Top 10 Referral Program Software Tools: Epic Guide to Selecting Referral Software [2023]

Updated on March 3, 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

We’ve researched the best referral software services out there to help businesses find the best solution for their needs.

Referral marketing campaigns help generate valuable word-of-mouth marketing, by empowering customers to share your business with their friends in a way you can track.

And since people trust their peers’ recommendations more than the ads and messages that come straight from your business, referrals reliably drive customer acquisition – and bring in customers who are more likely to stay loyal.

But for success with referral marketing, you’ll need the best referral program software for your business. And not all referral program tools are created equal.

Don’t worry – we’ve done the dirty work so you don’t have to.

Evaluating the best referral software that fits your use case

Referral marketing programs can have a lot of moving parts – you’ll need to track who makes each successful referral, and how many referrals become your customers.

You’ll also need to give out referral rewards as soon as they’re earned, to keep participants happy. And for the best results, you’ll want to reward both the referring customer and the new customer.

These factors are almost impossible to manage if you go the DIY route and try to run a referral program manually.

The good news is, there are a ton of options available to help with all your referral marketing and tracking needs.

Basic Evaluation Criteria

Even though there are many overlapping features across different refer-a-friend software services, not all referral tools are made the same.

As you’ll see in the table below, we’ve evaluated each referral software based on a number of different features, to help you choose the right tool to run a referral campaign.

Company Who is providing the referral software to you?
Free trial Not all referral program software comes with a free trial. We’ll let you know whether a software lets you try before you buy, and if so, how long the trial lasts.
Pricing Not every company lists its pricing, but if a company has made its price range known, we’ll list it here.
Minimum commitment Some referral tools require an annual commitment, while others are month to month. Month-to-month contracts mean you have the freedom to quit when it’s convenient for you.

Note: Most month-to-month commitments also offer the option to pay for multiple months at once (this could reduce the cost per month).

Customer service What types of customer support are available with the referral program software? For instance, does it offer in-app chat, onboarding specialists, or a knowledge base? And is certain customer service only available on higher-priced plans?
Best for You may think a refer a friend software is pretty cut and dry. That’s not always the case. Some referral software choices work exclusively with one type of business. And even if a software is not exclusive to a specific business type, it can be obvious which type of businesses will fit well with their platform. Here are a few examples of each type:

  • Local services: roofing companies, realtors, tree removal services, pet grooming, spas
  • Ecommerce: online clothing stores, subscriptions
  • SaaS: email service providers, lead generation apps, in-app chat providers
  • B2B: social media management, CRM, file sharing, customer success platforms
  • Small business: retail, coffee shops, plumbers, personal training
  • Enterprise: big chain grocery stores, department stores, big brand car dealerships
  • B2C: accounting firms, electronics retailers, other retailers
Reviews We’ve aggregated the star rating (out of 5 stars) and number of reviews that each software has received on two top review sites, Capterra and GetApp. This way, you can see how existing users feel about the referral software.
Mobile app friendliness and API integration If you’re looking to build a mobile referral program, or looking for robust customization options via an API, we’ll tell you whether each software opens these options.

Our Editorial Categories

Whether you’re wanting to build a SaaS referral program, ecommerce program, small business referral program, or referral program for any type of business, there is a referral software out there for you. We’ve grouped them all in these categories:

>> Top 3 Editorial Picks

Referral tools will let you:

  • Automatically track every referral back to the customer responsible, via unique referral links
  • Instantly issue reward payouts when customers earn them
  • Keep tabs on detailed referral program metrics, so you can refine your program for the best results

Top features:

  • Options to fully customize your referral program so it reflects your brand
  • Top-notch customer success team to guide you through the program setup and management process
  • Auto-enroll feature that registers every customer for your referral program when they purchase from you
  • Easy integrations with other software tools that you already use in your business processes

Referral Rock
referral program software

“More referrals for your business (on autopilot) – Scale and track word of mouth with referral programs”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
30-day free trial $200-$800 Monthly ​​Onboarding specialists, customer success managers, chat support, product and resource guides, support center, webinars Local services, ecommerce, small business, SaaS, B2B, B2C

About this software: Referral Rock‘s product is a next-generation referral tool designed to help any business get more customers using the power of their own network. Online and offline businesses can design incentive-based programs, automatically promote these programs to engage customers, enroll existing customers and referral partners, capture the new leads and sales, then issue rewards automatically.

Referral Rock automates every step of the referral process so a business can scale and consistently measure the success of referral marketing programs. This robust, user-friendly software has the flexibility to be used for customer referrals, employee referrals, partner programs, and affiliate marketing programs. It can also accommodate any reward type and structure your business wants to use (including tiered and multi-step formats). So, whatever your partnership and incentive needs are, Referral Rock has you covered.

Notably, the Referral Rock team is known for its exceptional customer service, which has earned plenty of rave reviews on sites like Capterra and GetApp. No matter which Referral Rock plan you select, an onboarding specialist will assist you during every stage of setting up and running your program.



  • Works well for all business types and sizes
  • Onboarding specialist helps you get your program up and running
  • Highly customizable and works with any reward structure (including multi-step and tiered rewards)
  • Flexible enough to run affiliate and partner programs as well
  • Reviewers love the product. customer service, and price point
  • Might be too robust if you want to run a simple ecommerce program

Our take: Many customers have left good reviews focusing on Referral Rock’s customer service and product, and over 1,000 businesses trust the software to run their referral and affiliate programs. So, it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s a robust referral software solution with fair pricing that works for many business types and sizes.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.5 55 Yes Yes



talkable website logo - a referral software

“Talkable helps ecommerce companies acquire new customers and increase sales”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
No N/A N/A Email support Ecommerce

About this software: Talkable offers a referral marketing platform for ecommerce marketers to generate new customers and increase sales. The platform is completely flexible in terms of who the campaign targets, how it looks, who is rewarded, and how they are rewarded. Talkable has a one-click installation with Shopify and Magento.



  • Integrates well with Magento and Shopify
  • Easy to launch, and customize the look of, your program
  • Only built for simple ecommerce programs
  • Pricing not transparent; we’ve heard it’s expensive, especially for offering only a basic program format

Our take: Talkable seems to have a few nice templates, and the software seems relatively easy to use. The platform has a strong focus on eCommerce stores, though. We’ve seen many businesses use Talkable as their referral marketing solution, but we’ve only seen Talkable consistently used by ecommerce businesses that want a simple program structure.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.7 29 Yes N/A


“For a bigger customer footprint”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
No $1,750+ (enterprise plan also available) Monthly In-app chat, knowledge base SaaS, ecommerce, Mobile

About this software: SaaSquatch is a trusted referral marketing partner for the Fortune 500 and is built primarily for SaaS companies. With SaaSquatch, you can design and integrate referral program touchpoints to fit across all of your marketing channels, fully customize your program to fit your brand, and engage customers to encourage sharing.



  • Highly customizable: customize the appearance, rewards, and more
  • Can handle complex sales processes
  • Great for mobile apps
  • Expensive
  • Fewer integrations than other programs
  • Reviewers say it’s not always user-friendly
  • Not a good option for smaller businesses

Our take: SaaSquatch seems to have fewer third-party integrations than other referral marketing software options. The software tool also seems expensive and geared towards larger businesses, compared to other options.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.5 10 Yes Yes

>> E-commerce Group


friendbuy website logo - a referral software

“Create a customer referral program today. Referral tracking and campaign optimization”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
30-day free trial $249-$749 (enterprise plan also available) Monthly Dedicated success manager (certain plans), knowledge base, email support Ecommerce

About this software: Friendbuy helps marketers optimize customer loyalty and referral campaigns. The software replaces basic sharing buttons with assets that are highly engaging and fully customized to reflect a brand’s look and feel. You can create a refer a friend program in hours, not weeks, thanks to Friendbuy’s library of templates. And once your program is live, it’s easy to A/B test it and find out which messaging resonates best with customers.



  • Easy to create and launch a program
  • Also runs loyalty programs
  • Not designed for more complex programs
  • Some reviewers say support is iffy

Our take: Friendbuy is another one of the referral software veterans alongside Ambassador. It seems heavily geared towards ecommerce businesses. It also looks widget-based, so you might not be able to tweak the program to fit your needs if you need a more complex setup (say, a tiered or multi-step program).

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.5 4 Yes Yes

referralcandy website logo - a referral software

“Give any ecommerce store a referral program”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
30-day free trial $39-$299+ month (not including commissions; enterprise plan also available) Monthly/Annually Knowledge base, email support Ecommerce

About this software: ReferralCandy is a customer referral program web application for online stores to boost sales. ReferralCandy is an ecommerce plugin that helps with word-of-mouth sales. Set up your program and customize your rewards without getting developers involved. (Some of the top Shopify stores use this plugin to successfully increase referral traffic and revenues.)



  • Very experienced with building ecommerce referral programs
  • Large suite of features geared towards online stores
  • Integrates well with Shopify
  • Charges a percentage commission on referral sales
  • Can only build simple programs
  • Won’t work for you if you’re not an ecommerce business

Our take: ReferralCandy does have quite a few features, and they put an emphasis on catering to ecommerce stores. The software’s price structure is very interesting, though. If you choose the lower-tier plan, you end up paying either the flat monthly fee or a percentage of the referral sales (you pay whichever ends up being the higher price). And even though the enterprise-tier plan doesn’t include commission payments, sources indicate it’ll set you back nearly $48,000 per year.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.5 235 No Yes

>> Lower Budget Small Business Referral Software

Mention Me

mention me website logo - a referral software

“Supercharge your customer growth with referral marketing through Mention Me”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
No N/A N/A In-app chat, email support Ecommerce

About this software: Mention Me is a plug-and-play refer-a-friend platform. This quick solution lets businesses launch their referral program so it’s up and running “in 30 days or less.”  Mention Me also offers built-in A/B testing, and features to identify customers most likely to refer, so a business can create a well-performing program.



  • Performance optimization feature helps you find and mobilize your best advocates
  • Customer success is very responsive
  • Pricing isn’t transparent; reviewers say the pricing is on the high side
  • Can be challenging to learn how to use

Our take: Mention Me covers a lot of information on their website that can be hard to distill. The software also seems to be designed for bigger ecommerce brands, given its lack of pricing transparency. And although the platform claims to track offline referrals through an “enter my name at checkout” feature, it’s difficult to say how helpful this feature really is since we couldn’t see an example in action.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.6 10 Yes No

Referral Factory
referral factory

“Sign up, build a referral program, and ask your customers to spread the word. No coding required.”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
15-day free trial $95-$1600+ Monthly Email support, knowledge base, priority support (higher plans only) Ecommerce, B2B, Local service

About this softwareReferral Factory is designed to help a variety of businesses create referral programs quickly. They offer 1000+ templates for a quick launch, or you can start from scratch for more customization options. Create a referral program in over 20 languages, and for mobile as well as desktop.



  • Templates make it easy to launch a referral program
  • Simple to build a program on mobile
  • Likely only works for the simplest referral programs (and can’t support  multi-step processes or tiered reward structures)
  • Integrations are limited

Our take: For a relatively new referral software, Referral Factory looks promising. Based on the examples shown on their website, though, it looks like the software is geared towards basic referral programs only.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.8 5 Yes Yes

Viral Loops

viral loops website logo - a referral software“Referrals made easy for everyone”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
14-day free trial $49-$399 (enterprise plan also available) Monthly In-app chat, email support Ecommerce

About this software: The all-in-one viral marketing platform to launch your referral programs, sweepstakes, competitions and pre-launch campaigns. Select the referral template that suits your business and your needs. They’ve created a bunch of templates, inspired by the success of great companies. All you have to do is change the text to match with your campaign type and your context.



  • Lots of plug-and-play templates
  • Affordable price point
  • Limited customization
  • Can only handle basic programs (no multi-step processes or complex reward structures)

Our take: The large library of Viral Loops templates is based on companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, and MailChimp. You plug in your info, and then the program is set up. It doesn’t seem like Viral Loops offers that much customization, though.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.5 34 No N/A

>> Enterprise Highly Custom

extole website logo - a referral software

“The leading enterprise advocacy platform”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
No N/A N/A In-app chat Enterprise, large B2C, financial services

About this software: With Extole, you can deliver and optimize a sharing experience tailored to your brand. Their advocacy platform integrates the lead generation solution across all devices and channels. Marketers create an acquisition channel by encouraging their customers to refer new customers on site, in-app, and offline.

Extole offers plenty of customization, reward, audience segmentation, and data options that enterprises want in a turn-key referral program. It also provides detailed profiles of all your advocates, so you know which referrers are bringing in the most revenue.



  • Turn-key referral program customized for your own business needs
  • Robust data and tracking, including audience segmentation
  • Very expensive, especially for the features it offers
  • Only designed for larger businesses and enterprises
  • Reviewers say integrations aren’t always reliable

Our take: Extole works with some well-known brands, but it’s clearly meant for only the biggest businesses. Expect a very hefty price tag with a completely custom solution. We’ve heard that Extole referral programs can cost upwards of $3500 per month – so rule this software solution out if you’re a small or emerging business. Many other referral software solutions appear to offer the same core feature set as Extole for a much lower price point.

Ratings and usability:

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.7 21 N/A N/A

image result for buyapowa logo

“The complete referral platform”

Free trial Pricing Commitment Customer service Best for
No N/A N/A In-app chat, email support SaaS, ecommerce

About this software: Buyapowa hosts referral programs for all industries, including regulated businesses. It uses a business’s existing online presence to encourage customers to refer their friends via multiple channels, including Instagram, which isn’t supported by most other referral software options. It’s an extremely customizable recommendation engine that keeps running for your business, and that optimizes the advocate engagement process to drive the most sharing.



  • Extensive list of features designed for enterprises
  • Instagram support
  • Highly customizable
  • Only meant for the largest businesses
  • Not always easy to use
  • Pricing not transparent (likely very expensive)

Our take: In Buyapowa’s own words, they’re an enterprise advocacy solution. The platform offers an extensive suite of features, but you probably won’t need all of them if you aren’t a big business. You might consider Buyapowa if you’re a massive corporation, but definitely stay away if you’re a small or medium-sized business.

Ratings and usability: 

Star rating # of reviews Mobile app friendly API integration
4.8 16 Yes Yes

Frequently asked questions – Referral Software

Looking for more answers about referral software – and other aspects of starting and running a referral program? Let us help you through with this FAQ.

Why should you start a referral program?

Word of mouth can be hard to track, but a referral program makes it easy to measure how often you’re being mentioned by others.

A referral program lets you encourage and track the word of mouth that your customers generate. It rewards customers when the friends they refer make their first purchase.

Other benefits of referral programs include:

  • They repeatedly bring in new customers through the power of trusted recommendations
  • The customers referral programs bring in are more likely to stay loyal
  • The costs to bring in a new customer are lower than with other marketing methods
  • After you purchase the software, you only pay when the program brings in results (when customers bring in new business)

What is referral software?

Referral software is a digital marketing tool that helps you track referrals your customers make, and automate processes associated with running a referral program. Thus, it lets you leverage and keep track of the word of mouth your customers generate.

With the help of referral tracking, you’ll easily know which customer is responsible for each referral, and be able to instantly reward customers for the business they bring in.

What are the benefits?

Referral marketing software tools help you run successful referral campaigns.  A great line of success is if the program can run automatically and generate referrals without much action on your part. You automatically track which customers make referrals, and reward customers when their referrals result in sales. It also generates detailed referral program metrics, so you can make informed decisions on how to refine your program.

The best software will also let you customize your program to meet your needs, and integrate with your existing software and processes.

What are the best referral program examples?

Some of the best referral programs that businesses have run include:

Click on the links to see how each brand has built their stellar referral program.

How do you reward customers for referrals?

You can choose from many options to reward customers for referrals, such as:

  • Store credits
  • Cash back
  • Discounts
  • Gift cards
  • Free products
  • Branded swag
  • Service upgrades

These solutions will let you automatically send out these rewards when customers earn them.

For more on choosing referral rewards, don’t miss our detailed guide to referral incentive best practices.

How can I start an effective referral program?

Besides choosing the right software, you’ll need to follow these best practices:

  • Set the referral program goals you’d like to track
  • Select your referral program rewards
  • Choose compelling messaging
  • Design your referral program page for the most conversions
  • Figure out how you’ll promote your program

Our ultimate referral program guide covers everything you need to start a successful referral program.

Let referral marketing software help you

Now that we’ve gone over all the top referral software solutions in this epic list, you’re ready to choose the referral marketing software that works best for your business needs. So get going and watch the word of mouth – and new sales – roll in!