Customer satisfaction with social media sites has dipped by 1.4% year-over-year to a score of 69 on a 100-point scale, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The industry scores among the lowest, with only airlines, subscription TV, and newspapers faring worse. Google+ takes top honors among social media sites for customer satisfaction, with a score of 78, tied with Wikipedia. By contrast, Facebook is the lowest-scoring of social media sites in customer satisfaction, and suffered the largest decline in customer satisfaction, plummeting 8% to a 61 score. Google’s YouTube ranked third with a 73 score – a marginal drop compared to last year’s 74. Pinterest debuted with a score of 69, ahead of Twitter (64). LinkedIn, at 63, was just 2 points ahead of Facebook.
The report attributes the strong showing for freshman Google+, which was released just over a year ago, to both an absence of traditional advertising and to its offering a superior mobile product to Facebook. In turn, Facebook users complained about ads and privacy concerns, and of unwelcome changes to the user interface (most recently the Timeline feature).
Search Engines Dip A Bit, Generally Satisfy
Customer satisfaction with internet portals and search engines slipped by 1.3% to an ACSI score of 79, yet remained the highest-scoring among the e-business categories (which also include social media and internet news and information). Google edged down 1.2% from 2011, but still took top billing with a score of 82. Microsoft’s Bing slipped 1.2%, but took second place with an 81 score, and niche player Ask.com maintained its score of 80 for third place.
Interestingly, the Pew Internet & American Life Project observed rising satisfaction among search engine users as of February 2012 – at least in terms of the quality of information, and its availability. 55% of search users reported that the quality of information they were getting via search engines was improving, versus just 4% who said it was getting worse. Roughly two-thirds of adult search users believe that these tools present a fair and unbiased source of information, while about three-quarters say that most (45%) or almost all (28%) all of the information they find is accurate and trustworthy. Another 29% of users reported that they always find the information they are looking for, a 71% increase from 17% in 2004.
News and Information Sites Hold Steady
Meanwhile, customer satisfaction with news, information, and opinion websites has remained flat with a score of 73, according to the ACSI, hovering between 73 and 75 for nearly a decade. FOXNews.com tops all news and information sites for a third straight year, gaining 2.4% year-over-year for a score of 84. Most other sites rate in the low- to mid-70s, with ABCNEWS.com scoring a second-place 76 following a 1% drop, CNN.com up 1.3% and USATODAY.com dipping 1.3% for a tie of 75, and NYTimes.com up 1.4% for a 74. AOL’s The Huffington Post, in just its second year on the index, maintained its category-low score of 69.
About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, with all measures reported using a scale of 0 to 100.