- Consumer satisfaction with e-businesses is down 0.8% — the first decline in four years — representing 74.3 on a 100-point scale, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report. The main reason cited for the drop was user dissatisfaction with internet news, opinion websites, search engines and information websites.
- While online news sites were a source of dissatisfaction — traditional outlets like Fox News, The New York Times and MSNBC, in aggregate, lost 1.3% of their share to reach a score of 76 — social media was the only category unaffected. At the same time, users increasingly view social media as a news source. ACSI found Twitter was the biggest gainer and actually overtook Facebook with an 8% increase to reach a score of 70. Pinterest had the second highest score at 78 with a 3% increase.
- In the search engine category, Google fell 2% to 82, but maintains a large 9-point lead over both Bing and Yahoo at 73. AOL was the only search and information site to register an increase at 1% to hit a score of 70.
ASCI's report underscores how a negative view toward the media online can ultimately impact overall customer satisfaction. This point is becoming increasingly pertinent for marketers as divided political times inevitably lead to stronger waves of consumer backlash and increase the demand for things like advertiser boycotts of websites that don't align with a particular audience's viewpoint.
In early June, it was reported that the far-right news outlet Breitbart had lost 90% of its advertisers over a three-month period, reflecting the growing power of grassroots movements like Sleeping Giants, which targeted and called out brands that still appeared on the site. For brands that continue to support and advertise on sites that prove divisive — and, stemming from that, cause dissatisfaction — that dissatisfaction might then grow to impact their e-businesses.
ASCI highlighted changing reader perceptions of news and opinion websites that are starting to lose some of the glow they gained during the most recent U.S. election season. In contrast, this year saw drops among all the largest websites, hurting customer satisfaction with the overall internet news and opinion category down 1.3% to a score of 75.
Another interesting point brought up by the ASCI report is the view on social media. Even as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter increasingly become the lead aggregators and disseminators of news online, their impact on the e-biz space has remained relatively stable, or at least hasn't harmed customer satisfaction as signifcantly.