Social media websites—previously stuck in the bottom 5 among 40+ industries measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index—unleash a tide of improved user satisfaction ratings in 2015, led by a 12% year-on-year leap for social-networking juggernaut Facebook.
Across the industry, user satisfaction is up since 2014. Pinners remain the most satisfied user group, bumping up their assessment of Pinterest to 78. Wikipedia, YouTube, and Instagram follow in a tight configuration, scoring 76 to 77, just ahead of a greatly improved Facebook.
Between 2011 and 2014, Facebook either held last place alone or tied with LinkedIn for the worst user satisfaction in this already low-scoring category. With a steady three-year climb, Facebook hits the middle of the pack (75), while LinkedIn continues to anchor the bottom (68).
ACSI data point to three key areas where users perceive improvement in their experience with social media websites this year: advertising, privacy, and mobile access.
In 2014, advertising and privacy protection were the least satisfying aspects of the social media user experience. With the advent of more targeted advertising, users encounter fewer ads to sort through—speeding up the experience and lowering frustration. Social media sites also are paying more attention to privacy concerns and are doing a much better job of protecting personal information.
For a user base that is increasingly on the go, mobile access is critical and social media seems to be getting it right—better than search or news sites at present. Social media rates highest for ease of use on different devices, such as tablets or smartphones. And while news and opinion websites receive the best score for performance on a desktop, social media is the leader for both access via mobile browser and access via mobile app.
At a time when smartphone market penetration is at 75%, social media is proving adept at making the mobile experience work for users.