The Official Guide to Testimonial Videos

Many of our first-time clients come to us with the question: which type of video should we start with? 99% of the time, our recommendation is to go with a testimonial video. Why? Time and time again, research shows that testimonial videos give companies the most bang for their buck. Take a look at the stats below:

  • Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing, with a rating of 89% (WebDAM)
  • Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product online after watching a video (ComScore)
  • 90% of consumers admit their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews (Marketing Land)

Simply put, testimonial videos will keep visitors on your site longer and increase the chances that they will make a purchase. A testimonial video will also bring life and authenticity to your business in a way that text-based testimonials simply can't. Seeing and hearing a satisfied customer genuinely talking about their personal experience with your product or service goes a long way in helping you build trust and credibility.

One of the best things about testimonial videos is how affordable they are. They are cheaper than other types of videos because they are simpler to produce, given that no actors or special effects are required for the video to make an impact. Testimonial videos are also quite versatile. For example, Slack's humorous promotional video is in the form of a testimonial and showcases various features of their product.

Now that you're convinced you need a testimonial video, let's look at some best practices for producing them and how to leverage your completed video(s) across your website, social channels, and marketing campaigns.

Harnessing the Art of Storytelling for Better Testimonial Videos

You need to treat the testimonial as a story. And remember, it's not about you – it's about your customer.

When most people create a testimonial video, they simply capture a person talking about how amazing a product/service is, and how much they love it. While that's not entirely wrong, it won't get you very far towards your goal – increasing your audience’s trust. In order to achieve this, you need to treat the testimonial as a story.

The first step to crafting a compelling testimonial video story is to understand that it's not about you – it’s about your customer. Remember, the purpose of a testimonial video is to demonstrate to a potential lead that someone just like them overcame their challenges and found success using your solution.

Effective Testimonial Videos - it

Developing Characters

First and foremost, a compelling story has interesting and developed characters – people with personality, goals, and desire. The simplest way to develop the real people in your testimonials into characters is to include some background information about who they are and what they want. This will help your viewer get to know them as real, relatable people.

When it comes to testimonial videos, the most important quality of a character is their desire (what do they want that they don't already have?). When the character's desire shows though, it makes it easier for others to emphasize with them and also stirs a feeling of desire in your audience.  

Hint:  the character's desire is rarely the product/service that you’re offering. Desire runs deeper than that – what you want to focus on is not your product/service itself, but rather what it can help your customer achieve.

Developing Plot

Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end.

Now that you have developed strong characters, it's time to think about the plot. Ultimately, the plot is what will keep your audience engaged and moving through the testimonial video. The easiest and most common way to structure the testimonial plot is with a beginning, middle, and ending.

The Beginning/ Life Before:

The beginning of the plot centers around your character and their desire before they came across your offering. This is where your viewer connects to the character and becomes interested in learning about their story.

Your questions should address the following:

  • Who is your character and what do they desire?
  • What are some of the struggles/'pain-points' the customer faced before they came across your product/service?
  • What other solutions had they tried, and why didn’t those work?

Testimonial Videos - The Beginning/Life Before. Getting to know the character and their desire.

The Middle/ Life During

The middle of the story happens when the character encounters conflict and sets out on a journey to overcome it. The conflict is what's getting in the way of your character’s desire. In other words, it's the problem that your customer is facing and actively seeking a solution for. Think about what specific problems your product/service solves and how it helps your customers overcome their conflict.

Your questions should center around the following:

  • What was frustrating about other things they tried before learning about you, and what were they trying to accomplish?
  • What has it been like using your product/service?
  • What do they love about it, and what, specifically has impressed them?
  • What made them confident your offering was the right choice?

Testimonial Videos - The Middle. Learn about the conflict, follow the journey to solve it.

The Ending/Resolution/ Life After

The ending is the resolution to the story. What you should focus on here is the results your customer was able to achieve with the help of your product/service and what their (improved) life looks like after. In testimonial videos, the ending is also where you can include a call to action.  

The general theme of your questions should be as follows:

  • What has your client been able to achieve, now that they've worked with you or used your product/service?
  • What would they say to someone they cared about to convince them to go with you rather than a competitor?

Testimonial Videos - The Ending. How your client

Not sure which specific questions to ask? You're in luck! We've created a comprehensive list of sample questions for each stage of the testimonial story plot. Download it below for free.

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Production & Post-Production Best Practices

Now that you've selected a great 'character' to star in your video testimonial and planned the outline for your plot, it's time to think about the production and post-production logistics. Below are some handy tips and recommendations:

  • Treat the interview as a genuine conversation/ casual chat. The more genuine the conversation, the more believable the final video testimonial. Authenticity helps viewers feel more connected to your brand.
    Testimonial Videos - Interview must be Genuine and relaxed. video marketing blog.

    The more genuine the conversation, the more believable the final video testimonial.

  • We don't recommend sending a full list of questions to your customers – their answers can come across as too rehearsed/ not as genuine. Instead, we suggest sending them some general guidelines, letting them know the gist of what you'll be asking about.
  • Asking the same question two different ways can yield very different responses. You might learn that the problem you think you're solving and the problem you're actually solving are different
  • Like most marketing videos, testimonial videos are most effective when kept short. We recommend approximately 2 minutes.
  • Remember, you'll use multiple snippets from the conversation, so don't think that you need to capture one magical  segment from your half hour discussion. The magic really happens in post-production.
  • In post-production, make sure that your videographer adds interest through a variety of elements (a talking head gets boring!). Ideas include: product shots, text on plain background, and b-roll footage showcasing your customer in action or your office.

Making the Most of Your New Testimonial Videos

A well-timed testimonial, at just the right spot along the customer journey, can make all the difference.

Now that your awesome new testimonial video is ready, the fun really begins! It's time to leverage the video across your website, social channels, and marketing campaigns. A well-timed testimonial, at just the right spot along the customer journey, can make all the difference when it's time for a buying decision.


By including your testimonial video(s) directly within your website, you are providing website visitors with information they want and need in order to make an informed purchasing decision.

Here are some of the places on your website where you can display testimonials:

  • Homepage: Featuring at least one video testimonial on your homepage will encourage your new visitors to engage further with your website. Testimonials are usually found towards the middle or bottom of the home page.
  • Side Bar: Having testimonials on the side bar works especially well for e-commerce sites, especially near the 'Check Out' button. Testimonials will be visible while the visitor is browsing or searching for various products on the site. Users are more likely to complete the purchase if they see someone else giving a testimonial for it.
  • Product page: When the testimonial is for a particular product, it makes sense to add it to your product detail page since this is where your prospect is going to spend time to learn more about your product.
  • Dedicated page: It’s also very common to collect and display testimonial videos on their own page. This can capture the attention of casual browsers who are curious to know who your customers are and what they are saying.
Testimonial videos page done righ in builds trust.

Codecademy is nailing the testimonials section of their website, which they call “Codecademy Stories.”

We encourage you to try different locations on your website to find out what works best for your product/service with an A/B test.

Social Media

Video testimonials can be a very effective tool to use on your social channels, but you'll need to think ahead on ways to tailor the content to get the maximum ROI on each differing channel. For example, for use on Instagram, you will need a condensed (maximum 15 second) clip featuring the highlights or most impactful portion of the full testimonial video. For a more detailed breakdown of what to do with your video on each major social platform, check out this blog post.

Email Marketing

Emails containing a video stand out from other email communication because they hook the viewer and speed up engagement. In fact, video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates 2-3X. Simply using the word 'video' in email subject lines boosts open rates 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26% (Brainshark).

With your new video testimonial in hand, you can now condense previously text-heavy emails with a simple introduction accompanied by the video to communicate your message. For example, you can include your new testimonial video in an email about a product promotion.

You'll need to consider the distinct difference between each channel, and work with your videographer to tailor your video accordingly to get the maximum ROI.

Putting It All Together

Video testimonials play an important role in your content marketing strategy. A well-timed video testimonial at just the right spot along your potential customer’s journey makes all the difference when it comes to buying decisions.

A good testimonial video should tell a compelling story, with developed characters and a thoughtful plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Ideally, your finished product should connect on an emotional level with potential customers.

When it comes to production and post-production, you want to treat the interview with your customer as a genuine conversation and add various elements of interest such as b-roll to keep the viewer's attention.

Leveraging your completed  video across your website, social channels, and marketing campaigns is the most rewarding part of the process. After all, this is where you will get the ROI for your hard work! You'll need to consider the distinct difference between each channel, and work with your videographer to tailor your video accordingly.

Ready to get started on your first testimonial video? Head over to our content shop to check out sample videos by videographers that specialize in testimonial videos. We're always here if you have any questions along the way. Good luck!

Example of testimonial video created by a talented videographer.