Stats And Risks Of Dark Social Traffic And Its Effect On Website

Mayanka Pant
Mar 06, 2020

When it comes to social media traffic, you must be aware of dark social traffic. This type of traffic can have a significant effect on your site and its performance. Though not demonic in any way and less sinister, this can be troublesome to the social media managers. Dark social traffic refers to social sharing by people that you cannot track accurately. This is because this traffic is not picked up by the different web analytics platforms.


In theory, the web analytics platform will tell you the source of the referral when somebody clicks on a link to your site from any open social platform such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter or
  • LinkedIn

However, it will fail to do so if people share their links through private messaging apps. These apps include:

  • WhatsApp and
  • Snapchat

It will fail even if they continue to share the links through platforms like email or SMS.

Millions of people follow this practice today to send a lot of traffic to the publishers. However, these links lack referral tags, and therefore when someone who receives these links clicks on it, their visit will be shown as ‘direct’ traffic. This is pretty unfair because these are in no way direct traffic. Therefore, there is no way you can tell the difference using analytics because it comes from untraceable referrals.

Finding such traffic

Customer satisfaction

It is essential to see your dark social traffic as well as your followers for Instagram but when you use a traffic tracking tool like Google Analytics, you will inevitably be thrown off by the substantial relative amount of direct traffic to your site.

Ideally, this will indicate that all these visitors have typed your URL into a toolbar or have clicked on a bookmarked link. Practically, it is hard to believe that all visitors to your home page have typed those specific URLs into the toolbar. It is, therefore, time to guess that a part of this traffic stems from dark social.

It is, therefore, vital to find dark social content. There are a few good reasons for it.

  • This will prove to be useful in gathering data about your content that the users find most valuable.
  • When a link is copied and pasted directly by a person or group of people who find your content useful, it means that the content and the subject are pre-approved by other people as valuable, exciting, or even very funny.

However, if the link is clicked on any open social platform, it will mean that the bar of the link to click is minimal. It will also indicate that the engagement that follows is deeper already. The primary reason for this is that the content is personally suggested by someone known to the reader. This proves that the content is golden, and you should keep on providing it.

Measuring traffic from dark social

Tracking dark social traffic seems to be elusive. However, you can configure Google Analytics to see likely dark social traffic. Such configuration in the analytics is required because you will not find a report termed as ‘Dark social traffic.’ irrespective of the fact that the tool is powerful and have a lot of potentials.

To work around the dark social traffic data, here is what you should do to configure Google Analytics.

  • First, go to the Audience and Overview in Google Analytics website data view and click on the Add the Segment option located on the right.
  • Select Direct Traffic from the list of segment options and deselect other segment options to ensure you have only the Direct Traffic segment. Scroll down to click on Apply.
  • You can narrow down the traffic even further to find the most likely dark social destinations by going to Behavior, Site Content, and All Pages.
  • You will then get a list of all of the web pages that may have been accessed through direct traffic. Filter out those from the list that is easy to remember to type manually into the search bar.

If you want to create a new filter, click on the Advanced link on the right. The first filter will appear as default, where you can include a page. If you want to change Include to Exclude in the drop-down menu list, select Page as its dimension and then type the directory of one of the simpler web pages in the field at the end of the row.

Use proper tracking tools

If you are confused about the whole thing, then you can use one of the several tools available that will help you to track dark social content sharing. These tools will also help you to manage your account properly to avoid dark social sharing.

Some of the most popular tools that you can use include:

  • Get Social: This tool will help you in dark social tracking and also provide you with dark social analytics. You can track all shares, including those through private messaging channels, when you use this tool.
  • This tool will provide social sharing buttons as well that you can add to your site so that you can then track all the shares made by using these buttons. You can also, use it to shorten the URL and follow it.
  • Add This: This is a tool that is much similar to Get Social, providing you with social sharing buttons as well as a code to track them.

All you need to do is create an account, download the code, app, and plugin, apply the code to the site and start tracking the shares.


People will always continue to share things privately, finding one way or the other. Even if they do not intentionally always, sometimes they do a quick copy-and-paste from a site browser into a text message. This seems to be the easiest and best choice, but it puts businesses in the dark, often to the extent of 70 to 80%.

However, there is no need for you to be in the dark as these tools will help you to decipher your traffic and analyze it. Mtoag is an mobile app development company with a proficient team of Android and iOS app developers . Get in touch with us for mobile app development.

Related Posts