Survey Shows Facebook Barely More Satisfying Than Comcast

The latest findings of the American Customer Satisfaction Index aren’t likely to get many Likes from the executives running social-media companies. Especially Facebook.

This ongoing study of American consumer attitudes finds that we’re a little crankier about online social media than we were last year, even though—or maybe because—the coronavirus pandemic has led to us spending more time on these sites.

“This year, user satisfaction with social media overall falls 2.8% to 70, placing the category once more in the bottom five among 46 ACSI industries,” the report posted Tuesday reads. “Social media now returns to the satisfaction level reported a decade ago.”

And the largest social network wound up with the lowest score. The one consolation for Facebook for getting dinged with a score of 64 out of 100: At least it edged up from last year’s 63.

That puts it in dismal company in ACSI-land: As in, Comcast

CMCSA
may be the cable company people love to hate, but its score jumped from 57 to 63 from last year’s survey to this year’s.

What’s not to like about Facebook? For ACSI respondents—16,487 customers, picked randomly from this Ann Arbor, Mich., project’s pool of some 500,000 people and interviewed via email from July 15, 2019 to June 8, 2020—the problem remains privacy. 

“A year ago, the ACSI reported that user evaluations of Facebook’s ability to protect privacy had reached an all-time low, trailing all other social media sites by a wide gap,” the study reports. “Fast forward to 2020 results and little has changed. Privacy has not gotten any better from the user viewpoint, and advertising on Facebook continues to be deemed more intrusive compared to other sites.”

Pinterest led the social-media pack with a score of 77, a drop from last year’s 80 for the food-and-design-focused photo-sharing site. Wikipedia and YouTube tied with 75 each, Snapchat notched a 72 and Facebook’s Instagram was just behind at 71. Twitter, Microsoft

MSFT
’s LinkedIn and WordPress-owned Tumblr brought up the rear at 68, 67 and 66, but at least they can content themselves with not being Microsoft. 

TikTok may be both one of the most widely-used iOS and Android apps as well as President Trump’s least-favorite social app, but in this study it fell into an “All Others” category with Reddit and other sites that netted a respectable collective score of 75.

This latest ACSI research also assessed how we feel about search engines and news and opinion sites. 

Google

GOOGL
continues to own the former category, leading all other contenders with a score of 79. “All Others” was next at 76, a catchall grouping that presumably includes the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo. Verizon

VZ
’s Yahoo followed at 72, with Verizon’s AOL, Ask.com and Microsoft’s Bing and MSN tied at 71. 

The survey did not ask respondents to grade search sites on privacy, a weird oversight given a) how poorly social-media sites performed on that score and b) how much data Google collects. 

(Disclosure: I’ve written many times for Verizon’s Yahoo Finance news site.) 

In news and opinion, “All Others” topped the category at 76, followed by Fox News at 75 and ABC and NBC’s news sites, each at 72. USA Today (another client of mine) was next at 71, after with CNN and the New York Times

NYT
tied at 70. Verizon’s HuffPost was last at 69, which is not that nice overall. 

The study credited Fox’s performance to the fact that it “continues to have the most loyal audience among the major sites.” 

To put all these numbers in context, the worst-ranking industry last year and this year was subscription TV (62 in 2019, 64 in 2020), with internet providers second from the bottom (62 and 65).

Among industries we like to complain about but which ranked notably higher than social media, we have airlines (74 last year), health insurance (also 74) and banks (80). The highest-ranked industry in the ACSI? Breweries, with a score of 84 last year.

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