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‘Serious disconnect’ between digital spend and user behaviour as report finds Southeast Asians share 87% of brand content in ‘dark social’

Mumbrella360 panelA new study draws into question the value of social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for marketers with the statistic that 87% of all sharing of brand and publisher assets on mobile devices in Southeast Asia takes place through “dark social”, private channels such as email and SMS.

By comparison, 13% of brand and publisher content is shared on public social networks in the sub-region.

The study, by ad tech firm RadiumOne, also found that 84% of mobile clickbacks on advertiser content in Southeast Asia are happening via dark social.

The huge amount of private sharing going on jars with a study from eMarketer that found that more than 90% of social and sharing marketing budgets are going on public social networks.

“There is a serious disconnect between where we are putting our investment and the return we are getting,” Kerry McCabe, APAC MD of RadiumOne, said on a panel discussion at Mumbrella360 in Sydney today.

McCabe pointed to the 2016 CMO Survey, which showed that around 10% of marketing budgets are currently going into public social networks, and brand owners plan to double that investment over the next five years.

However, 40% of CMOs say that they are seeing “substandard outcomes” from using social media, McCabe commented.

The reason why there hasn’t much investment in reaching people through dark social is that marketers haven’t known how to harness dark social sharing behaviour until recently, he suggested.

“The many channels and platforms consumers use to share the things that matter to them, and the behaviour around this, is evolving by the day. We’re now seeing brands enable technology to allow them to take a channel and platform agnostic approach to keeping up with consumers,” he said.

“The opportunity for brands is to track, gather and activate these valuable signals [in dark social] to connect their owned and earned media investments with paid media effectiveness,” commented Kerry.

To read RadiumOne’s report in full, go here.

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