Adidas has invited fans to join ‘app squads’ in select cities around the world, as the sports brand looks to shed light on so-called ‘dark social’ channels- private sharing that is hugely popular, but difficult to track.
‘Dark Social’ refers to any inbound web traffic coming from sources that web analytics are unable to track. It typically occurs when online content is shared by copying a URL and pasting it into message platforms such as email, forums, SMS or instant message, rather than sharing it via established social networks.
It’s thought that around three quarters of all social occuring occurs on these channels as opposed to Facebook Likes of Twitter Reweets, which are easier to monitor.
To address this, Adidas is adopting a new form of social listening. The sports brand is inviting fans to join dedicated ‘squads’ on WhatsApp in local areas, including Berlin, London, Paris, Milan and Stockholm this month.
Under the new scheme, the Adidas squads will be monitored the to learn more about how private sharing works.
The sportswear brand will look at new metrics such as individual conversations.
To encourage fans to join the WhatsApp groups, Members will receive news released through this dark social channel before anywhere else as well as invites to events and access to Adidas’ ambassadors, from athletes to artists.
A 2014 study from RadiumOne indicated that 74% of all online sharing activity in the UK takes place via ‘Dark Social’ channels, compared to just 19% via Facebook and 7% on all other social channels combined.