Table Of Content

New Research Shows Customer Acquisition Cost Crisis Caused by Dark Social

Table Of Content

●     Ninety-seven percent of brands are unable to accurately measure revenues from social media advertising because of Dark Social traffic.

●     CustomerAcquisition Costs are driven up by the disconnect between Dark Social and ecommerce experiences

Complimentary research documents are available at:

●     Report:

●     Video explainer:


SAN DIEGO andLONDON — November 8, 2023SimplicityDX, the edge commerce company, today announced a new research report,“The State of Social Media Advertising” which highlights the impact of DarkSocial on Customer Acquisition Costs. Dark Social is where traffic that originates from social media is incorrectly attributed as ‘direct’ traffic by web analytics tools because campaign tracking codes are no longer present.  

The report shows that almost all merchants struggling to measure the effects of social media advertising due to Dark Social patterns.

The SimplicityDX in-person research conducted in conjunction with eTail East, surveyed 110 brands, retailers and digital agencies and found that only 3%could measure social ad revenues accurately, and on average they estimated that they could measure only 44% of total social revenues.

“Tracking shoppers from the ad through to the actual purchase has become near impossible. Apple’s Do Not Track, data privacy regulations, the use of in-app browsers, and social sharing all break link tracking. To make it even harder most consumers prefer to discover on social, but buy on the brand site. All of these create a huge proportion of traffic which is dark and untraceable” explained Charles Nicholls, industry veteran and analyst at SimplicityDX Academy

Prior research by SimplicityDX highlighted that Customer Acquisition Costs rose by 222% over the prior eight years, and that brands are losing $29 for every order, leading to a string of consumer brand failures.

Of the 110 merchants surveyed, SimplicityDX researchers found that almost all brands (91%) are advertising on social media, primarily to acquire new customers (39% acquire new customers, 39% an even balance of customer acquisition & existing customers). Two thirds are spending a quarter of a million dollars or more annually despite not being able to measure its effects accurately.


●      91% of merchants advertise on social media

●      67% spend at l east $60,000 per year on social advertising

●      On average brands believe they can only measure 44% of social revenues


Ecommerce sites are unsuitable for Dark Social Traffic  

The research found that 71% of brands are sending social traffic to standard Home, Category or Product Detail pages, with Product Detail Pages being the most popular.  Over half of the respondents (52%) reported bounce rates in excess of 50%.

Prior first party research from SimplicityDX “TheCost of Bounce” found that the bounce rate on social traffic landing on product detail pages  typically ranges between70-90% and the conversion rate is in the region of 0.5%.

Charles Nicholls commented “Sending paid traffic from social media to standard ecommerce pages is incredibly inefficient, and yet this is what almost all brands do, leading to very high bounce rates, which double Customer Acquisition Costs.Dark Social traffic needs different treatment which recognises the diverse nature of intents that this traffic has.”


Priorities for Brands - Social to Brand Site Journey

71%of brands reported that achieving consistency from paid social to the brand site and making it easy for visitors to find promoted content is the key factor they’d like to improve, demonstrating the disconnect between social and the brand site.

About SimplicityDX

SimplicityDX edge commerce platform solves the customer acquisition crisis by fixing the disconnect between journeys started at the edge and the brands eCommerce site.

In just a few minutes, brands create dynamic, multi-page campaign stores which mix social and product content together and seamlessly integrate to a brands checkout flow and product catalogue. The self-evolving stores are campaign specific and provide highly engaging experiences for all shoppers, (hot, warm and cold) cutting Customer AcquisitionCosts by 50% or more.

Founded by a team of industry veterans and funded by venture capital, SimplicityDX operates in the U.S. and U.K. markets.For more information, visit or connect on LinkedIn.

SimplicityDX has recently been recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor in Digital Commerce 2023.



SimplicityDX,SimplicityDX Edge Commerce Platform, and Campaign Stores are trademarks ofSimplicityDX Inc. All other brand names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Tags:SimplicityDX, SimplicityDX Edge Commerce Platform, Campaign Stores,SimplicityDX Academy, shopping at the edge, e-commerce, ecommerce, return on ad spend, ROAS, customer acquisition cost, CAC, commerce experience, customer experience, CX, digital experience, DX, social commerce, social shopping, online shopping, shopping experience, e-marketing, retail, retailers, martech, marketing technology,



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