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7 Intriguing Online Review Insights With B2B SaaS Reviews Founder

December 6, 2023

industry insights 7 online review insights

It's no secret that customer reviews are an essential part of the purchasing process for software buyers. 

In our current digital age, where instant gratification and convenience reign supreme, online reviews provide buyers with the trusted voice of the customer in a matter of seconds. 

But just how important are they when making purchasing decisions? 

To answer this question, we at B2B SaaS Reviews conducted two surveys – one for B2B software buyers and one for B2C customers. We also looked at recent G2 research to round out our analysis.

Our surveys revealed intriguing insights related to the use and influence of online reviews among both sets of consumers, including the sense of trust surrounding reviews, when and how they’re used in the buyer’s process, and what buyers want more of from reviews. 

1. Most B2B buyers use reviews and refer to them often

According to the 2023 G2 Software Buyer Behavior Report, the vast majority of B2B buyers, 84%, use review sites. 

That’s a big ratio, but for our survey, we also wanted to find out how often B2B buyers read reviews before purchasing. 

As it turns out, nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) buyers who read reviews relied on them either “often” or “always,” suggesting that most value depends on the experiences of their peers when making a purchase. 

If, instead, most buyers looked at reviews but only on rare or specific occasions, that would imply something different.

how often buyers look at reviews

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

Food for thought: When buying business software products, do you read user reviews on review sites?

2. Many B2B SaaS customers refer to review sites at different stages

Our survey showed that most B2B purchasers refer to review sites during all stages of their buying journey, not just at the cusp of their purchasing decision.

Buying journey phases:

  • Awareness: Initially researching potential solutions (64%).
  • Consideration: Shortlisting products for further evaluation (68%).
  • Decision: Ensuring they make the right choice before finalizing the purchase (54%).

buyers referring to reviews at different buying stages

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

Food for thought: At which stage(s) of the buying process do you use business software review sites?

While B2B businesses generally struggle to engage with buyers early in the buying process, this finding shows that user review sites provide an effective channel for vendors to engage buyers before they try your product or meet with your sales team. This reflects the considered nature of the typical B2B software purchase decision. 

3. Younger users of B2B software rely on reviews more

The data from our survey indicates a small but noticeable gap in review site adoption between age groups. Older buyers tend to turn less frequently to review sites than younger ones. In comparison, younger buyers seem to turn to reviews routinely. 

age group data for review sites

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

As millennials and Gen Zers expand their presence across all workforce levels, this finding suggests that the prominence of reviews and review sites will only continue to grow.

4. The number of review contributors is increasing, but there's room for growth

As more B2B buyers read reviews, they are also writing more reviews.

In just the first ten years of online business software reviews, there are now over 5 million user reviews – the lion’s share (2 million) of which are located on G2, according to the latest State of Software report.

Food for thought: Do you ever write user reviews for business software products?

g2 reviews by quarter

Source: G2’s Q4 2023 State of Software Report

Our survey shows that 87% of business software review site users said they have also contributed a review. That means that most users are also taking the time to contribute reviews themselves, which would be an encouraging trend for the sustainability and relevance of review sites.

However, among these users, 39% say they've written less than a few reviews. This leaves plenty of room for growth and encourages users to contribute reviews regularly. 

how often users write reviews

5. B2B buyers trust indirect information sources more than direct ones

For our survey, we asked B2B buyers to gauge their level of trust in different information sources. The trust is rated on a scale of 1-5, where 1 represents  "no trust at all" and 5 is "complete trust."

Compared to indirect sources like their peers or online communities, buyers displayed less trust in information from vendors or their sales teams.

user review trust levels

source trust levels

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

Further, with many B2B buyers displaying higher trust in review sites and turning to them often in the buying process, it is no surprise that Accel found a positive correlation between a SaaS company's G2 Average Score and their growth by employees.

g2 average score and growth

Source: Accel Analysis, G2 - Accel Euroscape 2023

Now that we understand how online reviews influence B2B buyers, let’s look at how their behaviors differ in a B2C context. 

6. B2B buyers indicate that software reviews have more sway than reviews for consumer goods and services

When we asked business software buyers how influential business software reviews are compared to consumer reviews for hotels, restaurants, Amazon products, etc., in their purchase decisions, it was clear that reviews held more weight in the B2B decision-making process.

influence of reviews

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

Food for thought: How influential are business software reviews compared to consumer reviews for hotels, restaurants, Amazon products, etc., in your purchase decisions?

If we break out the 62% of business software buyers who find B2B reviews more influential than B2C reviews, we see that 21% of buyers find B2B reviews much more significant in their choices.

b2b review influence

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

The picture isn’t all rosy, however. Review site users do limit their reliance on reviews to an extent due to a few key concerns. 

7. B2C consumers have more issues with review authenticity than B2B buyers

We found significant differences between what consumers want from B2C reviews and what business software buyers want from B2B reviews.

review site issues in b2c vs b2b

Source: 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews

Food for thought: Which of these, if any, are issues with review sites that limit your use of them?

Both B2C and B2B buyers have some issues with the current state of reviews. The main concern for B2C users in our survey was the authenticity of reviews, with 61% expressing doubts, while 50% of B2B users felt the same. Shallow review content concerned 45% of B2C and 40% of B2B respondents. 

B2B buyers were relatively more skeptical of the user ratings on reviews (49%) than B2C (40%) participants. Additionally, 45% of the B2B segment found issues finding relatable reviewers, compared to only 38% of B2C users.

These findings reflect the scale and nature of reviews in each space. The B2B review sites focus on quality over quantity by verifying every review for authenticity and asking more from reviewers (creating more in-depth review content). 

The B2C review sites get a higher proportion of organic reviews and a much higher volume of reviews, leading to less concern about review relatability and rating skepticism. 

Let's review

The analysis of online reviews reveals their critical impact on consumer and business purchase behaviors, underscoring the trust in peer feedback over vendor promises. 

It is evident that online reviews are more than just opinions; they are a form of currency in the digital economy, guiding purchase decisions and shaping buyer behaviors across industries.

While there are concerns over authenticity and depth, the trend toward peer-influenced purchasing is only growing, with younger generations leading the charge. 

These insights underscore the increasing necessity for companies to actively manage their online presence and engage with review platforms as a critical element of their marketing and customer relationship strategies.

If you’re looking to learn more about the state of online reviews in B2C and B2B buyers, read these two survey reports from B2B SaaS Reviews:

*Data for the B2B SaaS Reviews 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews report was sourced from Centiment via an online survey. There were responses from 411 US-based software buyers who answered “yes” to a qualifying question: “Do you read user reviews on review sites when buying business software products?”

**Data for the B2B SaaS Reviews 2023 State of B2C Online Reviews report was sourced from SurveyMonkey via an online survey. There were responses from 276 US consumers aged 21-59 who have used one of these three online consumer review sites in the last 30 days: Angie’s List (Angi), ConsumerAffairs, or Yelp.

industry insights Thirsty for more?

Check out Industry Insights from other impressive global leaders!

industry insights Thirsty for more?

Check out Industry Insights from other impressive global leaders!

7 Intriguing Online Review Insights With B2B SaaS Reviews Founder Unlock the secrets of software buying with Joe Kevens! Dive into B2B SaaS Reviews' surveys and review insights about buyer trust, usage, and preferences.
Joe Kevens Joe Kevens is the Founder of B2B SaaS Reviews, a media site that covers the online reviews space. He’s also the Director of Demand Generation at PartnerStack. Previously, he’s been in marketing and sales roles at LevelJump (acquired by Salesforce), Influitive, and Eloqua (acquired by Oracle). Joe, his wife, and their daughter live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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