Unlike 'open' social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit, 'dark' social platforms do not provide any data to third party platforms (like us) relating to how content is being shared, viewed, or engaged with within their walls.

Copying a link and pasting it into WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack or even email counts as a dark social share. Research shows that these and many other dark social platforms account for a vast majority of sharing activity. 

That means the public view of a story is only the tip of the iceberg.

So, given the scale of activity taking place within these channels, how does one attempt to measure it?

Well, there is no direct way of doing so, but that doesn't mean that it cannot be inferred from other, related data.

GetSocial is a platform that is able to detect dark social traffic. The team at GetSocial kindly shared approximately 180m open and dark social data points with us, from which we were able to create an algorithm that provides an estimate of dark social activity based on (accurate) open social data.

Dark Social Shares: This is an estimate of how many times online coverage has been shared within dark social channels.

Dark Social Views: This is an estimate of how many times online coverage has been seen within dark social channels.

Want to learn more about dark social? Download our free Primer from over on Releasd: 'What every PR needs to know about Dark Social'.