Importance of dark social for sports brands in India

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The digital communication ecosystem is getting fragmented with so many options available and newer forms of communication resulting in data loss.

Social networks/applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram drive instant, rich media and personalized communication and these channels have a wide range of analytics that can track statistics proving to be any digital marketers dream. But what about the communication that cannot be tracked? For example, Instant messengers – There are no ways to track analytics for them but most of the sharing of data happens to them.

Important data that leading to virality and traffic driving cannot be tracked. This void between trackable data and important untrackable data is called Dark Social.

The term was first coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, dark social refers to social sharing that comes from outside sources that web analytics tools are not able to track.

Dark Social’s application to sports marketing in India

India is a big market for digital consumption of global sports like Football, Cricket, Wrestling, and MMA and it is also one of the biggest markets for internet penetration in the world. This combination of the above makes India one of the biggest markets for dark social marketing in the world.

Currently, in India 5 out of the top 10 mobile applications downloaded and actively used are Instant Messengers. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, We Chat and Viber are widely used and Snapchat and Instagram are steadily growing amongst the millennials.

Sharing of sports content on Whatsapp, in particular, is an activity that is most common across all age categories and is completely untapped by sports rights holders and brands and if they include influencers and dark social in their marketing plans, it will help them create personalised content and reach out to wider audiences – this is just a starting point in brand building and fan engagement. The infographic below demonstrates the importance of dark social for sports brands in India.

Leading brands in the space of dark social marketing


Adidas are early adopters of ‘Dark Social’ with an aim to become the most personalized brand in the world through a set of hyper-connected influencers across Europe and the world. See the video to know how Adidas is exploring dark social marketing.

Team Sky

Team Sky is planning to target their future fans beyond earned media through dark social. The marketing team has been collecting data to see how they can reach out to newer fans. To read more click on how Team Sky is working on planning their dark social strategy.