Every once in a while we come across the term “Dark Social” but it almost seems to be a secret what that actually means.

  • Does it have something to do with the “Dark Web” we hear about in movies and TV shows?
  • Is it something bad or shady?

Social Media people don’t like to talk about dark social very much and you’ll understand why after reading this post.

Alexis C. Madrigal from The Atlantic coined the term when he described the content that gets shared privately. Content that is shared via email or chat apps like Skype or WhatApp.

So when you send someone a link to this blog post in a message or by email, it is dark social.

Why is dark social significant?

One of the cool things about social sharing is that we can see how often a piece of content was shared on what platform. We know what type of content resonated with our audience and what didn’t. That’s where we Social Media people get confused – we teach you to look at your analytics to see what your audience likes. But dark social can’t be measured!

Is the amount of content shared this way significant?

Digiday.com quotes a report by the analytics tool RadiumOne that says that 82% of mobile sharing is done via dark social. That means that our content actually gets shared more often silently than openly.

[clickToTweet tweet=”According to @RadiumOne 82% of mobile sharing is done in #DarkSocial” quote=”According to @RadiumOne 82% of mobile sharing is done in dark social”]

What should we do about dark social?

I have a few ideas about this. And I would love to hear if you have more!

  1. As you know I’m a big proponent of social share buttons. They make it easier for you to share my content and encourage you to do so. As soon as I learned about dark social, I added buttons to encourage the use of email. Because my aim is that as many people benefit from my content.
  2. We can embrace dark social and start encouraging our readers to share our content by email or whatever means are most comfortable for them.


Dark social is not as scary as it sounds.

If you feel relieved now, please share this post with your friends – you are welcome to use the email button :-).


Published by Frithjof

Digital media strategist, coach, community manager and CEO of BlueBird Business Consulting. Blogger, podcaster, content creator and teacher with a passion. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis

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