Consumers’ satisfaction with e-business ratcheted up a percentage point this year based on strong improvement from social media networks, according to results released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Social, long a resident of the cellar in customer sat standings, picked up three ratings points to help make up for search’s four-point slide.
Pinterest added three points to lead ACSI’s social media listings with a score of 78. Wikipedia finished second and YouTube and Instagram tied for third. Facebook picked up the most slack with an eight-point rise to an index of 75. Social’s improved performance in mobile provided the impetus for its higher customer profile.
“Social media’s made it easier for users to post those pins on Pinterest and connect with Facebook. It was very smart to do this, because the phone is where people want to do their Facebooking,” said ACSI Director David VanAmburg. The 5,400 consumers polled for the index gave social media high marks for “ease of use on different devices” and “freshness of content.”
The good news for marketers from this year’s index is that people are not only accepting increased ad activity on social media, they’re embracing it. In a year when all major social networks launched several new ad-related monetization programs, consumers awarded them a 74 for “amount of ads on site,” a jump of three percentage points.
“There’s no question that improvements in targeting have been effective,” VanAmburg said. “People say, ‘They know my interests. I’m not having to filter through a bunch of garbage.’”
People also appear to be coming closer to terms with their own privacy liability on social networks. They awarded them a score of 76 for privacy compared to a 71 last year.
Search engines still maintain a higher average index score than social at 76, but Google, Yahoo, and AOL all saw their ratings slip by four points or more. Several studies came out this year noting that the majority of searches are made via mobile, and Google notably reacted to the shift by changing its algorithm to favor mobile optimized sites in its listings.
Mobile played a huge role in consumer perceptions of both social and search this year, VanAmburg said. “Social media is getting it right on mobile; search is presented a new challenge by mobile. Google is addressing the issue, but the question becomes, how quickly can you fix that?”