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Google+ Satisfies While Facebook Slides

5 Social Networks To Achieve 10 Business Tasks
5 Social Networks To Achieve 10 Business Tasks

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Google+ has taken the lead in user satisfaction among social networks, according to a survey released Tuesday, while rival Facebook has set a new record-low score.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report, released in conjunction with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, showed Google+ gaining ground in customer satisfaction while Facebook moved in the opposite direction.

Google+, the social network that Google launched only a year ago, scored 78 on a 100-point scale. Google in June said Google+ has reached 250 million registered users, 150 million monthly users, and 75 million daily active users. In February, Facebook claimed in its prospectus to have over 845 million monthly users and over 425 million daily active users.

ACSI's analysis suggested that Google+ has benefited from an appealing mobile app and integration with popular Google services like Search, YouTube, and Gmail. "In addition, the Google+ social network is not inundated with the kind of advertising that seems to irritate many Facebook and other social media users," the organization said.

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Among all the industry sectors surveyed, the highest score this year was 82, for FedEx's consumer shipping service. The highest score of all time, 87, was recorded last year for credit unions, a likely consequence of dissatisfaction with large banks and rising fees.

Facebook scored 61, a decline of five points, almost 8%, from its 2011 rating and significantly more than the overall 1.4% decline in satisfaction with social media. ACSI attributed Facebook's fall to ongoing privacy concerns, excessive advertising, and design changes.

"Facebook's drop coincides with the release of its Timeline profile, a significant change to the look and organization of its pages," the organization said. "Users complain that they cannot opt out of the new profile design. The big drop in user satisfaction--coming on the heels of Facebook's somewhat disorderly IPO--doesn't bode well for reversing the company's sliding stock price."

At the same time, ACSI suggested that Facebook may not feel much impact from displeasing its users because there's no rival of comparable size and because the switching costs, in terms of user time and energy, are too high.

Three social networking sites debuted in the ACSI rankings this year: Pinterest (69), LinkedIn (63), and Twitter (64). The average score for the social media category is 69.

The ACSI findings aren't all good news for Google. While Google Search scored an impressive 82 in customer satisfaction, Microsoft's Bing came in right behind it at 81. Google isn't likely to lose customers because they're quite happy with Google Search, but if Google slips up, Microsoft's Bing appears to be ready to make gains.