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Google+ Debuts With ACSI Consumer Satisfaction Score Well Above Facebook’s
The annual American Customer Satisfaction Index is out for social media sites, measuring satisfaction with Google+ for the first time against other social networks. What a debut! Google’s year-old social network had the best satisfaction while the world’s most popular social network, Facebook, came in last.
Top Marks For Google+
The scores look like this:
On the scale, 100 would be perfect satisfaction. Google+ came in at 78, or what I’d call a B- or C+ letter grade, far from perfect. But it was much better than Twitter (64 points, rated for the first time), LinkedIn (63 points, also rated for the first time) or at the bottom of the list, Facebook with 61 points.
Google+ tied with Wikipedia, which also got measured in the “social media” category but isn’t a social network. Google’s YouTube service came second on the list with a 73 point score. Pinterest, rated for the first time, beat the more established players of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook by earning 69 points.
Timeline, Ads & Privacy Said To Hurt Facebook
Not only was Facebook last, but its score also dropped by five points over last year. What’s causing the dissatisfaction? ACSI said:
- The introduction of the “timeline” feature: The new “timeline” user interface, which radically changed the look, feel, layout, and functionality of Facebook, has been met with widespread criticism since its introduction in September of 2011. The public perception is that Facebook makes frequent and unnecessary changes to the user interface and forces them down people’s throats. As soon as they get used to one new interface, there is another rolling out. In fact, when asked what they like least about Facebook, a significant portion of respondents specifically mention the “timeline” feature.
- Intrusive, irrelevant, and repetitive ads: One-fifth of Facebook users (19%) say that ads actively interfere with their experience of the site. When asked what they like least about Facebook, advertising is a frequently-cited complaint.
- Concerns about privacy: When asked to rate Facebook’s commitment to protecting their privacy, nearly half of survey respondents rated it poor (5 or lower on a 10-point poor-to-excellent scale).
Privacy, No Ads & Good Mobile Support Help Google+
Not surprisingly, the things that people disliked about Facebook were things cited as being liked with Google+, better privacy, no intrusive ads, plus people liked the mobile experience for Google+. In a supplemental survey, ACSI said it found:
- Google’s superior commitment to privacy: Customers clearly think Google+ respects their privacy more than Facebook does. When asked to rate the site’s commitment to their privacy, only 18% of Facebook users rate Facebook’s commitment to their privacy as excellent (9 or 10 on a 10-point poor-to-excellent scale), while 42% of Google+ users rate Google’s commitment to their privacy as excellent.
- Google+ does not have traditional ads: While Google+ allows new users to customize Google offers, Google+ does not yet have traditional banner and search ads, and a June 19 article in WebProNews indicates there are no plans to display ads on Google+ anytime soon. However, search enhanced ads running on other Google properties (+1) are seeing increased engagement and click through rates. Google properties are therefore getting more value from ads without having to disrupt the user experience on Google+.
- Google’s superior mobile experience: By all accounts, Facebook has failed to capitalize fully on the mobile experience, while Google has fully integrated Google+ into its mobile apps and mobile functionalities.
Of course, the ads will almost certainly come. It’ll be interesting to see if Google+ maintains its scores when they do. And for all the apparent concern about privacy, there was been clearly no mass abandonment from Facebook in favor of Google+. That doesn’t surprise me. People often cite privacy concerns in surveys yet continue to use the same products they have concerns with.
Overall: Social Media Satisfaction Is Low
ACSI gathers its scores from interviews with around 70,000 customers, the survey says. This is the third year it has measured social media. Overall, the category dropped one point to 69, making it one of the lowest scoring categories in terms of customer satisfaction that ACSI measures.
In fact, the only things with worst customer satisfactions, says ACSI, are subscription television services (66 points), print newspapers (65 points) and airlines (65 points). Ouch.
ACSI also released new search engine satisfaction scores today. See our story on that: Search Engine Satisfaction Dips Slightly; Google & Bing Effectively Tied.