Thanks to its efforts to slash ‘dark social’ links, Facebook’s measurable influence, especially on mobile, has skyrocketed.
>”We all know Facebook is huge, and drives incredible amounts of traffic. But thanks to its recent efforts to uncloak the sources of content with no known referrer, we now know that the numbers are bigger than anyone believed.
According to a report issued today by Bitly, the world’s leading link shortener, Facebook has largely solved the problem of so-called “dark social” links — those that have no referrer data and can’t be measured by web analytics tools — and as a result, the social network’s influence skyrocketed during the fourth quarter.
In the report, Bitly wrote that Facebook’s influence jumped 8.6 percent during the fourth quarter overall and 30.2 percent on mobile. That doesn’t mean Facebook’s influence actually grew that much — it means that clicks formerly attributed to “dark social” are now being correctly counted as Facebook’s clicks. Given that Facebook’s major push in recent quarters has been to expand its reach on mobile and give its marketing partners more ways to monetize their content, this is solid evidence that strategy is working.
“Everybody knows Facebook is big, and everyone knows Facebook is driving a significant volume of traffic,” Bitly CEO Mark Josephson told VentureBeat. “But in Q4, they solved a significant part of dark social — traffic or referrers that marketers or publishers don’t know where it’s coming from. … Facebook is bigger than people think they are.”
Bitly’s in a position to know of what it speaks. The company shortens 600 million links a month that generate 8 billion clicks from a billion users worldwide. […]
But those radical drops in dark social links are reflected in Bitly’s latest data showing the strength of Facebook’s overall influence — and that its users are quickly moving from the desktop to mobile. While its influence on mobile exploded 30.2 percent, links coming from the Facebook on the desktop were down 19.8 percent in the fourth quarter.
Others have noticed similar drops in dark social links. Last month, Chartbeat, a service that measures web sites’ traffic, noted a substantial drop in links with no referrers, especially on mobile.
Last week, Facebook reported its fourth quarter earnings, and said that of its 1.39 billion monthly active users, 1.19 billion used the company’s mobile tools, up 26 percent from the same time a year ago. […]”<