G2 Brings Yelp’s Peer Advice Model to Software Reviews

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The martech space is booming. The average business now runs upwards of 120 tools and technology platforms. Social media, content management, demand generation, project management, and customer relationships are just a handful of the categories that brands have added to their stack in recent years. 

While firm numbers are hard to come by, estimates show there may be as many as 8,000 martech options on the market. At many companies, digital channels picked up the slack as marketers retooled their strategies during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Reliance on martech solutions skyrocketed during 2020 and the first half of 2021. That rapid growth has made it harder for brand marketers to navigate the space. 

With businesses relying so much on digital channels, making the right choice on which software to use and technology firms to partner with has never been more difficult.

The founders of G2 have come up with a solution. G2 is a software marketplace that publishes reviews from actual software users, rather than relying on industry analysis. The company recently raised $157 million in Series D funding from investors including Hubspot Ventures, Salesforce Investors, and LinkedIn.

With the digitization of software having only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and almost all businesses being forced to quickly shift to digital collaboration and remote work, G2 Chief Marketing Officer Amanda Malko says software marketplaces are even more necessary today than they were when G2 was founded back in 2012. G2 now reaches more than 60 million software buyers annually, with more than 1.4 million user reviews. 

“Software is typically one of the largest expenses for any business, so making a wrong decision can be costly,” Malko says. 

Small businesses traditionally have relied on word-of-mouth advice to choose their martech software, without any kind of centralized, trusted source for information. Enterprise software buyers, meanwhile, have historically relied on analyst reports. However, Malko says those reports are often slow and hinge on an analyst’s individual perspective. These challenges opened up an opportunity for G2 to disrupt the traditional model and elevate customer voices through peer reviews.

“We’re all familiar with TripAdvisor for travel and Yelp for restaurants, so we use that free, real-time peer advice model to consumerize software buying and ultimately make it as easy for software buyers as it is for consumers to find reviews and trusted insights online,” she says.

G2’s target user base is software buyers and sellers. Buyers use the marketplace to learn about different categories of software and read reviews that can inform their purchase decisions. Sellers, which are typically marketers at software companies, can get their products in front of buyers. G2’s software customers include heavy hitters like Adobe, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoom. 

Competitors in the space, like Gartner and Forrester, are still focusing on the traditional analyst model. G2 sees itself as a disruptor, taking a different approach to rating technology and software buying. G2’s platform works in real-time, whereas analyst reports can take years to research and produce. Malko notes that G2’s model is also data and AI-driven, using natural language processing and artificial intelligence to find key insights in real-time based on millions of aggregated user options and billions of data points from across the digital landscape. G2 adds additional reports when a new category is created or when an existing category has reached a tipping point where the volume of software products warrants a report being created.

“Our model is also scalable with thousands of categories and 100,000-plus products on an open platform where all buyers and providers can participate at no charge,” Malko says. 

To sustain the company’s continued growth, Malko says G2 needs to scale, recognizing that the nature of work has changed. Like many other companies, G2 has transitioned to a hybrid, remote model.

“We need to continue to demonstrate the power of our platform for software marketers and salespeople. That starts with showcasing the power of peer customer voice,” Malko says. “We want to help software marketers make the most of this new part of the customer journey.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.