gigaom:
If you’ve spent any time in a newsroom, traditional or otherwise, you know that publishers are obsessed with measuring where their web traffic comes from. Whether it’s Google Analytics or Chartbeat or comScore or Omniture, or any one of a dozen other providers, tracking where readers come from is a crucial part of online media — mostly because publishers need to know which channels are worth focusing on, since there are so many to choose from. Is Twitter your biggest source? Then you should tweet more, and optimize your content for Twitter. Is Facebook a big referrer of traffic? Then you need to be aware of changes to the newsfeed and how they affect you.
But what if your biggest source of traffic and readers is something you aren’t even really paying attention to, and something that is extremely hard to track in the same way as Google or Twitter or Facebook? That’s the reality of web publishing today, according to Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic — who writes about the influence of what he calls “dark social” on engagement and traffic patterns. While everyone is busy watching Twitter and Facebook because they are easy to track, Madrigal argues that most social traffic still comes from old-fashioned or difficult-to-track sources like email and chat messages:
“This vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs. I call it DARK SOCIAL. It shows up variously in programs as “direct” or “typed/bookmarked” traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in http://www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that’s not actually what’s happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone Gchatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.”