New York Times READ

Warc on the Rise of ‘Dark Social’ and Chat Apps, and What It Means for Marketers

Published by Steve Thomson March 02, 2017

chat apps and dark social warc.jpg

In a recent report, Warc discusses the implications of the growth of chat or messenger apps such as Whatsapp, posing the question: “For brands looking to monitor and advertise their way into social conversations, how should they react?”

Drawing on convincing evidence that these apps are the fastest-growing conversation/sharing channel, Warc is concerned that (in their words) brands may be missing out on ‘dark social’ insights.  Warc commented: “consumers may be more willing to air their true views on private ‘dark social’ platforms than in the public domain. For brands, that means an increasing difficulty to get a full understanding of consumers’ true thoughts on key topics, brands, products and campaigns. Without those insights, marketing opportunities may be passing them by.”

Engagement Labs agrees, of course – hence the development of our TotalSocial data solution, which enables brands to follow conversation across any channel.  We go one step beyond what Warc is discussing, by looking not only at private online messaging services but also all the conversations that take place offline, via word of mouth in the real world. TotalSocial is the world’s only comprehensive system that combines online social media listening data with offline word-of-mouth tracking to provide marketers with a complete view of consumer conversations about their brands. Together these are proven to be important drivers of sales; offline conversation is an even bigger factor than social media, one that is often overlooked by marketers.

Several years ago it seemed that we might get to a tipping point such that online listening would cover enough of the conversation landscape on its own.  We now see that such predictions were premature: people of all ages recognise the value and benefits of private conversation, and are more selective about what they broadcast.

Read the Warc report here.