Dark search, dark social & everything in between
Certain types of web traffic do not pass referral information on to our analytics programs, making it difficult to properly track these visits. Contributor Maggie Malek recaps a session from SMX West detailing how to handle this "dark" web traffic.
In an advertising world where tracking matters more than ever — where understanding our consumers and knowing exactly how to reach and target them is top of mind — dark search and social can be terrifying to marketers. Getting past this fear and understanding the data behind “dark” is exactly what Marshall Simmonds tackled in his recent SMX West session on “Dark Search, Dark Social & Everything In-Between.”
An industry leader since 1997, Simmonds is no stranger to deciphering search data. During his tenure as Chief Search Strategist for About.com, he was responsible for building the brand into the most successful content network on the internet. When About.com was acquired by The New York Times, Simmonds remained in the position, responsible for search strategy and exposure for NYTimes.com, Boston.com, IHT.com and About.com. Now he spends his days leading the team at Define Media Group, an SEO company that specializes in enterprise search marketing and strategic audience development.
As head of social at MMI Agency, I was definitely excited to see Simmonds speak. Any time I can help my practice prove value to clients, I am all in! The session was really awesome, and I took away some very actionable tactics to launch at my agency.
History of dark search and social
Simmonds first gave a quick overview of the history of the invisible (dark) web, which was recognized as far back as 2001. They knew even then, without the level of sophisticated measuring tools that marketers have today, that some web traffic just wasn’t trackable. Today, dark search and social is defined as any web traffic that can’t be tracked through our analytics programs.