- User satisfaction for social media slipped 2.8% this year to a score of 70 on a scale of 1 to 100, as Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube experienced declines ranging from 1% to 4%. In contrast, Facebook, Snapchat and Tumblr saw gains of 1% to 3%, per the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
- Facebook for the second straight year had the lowest customer satisfaction score among social platforms. The social media giant's score of 64, a 2% improvement from 2019, was lower than those for Pinterest (77), YouTube (75), Snapchat (72), Instagram (71), Twitter (68) and Tumblr (66). Instagram's score was the lowest since ACSI started surveying consumers in 2015.
- Customer satisfaction with the quality of social media apps was stable, gaining by 1 point to a rating of 81 this year from 80 in 2019, while the reliability rating also rose 1 point to 79. Social media sites saw the worst customer satisfaction ratings for privacy (69), number of ads (69) and relevance of content (71) among the sectors that ACSI tracks.
Social media sites saw declines in customer satisfaction in the past year despite a surge in online activity during the coronavirus pandemic. The industry is among the bottom five in ACSI's ratings, alongside subscription TV services, internet service providers, video-on-demand services and fixed-line telephone service. Breweries, personal care and cleaning products, food manufacturing and soft drinks are among the highest-rated products and services, per ACSI.
The poor customer satisfaction rating for social media is tied to consumer perceptions about how these platforms handle data privacy, for which the satisfaction score fell to a record low of 69. ACSI attributed the drop to incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal that dogged Facebook in 2018 and led to a record $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission. The survey period ended on June 8 this year, before Facebook faced an advertiser boycott to protest its policies on hate speech, though ACSI mentioned the movement as being negative for how people perceive the social network. Twitter last month experienced a highly publicized data breach, which also happened after ACSI's study period ended. Still, the findings indicate that social media companies need to improve their data privacy practices and make them more transparent, or the industry will continue to rank low in customer satisfaction.
Social media users also want to see faster and more reliable video performance, with the satisfaction score for this service unchanged at 74, while score for the ease of uploading and editing photos and videos fell to a low of 73. Consumers also expressed less satisfaction with the freshness and relevance of content. Considering that social media sites depend on users to generate content, they may need to do more work to urge people to post more frequently and customize what people see based on their online behavior.
As in the past, consumers aren't satisfied with the volume of advertising on social media, though the industry showed a slight improvement from the prior year. That better rating may indicate that social media apps and sites have either lessened their ad load or improved the relevance of ads.