For the first time, social media platforms were included in recent reports on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The platforms included Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia and YouTube. ForeSee Results recently released their Annual E-Business Report that highlighted the surveys key findings. The complete report can be found here: http://www.foreseeresults.com/research-white-papers/_downloads/foresee-results-annual-ebusiness-report-2010.pdf
The results revealed that users are dissatisfied with social media sites and in fact, social media sites had the lowest industry aggregate score of ANY of the e-business or e-retail industries measured by the ACSI. Among the platforms measured, MySpace and Facebook had the lowest scores with YouTube ranking only 10 points higher. Wikipedia.org had the highest satisfaction ranking of all the included social media platforms.
According to ForeSee’s report, Facebook’s performance was ‘abysmal’. Of the 30 online companies surveyed, Facebook and MySpace were the two lowest-scoring sites. Frankly, I’m not surprised. Facebook is one of the least intuitive platforms I have ever worked with. The report states that when asked what they liked LEAST about Facebook, respondents had this to say:
- Privacy and security concerns
- Complaints about the technology that controls the news feed
- Dislike of the advertising
- Constant and unpredictable interface changes
- Navigation troubles
- Annoying applications
As the report points out there is no shortage of complaints about Facebook. But despite that fact, Facebook continues to grow and has all but become THE social network. The report cites several possible reasons for this including:
- Facebook has a monopoly, having surged to 500 million global users there is no other choice for users wanting to connect
- Customer dissatisfaction with Facebook skews to an older demographic, youngsters aren’t as impacted
- Facebook provides benefits that override the poor user experience
- Facebook acts as a storage place for users photos, video’s etc. and switching platforms would be a major inconvenience
While there may not be any major competitor for Facebook at the moment, that won’t always be the case. If customer satisfaction doesn’t improve, Facebook may find itself being a ‘has-been’ in a few years. In the meantime, we can all suffer together.
Wikipedia and YouTube Sells
Another report finding included some interesting stats surrounding the top social media performers, Wikipedia.org and YouTube. Users appreciated the lack of advertising on Wikipedia and perhaps this is one contributor to the site’s loyal fan base. Surprisingly the report states that 15% of Wikipedia users are seeking out product recommendations and 10% of users have actually purchased products that were recommended on Wikipedia. This stat is impressive when compared to other social media sites:
Platform/% of users that have purchased products recommended on the site
While YouTube has tons of advertising, their user-base is equally as loyal and even more likely to make a purchase. Survey respondents cited that YouTube advertising is much less annoying than on other platforms. On the other hand, they also mentioned that is was less relevant. Currently, Facebook’s ability to use behavioral targeting has trumped Google’s outdated keyword platform. However, Google continues to improve and incorporate behavioral targeting tools that may someday be comparable to Facebook. With 14% of all YouTube users making a purchase based upon recommendations found on the site, YouTube advertising is certainly as viable as Facebook.
Several key determinations can be made from this new customer satisfaction data. The most striking is the ability for consumers to tolerate bad user experience for the perceived benefit of staying in touch with friends and family. Just another symptom of our culture’s isolation and attempt at creating a sense of community.
In terms of using platforms to market a service or product, I would recommend taking a second look at YouTube. With 2% more users making purchases than Facebook, it could be a better bet for your marketing dollar. Also worth studying, Wikipedia. It’s not possible to buy advertising on the site, but researching the pages surrounding your industry may present some opportunities for exposure.
ForeSee’s Annual eBusiness Report: http://www.foreseeresults.com/research-white-papers/_downloads/foresee-results-annual-ebusiness-report-2010.pdf