A study by GlobalWebIndex and We Are Social has spotlighted the growing popularity of 'dark' social apps.
The study surveyed more than 3,000 adult internet users across the US and Britain and showed that 63 per cent of people prefer to share content in 'dark' messaging apps
In this context, dark simply means 'private' - apps where users can send personal messages, photos and videos rather than sharing them into a feed, such as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Messenger is the more widely used app, with 82 per cent of content shared through it. WhatsApp was marked at 56 per cent and both Instagram and Snapchat had 34 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.
Behind closed apps
“This shift in consumer behaviour underlines how much marketing now comes through social media, and specifically dark social," We Are Social Research and insight director André van Loon said.
Brands can have a big above the line push, but when it comes to consumers actually talking about the brands they like, the things they want to do or buy, and following others’ recommendations, more and more of that now happens in private apps and by sharing links.
Increasingly, marketers will need to be sure to target and optimise their content so that heavy-lifting ATL awareness campaigns run at the same time as easy-to-share digital content, which consumers will then be free to use and discuss in their own time.”
The rise in using these private channels to share content stems from the feeling of being comfortable, according to 48% of people who took the survey for the study. These same people also stated they would probably think twice about sharing some content in a public forum, such as a public tweet or blog post.