It was early in the tumultuous year of 2020. We had loads of anecdotal evidence from our careers as marketers and entrepreneurs that video testimonials were some of the most powerful and enduring forms of content that organizations could invest in. Recent research by the Content Marketing Institute had reported that video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics. The community of marketing professionals we knew at companies everywhere on the spectrum from tiny startups to Fortune 50 companies all echoed this sentiment. However, while resources emphasizing efficacy of video abounded, we found very little speaking specifically to the impact of video testimonials on marketing results.
So in May of 2020 we surveyed over 450 marketing professionals across industry, company size, and B2B/B2C organizations to more scientifically understand the current landscape of how organizations produce video testimonials, budget, ROI, and usage. We hope our research helps you understand the landscape of video testimonials more fully.
Here's a breakdown of the 450+ marketing professionals we surveyed to understand the current state of testimonial videos.
Time & Money
How much do testimonial videos cost?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, lack of time and money are the two forces throttling businesses from producing more testimonial videos than they do today.
42% of marketers say that the number one thing stopping them from producing more testimonial videos is lack of time, while 34% cite lack of budget.
Only 14% of surveyed marketers report don't make more video testimonials because they are “not a priority”.
Video can be incredibly expensive, and require significant budget allocation from companies big and small.
44% of marketers pay more than $15,000 to make a single testimonial video with outside agencies. Click to tweet.
11% of companies pay over $50,000 per testimonial video.
The sheer expense explains part of why we see such a low number of testimonial videos created for such high ROI content. Asked about their ideal world,
73% of surveyed marketing professionals said that they would produce at least 50% more video testimonials if it were less expensive.
Video is stubbornly difficult to scale up and down to fit different businesses, and remains relatively fixed for companies regardless of their size, leading to a bigger budget hit for smaller companies.
How long does it take to create testimonial videos?
Like money, the time it takes to create testimonial videos is in short supply for the marketing organizations we surveyed.
73% of surveyed marketing professionals would produce at least 50% more video testimonials if the process took less time. Click to tweet.
54% of marketing professionals report that they currently spend over 2 months to create a testimonial video, and an unlucky 12% say that the process can take 6 months from start to finish.
Testimonial videos often represent the output of many months of work, and are too expensive to make a lot of across company size, industry and in B2B as well as B2C worlds. This typically leads to a handpicked subject with a singular story to tell being featured, and additional stories falling by the wayside.
The data reveals an interesting hidden dynamic amongst marketing organizations:
Testimonial videos are seen as yielding an ROI with 72% of marketers indicating an ROI of 50-500% and the majority realizing high conversion improvements.
Yet, marketing teams continue to produce very few of them each year with plans to make relatively minor increases this year.
Most marketing teams report significant gains in conversion by using testimonial videos in their campaigns compared to campaigns without.
A combination of explicit and implicit factors seem to be currently blocking producing the desired number of customer testimonial videos. While time and money are the two biggest blockers we see in the data we looked at above, we believe that there are other factors at play. The sheer effort of coordinating the number of people involved in producing testimonial videos with 66% of marketers reporting that 4 or more people are involved and reliance on additional internal/external teams needed to produce testimonial videos may be creating significant friction as well. In fact,
22% of marketing organizations simply opted out of creating testimonial videos in 2019, reporting that it's "too hard". Click to tweet.
Let’s examine where companies collect video testimonials.
Physical events are by far the top place to collect testimonial videos; 30% of marketers collect them there. Presumably this has become the norm as it was the ultimate way for customers and video teams to be easily colocated. We do anticipate that this will look very different in the wake of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and see event producers as some of the earliest companies shifting into rapid ramping up of video testimonials for virtual events like this video highlighting speakers for a Snöball event.
In spite of time and expense shortage, our research shows an upward trend in plans to create testimonial videos.
The number of marketing organizations planning to create more than 15 testimonial videos has doubled from 7% in 2019 to 15% in 2020. Click to tweet.
How are video testimonials used?
The top way to feature testimonial videos are on company websites. 67% of surveyed marketers reporting they feature video testimonials prominently.
54% of marketing professionals use video testimonials for social media advertising, a growing use case that compounds the ROI of high quality content with the targeted reach of paid social.
Nearly half of marketers reported significant improvements in conversion (over 25%) by using more social proof in the form of video testimonials in their social media campaigns.
We broke our analysis down further in terms of company size, budget, time, and ROI. You can read more about our findings in the two articles below.