Posted on
1/12/2022

What Is Dark Posting and How Can You Use It for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign?

In marketer jargon, the concept of dark posting is not new and you may have heard of it. But what are dark posts really and how can you use these types of ads on social networks for your marketing campaign? Read the definition of dark posts and their five advantages over traditional ads on the Kolsquare influencer marketing blog.

iphone in the dark with notifications

Key Takeaways

  • Dark posts are unpublished posts that target a specific group while not appearing in your feed.
  • Four advantages of dark posts over traditional ads or posts are:
  • Precise targeting of your audience.
  • Dark posts lend themselves to A/B testing.
  • Perfect your communication strategy.
  • Avoid spam flow in your feed.

What Are Dark Posts?

Dark posts are posts on social media that are unpublished and played out as an ad for a specific target group, thus targeting them specifically. Consequently, the post cannot be found organically and does not appear in the timeline. They effectively exist only for users who are supposed to see them. They are excellent for split testing, as your timeline will not be flooded with ads.

Dark posts are distinct from dark social, as the latter refers to traffic that comes to your website via social media and is not detected by analytic tools. In short, Dark Posts, on the other hand, are simply ads on social media that do not appear in their feed. Even though the concept of dark posts was invented by Facebook, these types of ads now exist on all major social media platforms. On LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.

you can decide whether to boost organic content or create a dark post. However, on Snapchat and Instagram all your ads are technically “dark posts by default.” Thus, what are the benefits of going “dark”?

Why Should You Use Dark Posts for Your Marketing Campaign?

For so long, experts have stressed the importance of organic growth but now you should switch to non-organic posts. Let the following four advantages of dark posts over traditional ads convince you.

1. Precise Targeting of Your Audience

With organically created content, you can reach your target audience as usual, but with dark posts, you can publish posts based on variables like age, gender or other areas of interest. The ads are targeted and can even be based on specific keywords like exact job titles. By doing this, you should know exactly who you can best convince about your product or service and using which content. This way, you can optimize the effect of your dark posting strategy.

Tailor the ads to the needs, interests and desires of your target audience while promoting the same product or service. With this kind of precise targeting, you can exactly get to the people you want to reach, which in turn can have a positive impact on your ROI. Especially with the algorithm in mind, this can be a way to “get your content out there.”

2. Use Dark Posts for A/B Testing

You’re probably familiar with the principle of A/B testing. In this type of testing, you experiment to see which content performs better. For this, you need a reasonably large sample to draw robust conclusions from your test. You should also consider in advance what you want to test. It makes sense to test different approaches or communication methods on the same target group or to show the same content to a diverse audience. Just think about what aligns better with your goals here.

With A/B testing you can finally optimize your ad strategy. Kolsquare knowledge: A/B testing is also known as split testing.

Want to experiment with your ad’s image, headline, call to action button or text? Make sure that once you figure out what you want to change, your content is randomly shown to one-half of the predetermined half of users. Evaluate the results of your test in terms of your KPIs and decide from the “winners.”

3. Perfect Your Communication Strategy

In a relatively young industry like influencer marketing, not much testing has been done yet. This is also relatively difficult, as the social platform landscape changes and evolves just as quickly.

A/B testing not only helps perfect your ad strategy but also improves your organic content according to the findings. Test two different subject lines, you can use the one with the higher click-through rate for future email marketing campaigns and another with a new idea if necessary. Think of it like the preliminary and knockout stages of the World Cup. Only those who allow trial and error can improve in the long run.

4. Avoid Spamming the Feed With Ads

By discarding dark posts, you avoid spamming your feed or profile. Especially the younger generations like Millenials or Gen Z, who are almost allergic to too much direct advertising. They want to be convinced by values and social responsibility and not overwhelmed by ads. Plus, dark posts don’t steal the spotlight from your organic content. Get more information from the Kolsquare guide to Gen Z marketing.

If you don’t use dark posts for A/B testing, your feed will soon look almost identical and bore potential consumers while you’re organically creating and carefully curating content sinks. A consistent and personable social media presence is critical for any brand because it  becomes your calling card.

Dark Posting in 2023 - this is what will happen

Publications like Ad Age and Adweek predict the end of dark posts in the near future, as Meta (with Facebook, Instagram and Messenger) has confirmed to end the anonymity of its unpublished ads. Twitter was also quick to agree, opening a new transparency center. There users can check dark posts and find out who published them now.

Read more about influencer marketing on Twitter on the Kolsquare influencer marketing blog.

In the US, several senators have advanced a bill that would require digital platforms to make all ads related to US elections publicly visible. Facebook has pre-empted the law and increased advertising transparency for brands by adding the “Show Ads” button on its pages. This allows users to see all published and unpublished ads, including dark posts. In particular, political ads will be closely scrutinized in the future, as political advertisers will have to verify their identity and disclose which ads they have paid for and which they have not.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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