Social Media Scores Low in Consumer Satisfaction

Everyone uses social media but nobody likes it, seems to be the gist of the latest annual consumer satisfaction ratings from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which surveyed 70,000 Americans and ranked industries and companies based on their responses. The most recent data comes from the ACSI’s E-business Report, focusing on the Internet.

With a score of 71, the social media industry is now the fourth lowest-scoring category in the ACSI, just edging out airlines at 69, subscription TV at 65, and Internet service providers at 63. That score is also lower than the average for e-business overall, including search engines and news and opinion Web sites, at 73.4. Some of the main areas of complaint about social media were ease of use with various devices, speed and reliability of video, and the amount of ads on the sites. No surprise, privacy concerns also played a major role.

Turning to specific social networks, Pinterest came out on top with a consumer satisfaction rating of 76, followed by Wikipedia at 74, YouTube at 73, Google+ at 71, Twitter at 69, LinkedIn at 67, and Facebook, also at 67. Abysmal as the latter ratings are, it’s worth noting that Facebook and LinkedIn are both actually up five points from 62 in 2013, while Twitter is up four points from 65.

When consumers were asked what they liked or disliked about each platform, they praised Pinterest for new search functionality and YouTube for recent improvements to its commenting system. Wikipedia declined in part because its new, more stringent content review system is apparently deterring new contributors, as well as alienating established contributors with its attempts to woo new ones (which certainly sounds like a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma to me).

Twitter’s rating rose thanks in part to a new system that makes it easier for users to integrate photos and video, while LinkedIn rolled out new filters to allow greater personalization, and Facebook seems to have benefited from a redesigned newsfeed. However the ACSI noted that the survey was completed before the public controversy about Facebook’s psychological experiments on hundreds of thousands of users.

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