The overwhelming majority of mobile sharing is happening through channels that aren’t public.

A new study released by RadiumOne, an ad platform, found that as much as 82 percent of content shared on mobile is shared through text or email. The company calls these platforms, “dark social” and says that such sharing was below 50 percent in 2017, meaning it has skyrocketed in the past couple years.

According to the company’s report, only 13 percent of content is shared on Facebook, and the remaining 10 percent is divided via the other public social networks. Titled, The Dark Side of Mobile Sharing, the study is based on the actions of the roughly 940 million people who interact with the company’s platform.

One of the essential features of “dark social” is that it is much more likely to spur action and result in clickbacks on mobile. An impressive 62 percent of clickbacks on dark social come from mobile devices. This is because these personal forms of communication or recommendation often come from friends and are acted on quickly, like when you text a friend for advice about a purchase.

For marketers, this means optimizing for mobile is increasingly important. There have been many reports about the rise in mobile consumption, especially as devices get more sophisticated and cell phone data speeds continue to increase. But knowing that the vast
majority of sharing, and more importantly, actionable sharing, is happening on mobile, companies need to be prepared for consumers to interact with their content on mobile.

Another critical takeaway for brands and marketers is to create links and methods to track content even as it gets shared via email or text. Mark Britt, iflix Group CEO explains, “We knew entertainment lovers shared high volumes of digital content with each other but, we also knew a lot of sharing was occurring outside of public social networks. Harnessing Dark Social means we are covering all bases; no blind spots in our view of consumers’ sharing behavior across all channels and devices.”

Publishers also hope to gain a better understanding of dark social and tracking email and text shares, as this could be a valuable metric for ad sales. If publishers can capture the way, their content moves on dark social they can use the data to help advertisers improve their targeting and connect with the right consumers.

RadiumOne is trying to create such a solution connecting marketers, publishers, and dark social. Their data-driven platform enables companies to use their first-party sharing data, overlaid with RadiumOne’s publisher data, to reach people who share their content, people who respond to their shared content, and others in the sharing universe of users that have demonstrated interest and intent in that product or category.