In the last week we’ve heard a lot of chatter about “dark social” after Alexis Madrigal posted his article “Dark Social: We have the whole history of the web wrong”. Chartbeat identifies this type of traffic as “direct social” referring to content shared via IM, email and apps versus direct traffic from search. And Buzzfeed took a look at their site traffic and produced a great post indicating “There’s less dark social than meets the eye”.
The discussions around dark social this week are a clear indicator of the importance of customer lifetime value and the curation of great content. A consumer decides to share a link to an article or a product because it provides direct value to them or to someone in their network of friends. If we only rely on tracking the share itself we lose the inherent value of all the activity surrounding that piece of data. Use the power of data to build lasting relationships with people. While it important to know the amount of views or clicks a product page or email campaign generated, make sure you put that information to good use and generate relevant content for your individual customers so they stay engaged!
There are steps you can take right now to turn that “dark traffic” into shiny bright actionable data.
Tips for engaging your customers with dark social
1. Produce valuable quality content or products that people want to talk about.
Seems like a no-brainer right? If you’re focusing your efforts on continually making your customers happy by providing them with value, they’re going to tell other people. It’s an age old rule and it’s still relevant.
2. When they arrive, make them welcome and encourage them to come back.
People that arrive at your site should be made welcome. Try not to bombard them immediately with pop ups, pop unders and for email subscriptions. Make it easy for them to come back or stay engaged. Offer a clear way for them to subscribe to an email newsletter. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account make it easy for users to ‘Like’ your page and follow you.
Pop unders/overs for email subscriptions have proven to be highly effective at conversion but give your visitors some time to read the page. Trigger these calls-to-action when content has been read, or after about 20 seconds, to make it easy for readers to disable the pop out for a short period if they do not want to see it again.
3. Use personalization, make it relevant
If you have the tools to serve personalized data based on user interests, or previous visits do it. Not doing that already? *ahem* We can help you, let’s chat. ;-)
The more relevant the content to an individual, the more likely they are to take a step to engage further by subscribing to a newsletter or following your social media presence.
4. Respect your customers
Seems like another no-brainer right? If an anonymous or “dark social” visit converts to a newsletter signup, don’t bombard the subscriber with too much, too soon. Respect their inbox, send timely relevant information. We can make that easy for you, but even if you’re not a customer there are still ways to segment your lists to do this…of course we think it’ll be much harder for you, but advice is advice.
5. Think lifetime value, not quick win
Quick wins can be good for numbers, but don’t forget to put significant effort on delighting your existing customers with great service and products, they are special. Acquisition is harder and more costly than retention.
Dark social is an important subject, don’t ignore it, but don’t forget the most important thing. Serve your customers, respect your customers and provide them value every way you can.
Renato D’Ettorre Architects
‘Tis the season. Nope, not Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.
I’m talking about the informational interview-palooza which tends to occur when college and graduate students look up from their books and realize that graduation is a few short months away and the moment to find a job - no, a career - is upon them.
It is around this high-stress time of year that I find myself sipping a soy latte across from some anxiety-ridden senior, second-year, whomever from a top university who will no doubt be my manager some day.
And I do not fail to disappoint.
Question: “Should I work at a big company or a small one?”
Answer: “Wherever you’ll get the best training, and manager, and opportunities.” Question: “Should I work for a nonprofit, private sector, or government entity?”
Answer: ”Wherever you’ll get the best training, and manager, and opportunities.”
I feel validated, today, since I just read this excerpt from NYTimes interview with Brown University president Ruth Simmons: “I worked for someone who did not support me. And it was a very painful experience.”
Having worked for someone whose influence vastly exceeded her competence, I can say that no matter how thrilling the job, golden the opportunity, great the organization, and plucky the employee, he/she will likely fail under a poor manager. I will not get into the myriad ways that managers undermine even their best employees.
But I can tell you that even if you do your homework, ask your interviewer tough questions about manager quality, and all that, and you still find yourself reporting to someone who is condescending, fearful (they are often the most dangerous), dull, etc. you should chart a course out.
Seek a change of scenery STAT:
1) Ask around for other opportunities in the company ASAP - feel this one out since such a move may anger your manager. If you are fearful, ask HR about helping you navigate a transfer. Be diplomatic during this process.
2) If you cannot move laterally, give yourself three months *at most* to find a new role, new position, etc. Keep yourself sane by allowing yourself a bit of time off, but don’t underperform. Be mindful that you note in interviews that you did not feel that you were being offered the kind of experiences you had signed on for, and keep it at that.
3) Do not be honest and open with your manager unless you truly believe that doing so will improve your lot. Most often it will only make things worse for you. Honesty, when it comes to egos (particularly, your superior’s), is not the best policy. It is not your job to point out her failures, and it will probably fall on deaf ears. Many will disagree with this point, but I have never seen a bad manager-employee relationship effectively turned around by HR.
4) If being fired is a risk (note: it doesn’t take much to push someone out), preempt and leave on as good a foot as you can. The alternative is forcing his/her hand, which takes longer and can bring greater angst. Be careful to not overplay your hand if you are taking the nuclear option since the timing may not be what you planned for.
Now go forth and conquer, you brilliant soon-to-be-grads.
Jason Davies created this lovely interactive method for visualizing prime numbers, Prime Number Patterns. As a companion to El patron de los numeros primos by Omar E. Pol, the piece very elegantly allows you to explore the prime numbers as well as their relationships to other numbers. By scrolling in any direction, you can pan through the numbers and zoom in and out to see the patterns more clearly.
When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.
Steve Jobs (Source)
Agree with this 100%
This is why I laugh every time someone mentions “the liberal media.” Entertainment is one of the mirrors of our society - it gives us what we actually want, not what we say we want. Think of it in terms of your Netflix queue versus your Netflix “recently watched” - one is what you say you want, the other is what you actually do. They exist because you pay attention, even with a thousand other channels and a hundred thousand other distractions. And it’s not just the networks either, it’s any and all form of entertainment - TV, film, online, video games, etc. It’s not their fault - their job is just trying to figure out what you’re going to like this season. If you don’t like what’s on, stop watching shit.
The other reason I laugh is because multi-billion dollar, multinational, corporate conglomerates (of which at least one is owned by a prominent weapons manufacturer) rarely come in “liberal,” but that’s a topic for another day.
Labyrinth, 9” x 12”
It never gets any easier. You just get better. Make it happen - Nike