A person holding a brand new Apple iPhone 5S with an Instagram profile on the screen. Many social consumers like this one use social media to find websites.

Social consumers are harder to track as social media leads them to different websites.

Tracking is a huge part of online marketing. When you visit a site, the company knows all sorts of details about your browsing history, and all of that gets used to market specifically to you. In fact, that lamp you were looking at on Amazon is going to become the bane of your existence for the next few days. It will seem like every page you visit is trying to sell that very same lamp to you. However, tracking is not that easy when it comes to social consumers.

Enter Social Media Marketing

Content on social media gets shared via mobile devices, apps, and the like. Before long, your website traffic starts to increase, but it looks like it is all direct traffic. That can’t be right. How many people who have never been to your site before know the URL to just type it in to arrive at your site? Welcome to “dark social.” These are the social consumers that are arriving at your site, and you simply don’t know where they are coming from. It may surprise you to learn that as much as 70 percent of the website traffic you get from social media falls into this category.

What Can You Do About Social Consumers?

Google is trying to help by adding filters that can allow you to get a better look at where traffic is coming from. Other tools are available that specifically keep track of hidden social shares and things of that nature. Unfortunately, no one tool exists that will allow you to measure everything, only those tools that give glimpses into what you were completely missing out on before.

While some marketers are looking for creative ways to track mobile and social use—think custom keyboards offered by certain brands—there is still a long way to go before all of that traffic is as transparent as it once was. Until then, this hidden traffic is a hot topic in the marketing world.

Does your company have a solution for shedding light on this dark traffic? If so, it may be the next big thing that digital marketers are looking for, and it’s a race against the clock to be the first one to get there.