The method to our madness


We are data nerds at heart. If this page sounds like Greek to you (or if you got a C in statistics, like the person writing this did), fear not. None of this will be on the test. PickFu does all the calculations for you.

Here’s what we do with the input we receive to determine a winner for your poll.

Head-to-head polls

Head-to-head polls use pairwise comparisons in a round-robin tournament, meaning that respondents judge options two at a time and every option is tested against every other option in the set. We chose this format because it’s the fastest and fairest way to determine a winner.

Pairwise comparisons

A pairwise comparison tests options in sets of two in order to see whether they are significantly different.  

Round-robin tournament

Three or more options are organized in a round-robin tournament. Like a softball league where “all play all,” every option is pitted against every other option in the set.

Comprehensive written feedback

When you test three or more options, every respondent submits feedback for each matchup. Therefore, the Head-to-head poll yields more votes and written feedback than any other PickFu poll format.


Each option’s score is its number of votes won divided by the number of matchups. The option with the highest score wins.

Head-to-head polls are the fastest and fairest way to determine a winner.

They also yield the most votes and written feedback than any other PickFu polling format.

Ranked polls

Ranked polls ask each respondent to rank every option in preference order. PickFu uses instant runoff voting until an option wins a majority of votes. Requiring a majority and using instant runoff voting is another fast and fair way to reach a consensus.

Respondents rank every option

Respondents rank every option (8 maximum) in order of preference. For example, when you test 6 options, each respondent orders their choices from first to sixth place.  

PickFu requires a majority to declare a winner

A majority winner differs from a plurality winner. A majority winner earns over 50% of the votes, whereas a plurality winner earns the most votes, regardless of winning percentage. 

Votes are counted in instant runoffs

If an option does not earn a majority of votes, PickFu eliminates the option with the lowest number of votes. The votes for the eliminated option are reassigned based on each respondent’s next choice. The instant runoff voting process continues until a majority winner emerges.

Scores indicate relative preference

Scores reflect the percentage of total votes an option receives during the vote counting. Only the winner of a Ranked poll will have a score greater than 50. 

Ranked polls are generally faster and less expensive than Head-to-head polls.

Learn more about Ranked polls