DETROIT: When it comes to their interaction with social media sites, consumers are happiest about ease of navigation, mobile compatibility and site performance, but they are least satisfied with privacy protections and intrusive ads.

That is according to the latest data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) 2018 E-Business Report, which is based on responses from 5,169 consumers collected between mid-July 2017 and June 28, 2018.

ACSI uses a 100-point scale to rate consumer attitudes across five industries, including three in the e-business category, and revealed in its latest report that the social media industry’s overall user satisfaction score dropped 1.4 percentage points to 72 over the last year.

While a score of 72 may sound respectable, ACSI noted that social media lagged behind the two other e-business categories, with internet news and opinion scoring 75 and internet search engines and information reaching a score of 79.

According to ACSI, Facebook (-1% to 67), LinkedIn (+2% to 66) and Twitter (-6% to 66) have the least satisfied users among the nine social media platforms under analysis.

ACSI found that “users rate Facebook’s privacy protection as the worst in social media, its ads as the most intrusive, its navigation and video speed poor, and its content stale”.

YouTube gained one percentage point to reach an ACSI score of 75, with users reporting satisfaction with its video speed and upgrades that have improved live-streaming.

But Instagram – so often cited as a favourite among younger consumers – fell four percent to 72, with users criticising its site performance, outdated content and more intrusive ads.

Tumblr received a score of 68, a point above Facebook, but the clear winner is Pinterest, the popular image-collection site, whose ACSI score rose three percentage points to 80, its highest ever.

According to ACSI, Pinterest customers give it high marks for both its amount of advertising and its privacy protection. “While ads tend to have a dampening effect on satisfaction, Pinterest is a notable exception: its advertising rates [are] on par with Wikipedia, which has no ads,” the report said.

Overall, social media sites have improved mobile compatibility (up 1 percent to 76) since the last report – and they receive high scores for ease of navigation (76) – but their privacy protection score dropped one percent to match its all-time low of 71, while the amount of ads on sites received an all-time-low score of 68.

Commenting on the findings, ACSI managing director David VanAmburg said: “Privacy concerns, bots, and toxic online discourse have taken their toll on social media. But users report they’re even less satisfied with the amount of advertising on social media sites than with privacy protections.

“Privacy is important to users, but is often in the back of their mind. Advertising is in their face, and unlike with TV and radio, where they’re used to advertising, users don’t want to be inundated with ads while looking at pictures of their grandkids or watch a commercial before a YouTube video.”

Sourced from ACSI; additional content by WARC staff