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Social Media Haters Speak Up in Customer Satisfaction Survey
Social Media Haters Speak Up in Customer Satisfaction Survey
By Jennifer LeClaire / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
JULY
23
2014


For all the complaining about Facebook and Google -- and all the comment rage you see on Internet news sites -- people are more satisfied with what they are experiencing online than they were a year ago. So says an E-Business report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

Indeed, customer satisfaction with social media, search engines and online news and opinion Web sites is up. According to the latest figures, these Internet platforms have posted a 2.9 percent rise in user satisfaction, ranking 73.4 on ACSI’s 100-point scale.

“Even with improvements across the board, e-business -- and social media in particular -- doesn’t do well in terms of user satisfaction,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and chairman. “It is rare to see strong growth in an industry with such low customer satisfaction. However, several of the major players seem to have realized that their long-term prospects may be in jeopardy unless they do better.”

Social Media Dissatisfaction

It’s no surprise that social media sites are among the worst performing in the ACSI ratings, but there has been some improvement year-over-year. Rising 4.4 percent to hit 71, social media performs stronger than airlines at 69, subscription TV at 65 and Internet service providers at 63. Still, social media is the fourth lowest scoring category ACSI measures.

More specifically, Facebook and LinkedIn have posted customer satisfaction improvements, though users still rate them the worst in the industry. Drilling into the numbers, Facebook has gained 8 percent to hit 67 but that was before news reports exposed how the social media giant manipulated the news feeds of 500,000 members in a psychological experiment. That number may not be as high if the survey were completed today.

For its part, LinkedIn has also climbed 8 percent to hit 67. That is the site’s highest-ever ranking and puts it on par with Facebook. Twitter satisfaction is on the rise, up 6 percent to 69 in the wake of a design refresh that offers better photo and video integration.

Pinterest, however, takes the top prize in the category. Pinterest is officially the social media site with the highest customer satisfaction rating. The social bookmarking site rose 6 percent in the ACSI rankings to hit 76. Over the last three years, Pinterest has seen steady improvement in user satisfaction scores as it continues to beef up features.

“Advertising continues to be a drag on the social media customer experience, but it is hard to tell if consumers are getting used to the advertising or if these companies have been able to offset disruption with tweaks to the rest of the experience,” said ACSI Director David VanAmburg. “I’m surprised at the movement at the bottom of the industry, but it remains to be seen if these scores can hold as social media continues to monetize its users.”

Google Reigns Supreme

Moving on to Web sites, Wikipedia’s user satisfaction dipped 5 percent to 74. Although the user-controlled online encyclopedia has worked to make it easier for new users to participate and is recruiting more editors to maintain quality on the growing site, ASCI reports existing users aren’t exactly welcoming newbies with open arms. Still, Wikipedia ranks better than most of the industry.

On the video front, YouTube has rebounded 3 percent to hit 73. That gives YouTube parity with Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr. Google+ is stagnant at 71 after dropping 9 percent a year ago. But Google’s search engine climbed 5.3 percent to 83. Overall, customer satisfaction with portals and search engines rose 5.3 percent to 80.

“A sharp increase in search engine advertising contributed to a drop in user satisfaction last year, but Google’s latest change to the way ads are labeled, along with its focus on the mobile user experience, may be steps in the right direction,” said VanAmburg. “Google has some of the most satisfied customers in all of ACSI, and given its enormous lead in search engines, it is unlikely that the competition is going to dislodge Google’s very loyal customer base.”

No other search engine comes close to Google in terms of user satisfaction. In fact, the combined ranking for smaller engines is up 10 percent but still only hits 77. Larger competitors like Bing, MSN and Yahoo are declining. Specifically, Bing dipped 4 percent to 73 and MSN dipped 1 percent to 73. Yahoo dropped 7 percent to 71, its lowest score yet. AOL is in last place, declining another percent to hit 70.

Extra, Extra!

Moving on to news, reader satisfaction with news and opinion sites is improving, up 1.4 percent to 74. ASCI credits readership of sources outside mainstream media for the rise as most of the largest media organizations posted declines in online reader satisfaction. Overall, Internet news outlets jumped 7 percent to 77.

FOXNews.com has been dethroned on the user satisfaction front. For the first time in five years, it’s not at the top of the heap, but it’s still in second at 76. USAToday.com gained 4 percent to tie FOXNews.com.

USAToday.com is actually the only major news outlet to post improvements in customer satisfaction. ASCI credits USAToday’s enhanced digital platforms, including a stronger mobile Web site. ABCNews.com dipped to 74. The NYTimes.com was next at 73 and CNN.com fell 4 percent to tie the TheHuffingtonPost.com at the bottom of the barrel at 70.

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