Ad Volume Hurting the Social Media Customer Experience

July 27, 2016

ACSI-Social-Customer-Experience-Benchmarks-2016-v-2015-Jul2016Consumer satisfaction with social media platforms has dipped slightly this year, and the amount of advertising on social sites is likely at least in part to blame, according to an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report [download page]. Despite just a modest 1-point slip to a score of 73 (on a 100-point scale), social media sites are on the lower tier of the industries measured.

Indeed, their aggregate customer satisfaction index of 73 is the 9th-lowest of the 43 industries measured.

This year, all aspects of the social media customer experience either decreased or stayed flat. Consumers remained most satisfied with the ease of navigation, ease of use on different devices, and overall site performance – each garnering an index score of 77. But privacy concerns appear to have increased, with satisfaction dipping 4 points on this front to a score of 73, in line with reports that few Americans trust social media with their data.

The biggest tumble in satisfaction rates this year for social media, though, was for the amount of ads on the site. With a 5-point year-over-year drop, this aspect of the customer experience was easily the lowest-rated.

The findings align with MarketingCharts’ own primary research. In examining the effectiveness of various advertising media, MarketingCharts’ study found that social ads have risen in stated purchase influence among adults, with a particularly strong reception among youth. However, the report also revealed that young adults feel exposed to ads more frequently in social media than in any other medium, including TV.

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Relative dissatisfaction with ads extends to other internet businesses also, per the ACSI report, though with not quite the same deterioration as seen with social ads. Customers satisfaction with the amount of ads on search engines dropped a point to a score of 69, a far cry from satisfaction indices for ease of navigation (80) and variety of services and information (79). Likewise, satisfaction with the amount of ads on internet news and opinion sites dropped 3 points to a score of 68, with users conversely most satisfied with the freshness of content (80) on these sites.

On a platform basis, the study reveals that:

  • Facebook (-7 points to 68) and Twitter (-6 points to 65) had the biggest drops in customer satisfaction, with Twitter now joining LinkedIn at the bottom of the heap;
  • Satisfaction with Google, by contrast, jumped by 6 points to a search-industry high of 84, well above Bing (75) and Yahoo! (74); and
  • was the top internet news and opinion site by satisfaction (79), with (72) bringing up the rear. (June’s top broadcast media websites by visit share are available here.)

About the Data: The ACSI E-Business Report 2016 on internet social media, search engines and information, and news and opinion is based on interviews with 5,125 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between June 17 and June 30, 2016. 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.

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