Consumers are sharing the vast majority of content through private channels such as messaging apps and email rather than social platforms, according to a new study by the Drum Network. The data suggests that marketers may have an analytics blind spot, which could undermine their ability to review campaigns effectively.
Brands generally use reader engagement as the primary metric for measuring how content performs across the Web, but it is also useful for enterprises to understand sharing habits and exactly how people are discovering the written articles and creative videos that they consume online.
The Drum Network decided to test the sharing method of copying and pasting article URLs, as traditional analytics software focuses on social methods. The results are surprising, as nearly 87 per cent of all shares are made by people using the address bar to paste information to “dark social,” where website referrals are difficult to track.
These dark channels are not illegal but are private channels such as mobile apps WhatsApp and Slack, Facebook messenger, direct messages on Twitter and LinkedIn, and email. The address bar is the most popular sharing method by a wide margin. Twitter has the second-most referrals with just 6.38 per cent, ahead of email (2.74 per cent), Facebook (1.52 per cent), Pinterest (1.52 per cent) and LinkedIn (0.91 per cent).
The disparity between point-to-point methods and social for sharing indicates that brands may be unable to determine the real impact of their content. The Drum Network noted that social buttons may provide higher levels of intent, but analysing private address bar sharing could identify the marketing messages that people are distributing and that are sparking the imagination of the general public.
PensionBee’s Vice President of Marketing, Jasper Martens, said: “We use Amigo to track address bar shares to understand what content triggers engagement and drives customer sign up. It has helped us to shape our content strategy and identify audiences that are most likely to engage with our content.”
He added: “In terms of share button shares, I was surprised to find out that WhatsApp was the most frequently used channel for sharing blog content. Today, most of our content is aimed at reaching key audiences that will share PensionBee articles on their phones with their friends.”