Dark social refers to online social interactions that cannot be measured by analytics tools or indexed by search engines. These include:

  • Personal conversations
  • Direct messages
  • Email
  • Messenger apps
  • Closed online groups / communities

In short, all social interactions that take place out of corporate sight. Think of sharing a link or content via WhatsApp, Slack, Discord or a closed LinkedIn group.

Why is Dark Social so Important For B2B Marketing?

Dark social plays a crucial role in the B2B buyer’s journey:

1. Many Buying Decisions are Made in Dark Social

As much as 57% of the decision process takes place before buyers issue an intent signal. This happens mainly in dark social channels where buyers exchange information with peers.

2. Dark Social Influences the Perception of Your Company

What is said about your company in dark social can have a big impact on the decision of potential customers. Positive word of mouth increases the likelihood that buyers will choose you.

3. Dark Social Offers Valuable Marketing Insights

Studying dark social gives you insight into the needs and concerns of your target audience. This allows you to better tailor your marketing and products accordingly.

Best Practices to Create Demand Through Dark Social

Some best practices for demand generation via dark social:

  • Create valuable content that informs potential customers about industry changes and topics they are truly interested in. This gives people a reason to share your content in their private channels. 
  • Participate in online discussions and communities as an active member rather than openly promoting your product. This builds recognition and trust.
  • Customize ads and landing pages for traffic from private social apps to provide the most compelling information to drive click-throughs and conversions.
  • Focus on share of voice by creating shareable content rather than trying to control or follow dark social. Ask customers what content they consume and share on which channels to gain qualitative insights.

Valuable content, authentic engagement and optimization on dark social platforms are key to successfully driving demand through dark social. The goal is to encourage organic amplification and word of mouth rather than overt promotion or tracking.

Also read: what is zero-click content.

Questions About Dark Social

Is dark social the same as word of mouth?

Dark social is word-of-mouth advertising through online channels that occurs widely but cannot be tracked such as social media platforms, video sites and communities. So it goes beyond direct face-to-face conversations.

Can’t you measure dark social?

Yes, you can measure it through customer interviews, for example, and by seeing which online channels drive traffic to your site. You just can’t rely on analytics software.


Dark social is an indispensable part of the B2B buyer’s journey. By capitalizing on it with the right content and products, you can significantly improve your marketing results.