Software Advice Content Methodologies


Editorial Mission Statement

Software Advice is a trusted, objective resource for software buyers. We publish a unique mix of highly relevant content—including software reviews, original research and analysis, expert opinions, product comparisons and more—tailored to what SMBs need to make better purchase decisions. We educate buyers about available solutions and provide actionable insights and advice to help solve their most pressing pain points and improve their business.

The following are Software Advice’s ranking and research methodologies. It’s important to note that these methodologies are constantly evolving. While many of our analyses are based on robust data collection, some are based on opinion and market expertise. If you have any questions, please contact our research manager, John Leslie (johnleslie@softwareadvice.com).

FrontRunners

FrontRunners quadrants highlight the top software products for North American small businesses. All products in the quadrant are top performers. Small businesses can use FrontRunners to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. Scores are based largely on reviews from real software users, along with other product performance details (e.g., what features they offer, how many customers they have). The detailed methdology can be found here.

Reviewers' Choice

The Reviewers’ Choice graphic illustrates a weighted reviews rating for products in three categories of reviews ratings: Overall, Ease of Use and Customer Support. Markets are defined by a core set of functionality, and products considered for, and included in, Reviewers’ Choice must offer that core set of functionality.

To qualify for consideration in Reviewers’ Choice for a software category, a product must have at least 10 unique user-submitted product reviews across the three Gartner Digital Markets web properties: softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com. The detailed methodology can be found here.

Most Popular

Our ranking system reflects well-rounded, all-purpose solutions that maintain a foothold in the market. But since popularity is a vague term, we came up with a methodology for assessing it. To arrive at the rankings presented, we took one of two approaches (depending on the market): 

  1. We analyzed products according to search traffic for the brand name, or;
  2.  
  3. We analyzed products according to the number of users, search traffic and social followers. (We’ll explain how we calculated each of these.)

Number of Users
To arrive at this information, we conducted an independent online user survey—screening our sample to ensure it only included actual software users—to find out which systems they’re using. We gathered unique responses from a random sample of between 200 and 576 users. (This factor was weighted the most heavily.) 

Search Traffic
Search traffic is an important measure of popularity, as many online searches related to the product’s name are performed by current users of the software or potential buyers. We factored in how many online searches are performed each month in major search engines for terms related to the names of listed software products. (This factor was weighted the second-most heavily.)

Social Media Followers
Another important measure of online popularity: The number of followers vendors have on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This helps indicate how loyal their customers are to the brand. (This factor was weighted the least heavily.)

By combining all of these sources of information into a single score, we reveal not only which vendors have garnered the most users, but also how much customer loyalty and overall consumer interest these vendors have inspired.

Results are representative of our survey sample, not necessarily the population as a whole. Sources attributed and products referenced in this article may or may not represent client vendors of Software Advice, but vendor status is never used as a basis for selection. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Highest Rated

To arrive at the rankings presented, we analyzed user reviews collected on SoftwareAdvice.com. We averaged user ratings for likelihood to recommend, ease of use, functionality, quality and customer support among vendors with at least 15 reviews. This resulted in an overall score between one and five stars. The list is ranked from highest to lowest score.

Easiest to Use

To arrive at the rankings presented, we analyzed user reviews collected on SoftwareAdvice.com, averaging user ratings for ease of use among vendors with at least 15 reviews. This resulted in an overall score between one and five stars. The list is ranked from highest to lowest score.

Lowest Cost

To arrive at the rankings presented, we analyzed pricing data collected from the vendor and/or online. We used this information to create five price ranges for each market. Each vendor is assigned “$” to “$$$$$,” based on which price range they fall into. Vendors with the lowest cost relative to comparative products are represented by a value of “$.” 

BuyerView/Buyer Report

All Business Sizes

Our advisors regularly speak with buyers who contact Software Advice seeking new software. The data used to create BuyerView reports is collected by our advisors during those interactions for commercial purposes rather than for market research. We randomly select 385 of these interactions over specified periods of time and in certain countries to analyze (depending on the scope of the project).

These findings exclusively represent buyers who contacted Software Advice for guidance on software selection, and may not be indicative of the market as a whole. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Small-Business BuyerView

Our advisors regularly speak with buyers who contact Software Advice. To create these reports, we randomly select 385 of our advisors’ phone interactions with small-business buyers (from companies with annual revenues of $50 million or less) over specified periods of time and in certain countries to analyze (depending on the scope of the project). Data is collected for commercial purposes rather than for market research.  

These findings exclusively represent those buyers who contacted Software Advice for guidance on software selection, and may not be indicative of the market as a whole. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

UserView/User Report

UserView reports are based on survey data. To collect responses, we email survey invitations to software buyers who contacted Software Advice for guidance in their software-selection process. Additional responses are collected by a third-party research sample firm and other sample providers. All results are obtained in a fair and anonymous manner.

Results are representative of our survey sample, not necessarily the population as a whole. User commentary solely represents the views of individuals. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

IndustryView

To collect data for these reports, we conduct online surveys of varying length. Our sample size is usually between 200 and 385 people. Responses come from a random sample of the target population within the U.S. and/or other countries (depending on the scope of the report). We screen our sample to only include respondents who fit the specified criteria. Software Advice performs and funds this research independently.

Results are representative of our survey sample, not necessarily the population as a whole. Sources attributed and products referenced may or may not represent client vendors of Software Advice, but vendor status is never used as a basis for selection. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Case Studies

We profile both client vendors of Software Advice and vendors with which we have no financial relationship. Our decision to profile a product is based on our independent research indicating that it is a leading solution in the market today. We are always looking for new vendors to profile.

Versus

This information was gathered through independent research, as well as by contacting product vendors and/or vendor-affiliated implementation consultants. We also evaluated the proprietary reviews data and user rankings submitted to us through Software Advice’s website. All of our data undergoes a robust peer-review process to ensure accuracy.

Alternatives

The “most asked-about alternatives” are the products most commonly searched for online in conjunction with the titular product. To identify these products, we evaluated how many online searches are performed each month in major search engines for product terms in conjunction with the titular product (e.g.,"Product Y versus Product X," "Product Y Product X comparison," etc.). 

To determine the “top user-rated alternatives,” we analyzed our proprietary user reviews data. We calculated the average overall ratings provided by users on each product on a scale from one to five (where five is best).

Market/Category Pages

Product Dollar Sign Ratings

Every product on our site is assigned a price rating. These are based on an analysis of pricing data used to create five tiers that align with the distribution of prices in the market.

Software Advice conducts research on the starting price for each software product. We then normalize those prices (and units of pricing) to get an apples-to-apples comparison. Based on the range of normalized prices, we apply a scale that distributes price points across five ratings, where one dollar sign ($) represents products with the lowest starting prices, and five dollar signs the highest.

This rating does not indicate how much a product costs, but rather where it falls in the range of prices for the market overall.

Product “Recommended” Percentage

Our recommended percentage is derived from information we collect from software users who leave a review on our site. Reviewers are asked to rank on a scale from one to 10 how likely they are to recommend a product to a friend or colleague.

We then collect those responses and calculate the average, arriving at the overall likelihood (expressed as a percentage) of users to recommend this software.


Media Contact
Rachel Ramsey
Director, Media Relations
(512) 364-0131
rachelramsey@softwareadvice.com