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Customer satisfaction for e-Business rises despite social media falloff

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Customer satisfaction for e-Business rises despite social media falloff

Advertising hurts satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction with e-business has increased, despite big drops for social media superstars Facebook and Twitter, according to new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The e-business segment, which includes social media, search engines and information websites, and news and opinion websites, improved for a third consecutive year, edging up 0.7%. The data shows that advertising is the most important factor weighing down e-business customer satisfaction.

"Consumers have not fully accepted advertising as a necessary cost for online services they have come to expect as free," says Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder. "There is little companies can do to change that perception beyond making sure that those advertisements are relevant and nondisruptive."

Social Media: Big Drops for Big Brands 
Big drops for Facebook and Twitter pulled customer satisfaction with the social media category lower to 73 on the 100-point scale, a decrease of 1.4%. Facebook declined 9% to 68, while Twitter fell 8% to 65. Both social media platforms made news for how their algorithms determine what is displayed in user news feeds, but for different reasons. Facebook changed what was highlighted on users' news feed and made headlines for potential bias in trending news. For Twitter, the issue is its departure from a reverse-chronological feed to something more like Facebook.

Wikipedia matched its peak ACSI score of 78, moving up 1% to regain first place among major social media websites. Google's YouTube added 1% to 77, a new high for the video platform.

"It's impossible for global brands with massive user bases like Facebook and Twitter to make everyone happy, and both are trying to do so much," says ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg. "YouTube and Wikipedia are different in that they provide a very specialized and focused experience. YouTube has redefined video-on-demand, whereas millions of people find Wikipedia a useful starting point for information on nearly everything." 

Professional networking platform LinkedIn lost 4%, joining Twitter in last place among social media websites.

According to survey, customer satisfaction is slightly higher on mobile platforms, with mobile apps scoring 73 and mobile browsers at 72. On desktop or laptop, social media scored 71. Most customer experience benchmarks remained at par with last year, with two notable exceptions. Privacy scored 5% lower at 73, and advertising dove 7 percent to 69.

"Advertisers are attracted to the digital platform because it allows them to hypertarget the customer, but this is only possible because of the availability of massive troves of consumer data," says Fornell. "Consumers may willingly give up some privacy and personal data in order to use these services, but it doesn't mean they're happy with the bargain."

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