Categories: Home Builder SEO, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing for Home Builders, Social Media | Posted: February 26, 2015 | By: Builder Designs
If Facebook marketing isn’t working for you, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re posting every day and nobody is engaging with your content and your website social traffic hasn’t increased dramatically, the problem is likely that you’re:
a) Not posting the right content/message
b) Not investing in paid ads
c) a & b
The key to unlocking the infinite value of social media for your business relies heavily on two things: Good content and making sure people see your good content. For a homebuilder, this largely means photos of your houses.
If you give people something to share that’s worth sharing, they’re going to share it. If it’s not happening directly on Facebook, there’s another way you can check the success of your social media presence: measuring traffic coming from what’s known as “dark social.”
WHAT IS DARK SOCIAL?
Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at the Atlantic, originally coined the term Dark Social to explain social sharing that occurs outside of what Web analytics can measure.
Analytics can’t track referrals from secure sites (anything with https) or off-page links, so:
- Instant messaging
But we know these referrals are happening. We know because we do it ourselves and because Google Analytics does track these users–you just have to do a little bit of hacking to uncover them.
When we unpack all of the direct referral traffic to see which page the user entered the site on, we can tell how many came from dark social shares. Here’s how:
A first-time visitor to the site would not know the URL of any page but the homepage, so we know they didn’t just type it in their browser directly. They clicked on a link in an email or text or instant message that couldn’t be tracked, so analytics lumped these visits in with direct traffic even though they’re social shares.
UNCOVERING DARK SOCIAL
Do we know which social sites contribute to each of these shares? No. But we can see a correlation between active social media marketing and the occurrence of dark social shares.
We ran a test with one of our biggest marketing clients to see the effect that social media advertising has had on their dark social referrals. We compared a 3-month period in 2014 when they were not marketing on Facebook to a 3-month period in 2015 when they have been running ads and posting twice a day. Here’s what we found:
* In 2014 Facebook traffic accounted for 1% of all site traffic. During this time, 28% of their direct traffic was coming from dark social.
* In 2015, Facebook traffic accounted for 13% of all site traffic. During this time, 48% of their direct traffic was coming from dark social.
If you’re not investing in social marketing, you’re missing a huge audience–not just the traffic from Facebook, but the traffic that results from people finding you on Facebook and sharing your links with their friends. Facebook referrals can sometimes account for up to 20-25% of total site traffic. Ask your analytics account holder how much Facebook traffic you’re getting and decide if there’s room for more investment in social marketing.
Read Alexis C. Madrigal’s latest research on the connection between Dark Social and Facebook.