So recently I’ve been getting a little annoyed with the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ that seems to be appearing and cluttering my Facebook wall or Twitter feed. You know the stuff, right? The sponsored ads, the suggested friends and recent tweets about things you really just don’t care about!
Based on my likes and recent viewing habits, Facebook seems to be suggesting a variety of related activity. Although these things are interesting and I would, most probably, go searching for these things on Google anyway … I am just not interested in the items at that particular moment. Surely the idea of these platforms are to connect me to things that I care passionately about?
According to research by WARC (2016), despite making content easy to publish on a variety of social media platforms, more than 77% is shared on “dark social”, with just 23% being shared on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
‘Dark Social’? Well, this is where you share content in a private way. For example, it could be a direct message on Twitter or a chat on WhatsApp.
So why is this?
Well, a user may actually show their true feelings and thoughts on particular topics through a private or protected message. Maybe we don’t want to share our every movements, of every day with everyone! Maybe we are starting to realise the importance of digital privacy or maybe we just have a particular image that we want to display which may force a share to be made privately.
So what are the threats of ‘dark social’?
Well, we are constantly being monitored, trends tracked and suggestions made based on our clicks. However, the use of dark social to share movie content, in a private manner, makes it difficult for the distribution companies and industry analysts to monitor activity and gain a holistic understanding.
“The UK figures for dark social sharing were slightly below the global average of 82%, although more UK users were likely to engage with content shared this way: fully 80% of UK mobile clickbacks happen via dark social, compared to 67% globally.”
So how hard is this to do for a user? Well, a screenshot below shows me sharing the trailer for the film “Wonder”. (Notice the #WonderTheMovie hashtag link to my last post). Although not the first option for sharing, it’s pretty straight forward. I’m sure the admin team of “Wonder” get the number of shares made – either publically or privately, but would this be the same for other platforms such as Snapchat or WhatsApp? I guess not.
But is there an opportunity here?
Well, WeChat (China social messaging app) gives us an insight for the future. Not only is this a social chat app but also a lifestyle hub that acts as an e-commerce platform. This enables users to also book tickets, book tables at restaurants and hail a taxi. Here, WeChat not only connects you to your friends but also to businesses too. Here, distribution companies can learn something from this approach in how to connect to it’s audiences.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve become a little blind to a large amount of Facebook posts that are made. However if they are shared privately to me, I am more than likely to pay attention, read and digest. If the shared post has a conversational element to it then I am more than likely to pay attention and read the share.
Categorised in: Research
This post was written by noxford