Search engine customer satisfaction declining

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Internet News

No satisfaction

A survey has revealed that customer satisfaction with e-businesses, including search engines and social networks, is at its lowest in ten years.

Published yesterday, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report has put user happiness across search engines, portals and social networks at an average of 71.3 per cent - the lowest it has been since 2003.

The satisfaction level for the search engines category came in at 76, down 3.8 per cent on the 2012 results, and its lowest since 2007. All the major search engines saw a dip in satisfaction from the 2012 results, with Google at 77 - its lowest ever - and Bing and Yahoo scoring 76, although the worst performer was AOL at 71.

Social media didn't fare any better, with an overall satisfaction level of just 68. Facebook and LinkedIn were bottom of the table at 62 per cent, but Google Plus saw the biggest drop in satisfaction year-on-year. These low levels put the social media industry as the second worst the ACSI measures, surpassed only by internet service providers.

Ads annoyance

Further data from the survey suggests that poor quality advertisements could be one of the reasons for the dissatisfaction. 22 per cent of respondents said the quality of the ads is the thing they like least about search engines, while MSN and Yahoo scored above that average. As for social, 19 per cent of users said ads interfered with their experience - Facebook scored highest here, with 27 per cent saying they were annoyed by the adverts.

In July 2012, Google launched Mute This Ad - a button that allows the user to remove an ad or campaign they deem to be irrelevant or low quality.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, commented: "Advertising always has been, and always will be, an essential part of the internet economy, particularly in search and social. Of course, this should be tempered by customer satisfaction levels, as frustration could lead to lower click through rates - but perhaps the answer is better targeting and more intriguing formats, so that ads help users rather than ruin the experience."

Search engine customer satisfaction levels

Search engine 2013 Satisfaction (%) 2012 Satisfaction (%) Change
Google 77 82 -5
Bing 76 81 -5
Yahoo 76 78 -2
MSN 74 78 -4
AOL 71 74 -3
Others 70 80 -10