Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Most “dark social” traffic is actually from Facebook’s mobile app, according to new research from Chartbeat


You might have heard: Dark social: Facebook is less than one-third of all social sharing

But did you know: Alexis Madrigal, who coined the term two years ago, gives an update on dark social traffic in the mobile app era. “Since it came out, I’ve done research that’s caused me to rethink dark social — and so has Chartbeat. And they released new research to me this week showing that a good chunk of what we might have called dark social visits are actually Facebook mobile app visitors in disguise,” writes Madrigal. “The takeaway is this: if you’re a media company, you are almost certainly underestimating your Facebook traffic. The only question is how much Facebook traffic you’re not counting. The good news is that, as of yesterday at 6 pm, Chartbeat began tracking Facebook mobile users much more effectively … The bad news is that, if you didn’t know before, it should be even more clear now: Facebook owns web media distribution.”

+ Mathew Ingram has more on how a number of media companies are beginning to look at “user agent” strings to track down where users came from (Gigaom)

+ Noted: Mobile search will surpass desktop in 2015 (eMarketer); New research finds list growth and maintenance are among the top email marketing challenges for publishers (eMarketer); News organizations ‘go native’ to find new source of ad revenue (Financial Times); Despite surging popularity, content marketing is a fraction of 2015 budgets (AdAge); The FTC is said to be releasing guidelines for native advertising next year (Twitter); Fusion hires four more, including editorial director (Capital New York)

Read More

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »