Dark social continues to excite marketers around the world, as analysts and entrepeneurs continue to shine more light into the darkness.
I'm hugley interested in dark social. Not only does the 'dark' bit make it sound scary and cool, but it's a genuiely exciting frontier for marketers to learn how to exploit.
Hence I'm writing a blog series on dark social sharing, for Huff Post Tech, where I've looked at major news sites and how they're providing for this powerful force of dark social sharing. I've also looked at gatekeepers to dark social and the trends they're seeing.
But, how are the apps we love and use most moving to become Kings of dark social?
Outside of Instagram, I probably have the most love for music streaming apps. I'm a self-certified Spotify superfan.
So how are mega-apps, like Spotify and its competitors doing when it comes to enabling users to share music and content via dark social?
Starting with Spotify, we can see that four of seven sharing options are serving dark social sharing.
In fact, only two 'open' social sharing options exist.
A strong start for Spotify then with four powerful dark social sharing options front and centre.
The song discovery app is now a global force too, but how does it cater for the needs of dark social sharers?
Very well it seems, with four dark social sharing options.
From a visual point of view, I personally prefer Shazam's UI.
It's also interesitng to see Pinterest involved in the sharing choices here... not sure I'd ever pin such content, but there we go.
My 'alternative' friends' favourite, Deezer, then puts in a disappointing performance when it comes to enabling dark social.
I was pretty surprised by this.
My Deezer-using-friends are slightly anything-but-Spotify types, so perhaps Deezer tries to do anything-but-Spotify when it comes to sharing buttons.
The DJ's favourite, MixCloud.
How will this app perform?
Quite well in fact, with a solid three dark social sharing options. It's also interesting to see the first app offering one click sharing to Facebook Messenger here too. Something the others are missing a trick on?
Outside of a rare use of a Google+ button, it's also nice to see a helpful URL copy function for when we don't want to share in-app.
And finally, another DJ favourite, SoundCloud.
I tend to get most of my house, trance and generally Ibiza-linked fixes from SoundCloud, but how does the app do for dark social sharing?
Surprisingly, not all the well.
This is a quick and dirty test, but even after looking around for ways to share songs I was enjoying, the only way I could see was with a pretty bog standard overlay.
So, who is the music app King of dark social?
If I had to pick a winner, based on only moderately scientific analysis, I'd say it's neck and neck between Spotify and Shazam.
Both of these hugely popular apps offer four dark social sharing options.
However, I cannot score a dead heat.
Someone's got to win, so I'm going to give it to Spotify.
Spotify offers a 'Share to followers' function, which if we're looking for means to share in private networks, means it offers even broader sharing functionality than Shazam.
By offering open and dark social functions, within its own proprietary platform, Spotify is the King of dark social here. Long live the King!