The social media market is primed for a new player that allows users to connect with friends, according to the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index(ACSI) E-Business Report, produced in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee Results. Despite a small improvement this year, Facebook (+3% to 66) is the lowest-scoring site, not only in the social media category, but of all measured companies in this report. The survey was conducted last month, before the widespread introduction of Facebook’s biggest competitor, Google+, but Facebook’s low score indicates that Google+ could easily pounce and gain market share if they can provide a superior customer experience.
“We don’t know yet how Google+ will fare, but what we do know is that Google is one of the highest-scoring companies in the ACSI and Facebook is one of the lowest,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. “An existing dominance of market share like Facebook has is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience.”
Facebook is just one story emerging from today’s report. The ACSI E-Business Report covers three categories of e-business: social media, portals and search engines, and online news. This is the twelfth annual report of its kind, allowing companies and analysts to track the performance of these organizations over time by a critical metric: customer satisfaction.
Social Media: Wikipedia (+1% to 78) takes the top spot, while YouTube (+1% to 74) comes in a distant second. MySpace drops from this year’s Index because there were not enough users to create a statistically significant sample. Overall, social media is one of the lowest-scoring industries measured by the ACSI—only airlines, newspapers, and subscription television services score lower.
Search Engines and Portals: Google leads the search engine and portals category (up 4% to 83), but Bing follows closely, jumping an impressive 7% in one year to 82. Anything over 80 is generally considered an excellent score. Bing has grown in market share over the last year and makes up roughly 17% of the search engine market, up from 9% last year.
“While Google+ is the challenger to Facebook’s established dominance in the social media sphere, in the search engine wars, Google is king and Bing is hoping to be a contender,” added Freed. “Last year, Google’s customer satisfaction score was three points higher than Bing’s. This year, that gap narrows to one point. Bing is showing it can challenge Google in terms of revenue, market share, and the customer experience.”