Google+ may not be the first brand to jump to mind among social networks, but its users are the happiest, according to the latest findings of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). With a high score of 81 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, Google+ improves user satisfaction year-over-year by 7%, jumping ahead of several larger social media contenders. With its smaller, more niche-like customer base, Google+ scores far ahead of social media giant Facebook, steady at 68 following its 9% tumble a year ago. Google+ appears to be serving its dedicated user base well with new features and a site redesign launched earlier this year. Google+ may also benefit from its seamless integration with other Google products across the platform.
The biggest gain in social media, however, belongs to Twitter, up 8% to 70 and overtaking Facebook. Social media is becoming an increasingly popular and vital platform for up-to-the-minute news, and Twitter has made its mark—all the way to the White House. And while Twitter surges for user satisfaction, every single major news website stumbles this year in ACSI. For the internet news and opinion category overall, user satisfaction drops 1.3% to 75.
Compared with social media (73) and internet news (75), search engine and information websites stay just ahead with an overall score of 76, despite a 1.3% downturn. The top name in search and information websites continues its reign unchallenged as Google dominates with a score of 82 (-2%). The nearest competitors are Bing, down 3%, and Yahoo!, down 1%—both much lower at 73. The latter now operates under the subsidiary Oath following its acquisition by Verizon. Another Oath brand, AOL, is the only search and information site to improve, inching up 1% to 70. Nevertheless, AOL remains ahead of just one other site—last-place Answers.com (68).
Regardless of category, the standout displeasure among consumers is the amount of advertising on websites. With scores ranging from 66 to 69, advertising rates as the worst aspect of the customer experience this year and shows deterioration over the last four years.