Pinterest at Top of Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Facebook at Bottom

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

ASCI-Social-Media-Consumer-Satisfaction-SurveyWhen looking at metrics such as the number of users, average time spent on the site, and overall market share, it’s clear that Facebook is the leader of social media. But like most things in marketing (and in life), paying too much attention to simple measures like the biggest and largest can blind people to smaller but equally important factors of a situation. Facebook may be the biggest and the largest, but in terms of satisfaction, that may not mean the best. A new customer satisfaction survey shows that Pinterest may provide the most satisfying social media experience.

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) is an annual survey that tracks customer satisfaction across several different industries. This year’s study was based on the responses of more than 70,000 consumers. Social media customer satisfaction scores are up, but the networks got a mixed bag of news. Facebook, for at least the second year in a row, found themselves bringing up the rear for customer satisfaction. Pinterest, the newest of the major social media brands included in the survey, was the highest ranked network.

Besides the surprise that Pinterest was at the top, marketers may be taken aback by how low the satisfaction scores were in general for social media. Pinterest, at the top of the list, barely got over 75. On average, social media brands scored 71 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, though this is an increase of  4.4 percent over 2013, the industry was the fourth worst of 43 industries tracked by the survey. Social media surpassed only airlines (69), subscription TV (65) and Internet service providers (63) none of which are known for happy, satisfied customers.

“Even with improvements across the board, e-business — and social media in particular — doesn’t do well in terms of user satisfaction,” said ACSI chairman and founder Claes Fornell, in a press release announcing the study results. “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.”

According to the study’s authors the report, though some of the larger brands saw year-over-year improvements, the overall picture wasn’t extremely positive.

“Both Facebook and LinkedIn register higher satisfaction this year, but according to their own users, these sites are still the worst in the industry,” the authors of the report wrote. “Facebook gains 8 percent to 67, but the rise in satisfaction precedes the news that the social networking giant manipulated the news feeds of half a million users as part of a psychological experiment. LinkedIn also jumps 8 percent to an ACSI score of 67—the site’s highest to date—but continues to lag all except Facebook. Twitter reaches a new high as well, up 6 percent to 69, as users respond positively to its updated site design and enhanced integration of photos and videos.”

The study also had results that indicated the major social networks (and marketers) may want to keep an eye out on alternative social media sites. Niche social media sites have been mentioned on this site in the past. According to the data from ACSI, these alternative social networks have an average customer satisfaction score of 73. This ties them with YouTube and puts them higher than any of the other social networks beside Pinterest and Wikipedia (which for some reason ASCI considers to be a social network). If marketers can find a niche social network that’s appropriate for their industry, they should try to utilize it. Customer who are having a good experience are more likely to engage with the content they encounter.

The most recent ASCI study gives marketers a lot to think about. For the time being, the major social networks have the attention of most people online, but if they don’t improve their customer satisfaction ratings, we may yet see new social networks crop up to deliver what the major networks are not.

Thought eh ASCI study was bad for Facebook, LinkedIn and social media in general, the news was better for Google when it came to search engine customer satisfaction. Read this article to see the results from the e-business part of the ASCI [LINK TO SERIES 26 ARTICLE 6].


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