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Research : Dark Social dominates UK mobile sharing activity / RadiumOne

80% of ‘shared’ content on mobile is viewed via Dark Social

The way Britons share and interact with online content on smartphones is dominated by Dark Social channels according to marketing technology experts, RadiumOne.

Over three-quarters (77%) of publishers’ or marketers’ content shared via mobile phones takes place via private Dark Social channels, such as email, text and instant messaging – versus just 23% via public social networks. When it comes to engaging with shared content, 80% of UK mobile clickbacks happen via Dark Social.

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Furthermore, when looking at Dark Social sharing across all devices, smartphones account for 64% of the times people click on a link shared in Dark Social.

RadiumOne European Managing Director, Rupert Staines, said this latest research around consumer sharing behaviour further challenges brands, content creators and media buyers, to take a broader and more ROI-focused approach to how they think about “the sharing economy”.

“Dark Social is a big piece of the sharing universe. This interest and intent data source is particularly powerful when it comes to mobile, where the majority of interacting with shared content is occurring,” said Staines.

“The opportunity for brands is to track, gather and activate these valuable signals to connect their owned and earned media investments with paid media effectiveness,” he added.

Released today, the new study “The dark side of mobile sharing”, highlights the latest consumer sharing trends globally, regionally and in the specific markets where RadiumOne operates.

The paper raises a few marketing investment disconnects:

  • RadiumOne’s latest figures show that globally, 84% of all sharing is happening outside of public social networks, yet according to eMarketer, over 90% of social and sharing marketing investment is going to public social networks.
  • The 2016 CMO Survey shows marketers currently spend 10% of their budgets on social media and plan to double this to 20% in the next 5 years, yet;
  • 40% of CMOs report a below average contribution from social media to business performance.

And confirms the increasing role of mobile:

  • RadiumOne’s figures show that globally, 82% of mobile sharing is now taking place via Dark Social channels.
  • 67% of all engagement with shared content is happening on mobile devices.
  • 82% of Facebook’s ad revenue, or $4.5billion in Q4 2015, was generated on mobile – which was 80% of the company’s total ad revenue for the quarter

“One of the reasons for this investment disconnect is that until recently, marketers haven’t known how to harness Dark Social sharing behaviour. The many channels and platforms consumers use to share the things that matter to them, and the behaviour around this, is evolving by the day. It’s becoming increasingly complex and harder for brands to keep up with the fast pace of consumers. However, brands can harness sharing technology to allow them to take a channel and platform agnostic approach to keeping up with consumers,” said Staines.

The data sourced in this study comes from an analysis of the aggregate actions of the universe of 940 million users who share and interact with content from sources where RadiumOne’s sharing software is deployed.

View the full report here