Satisfaction with social media isn’t falling, but the industry has room for improvement.
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The American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business sector results for 2018-2019 (Graphic: Business Wire)
After dropping in 2018, customer satisfaction with social media overall holds steady at 72 on a scale of 0 to 100, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) E-Business Report 2018-2019, which covers internet social media, search engines and information, and news and opinion.
Social media remains one of the lowest-performing categories in the index, lingering in the bottom six among 46 ACSI-measured industries. While 70% of adults in the U.S. use social media to connect and share information, Americans are becoming more attuned to issues surrounding data privacy and expect action from the major social media players.
“The Cambridge Analytica revelations have had lasting reverberations, with many Americans wary of the mishandling of private information,” says David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the ACSI. “Users are monitoring their browsers and adjusting privacy settings, while the use of ad blockers continues to grow steadily. There are some bright spots, but many social media companies will have to regain consumer trust if they want to grow satisfaction.”
Pinterest’s reign continues; Facebook face plants
Facebook has faced privacy controversies, including Russian election interference, fake news and accounts, and potential censorship of political news. This contentious atmosphere perhaps explains why customer satisfaction with Facebook nosedives 6% to the bottom of the industry at 63.
Privacy is at an all-time low for Facebook, and it trails other social media sites by a wide margin. Facebook also rates lowest for the amount of advertising it displays, ease of uploading photos and videos, and content relevance, as users have issues with Facebook’s news feed.
Meanwhile, Pinterest continues to deliver an exceptional customer experience, and leads the industry for the second straight year with a score of 80 (unchanged). ACSI data show the site rates best in class for content relevance and information variety. For Pinners, even ads appear to meet their needs. Pinterest ranks highest for providing a level of advertising that is most acceptable to users. It also scores the top mark for mobile app quality, which ACSI measures for the first time this year.
YouTube comes in second with a 4% jump to 78, followed by Wikipedia at 74 (4% drop), then Instagram at 72 (unchanged). Snapchat debuts this year with a score of 71, with high marks for mobile quality. Both LinkedIn and Twitter climb 5% to 69. Tumblr tumbles 6% to an all-time low of 64, just ahead of Facebook.
Google leads internet search engines despite satisfaction dip; AOL makes serious moves
Following a gain last year, user satisfaction with search engines and information sites slips 2.5% to 77.
Google remains the dominant market leader in search despite falling 4% to 79. The loss occurs amidst multiple controversies with the now defunct Google+ social network. According to ACSI data, users also believe Google’s overall site performance is worse year over year.
AOL, which was purchased by Verizon in 2015, skyrockets 9%, taking it from the industry’s bottom last year to third place with an ACSI score of 74. Meanwhile, Yahoo! – also part of Verizon Media – plummets 5% to last place at 70.
Ask.com (up 4% to 73) and Answers.com (up 3% to 71) both improve from the previous year. Microsoft platforms Bing and MSN tie at 72, with the former falling 1% and the latter dropping 5%.
Give it up for the smaller internet news and opinion sites
User satisfaction with online news rises 2.7% to a record high ACSI score of 77. In the United States, about 90% of adults get at least some of their news via digital outlets like mobile or desktop.
Smaller internet news and opinion sites are up 4% combined and lead the industry at 80. This group includes numerous local news outlets.
FOXNews.com holds the lead among individually measured sites, unchanged at 78. It has the most loyal audience, with users more likely to return to the site compared to other news outlets’ audiences.
NYTimes.com comes in third place, up 1% to 76. USATODAY.com climbs 4% to 74 while both ABCNews.com and NBCNews.com improve 3% to 73.
Verizon Media’s HuffPost (70) and CNN.com (69) sit at the bottom of the industry. While CNN.com rises 1% this year and improves across much of its user experience, it’s not enough to lift it out of the cellar.
The ACSI E-Business Report 2018-2019 on internet social media, search engines and information, and news and opinion is based on interviews with 7,690 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between July 17, 2018, and June 26, 2019. Customers are asked to evaluate their recent experiences with the largest social media, search/information, and news websites in terms of visitor traffic, plus an aggregate category consisting of “all other”—and thus smaller—websites in those categories. Download the full E-Business Report.
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the data and information in this release without the express prior written consent of ACSI LLC.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) has been a national economic indicator for 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in 46 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various services of federal and local government agencies. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, ACSI scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 300,000 customers annually. For more information, visit www.theacsi.org.
ACSI and its logo are Registered Marks of the University of Michigan, licensed worldwide exclusively to American Customer Satisfaction Index LLC with the right to sublicense.