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Everyone at Vocal Video has spent the bulk of their careers steeped in the world of marketing from their work with tiny startups to companies like SurveyMonkey and Microsoft. Over the last 15 years we've watched video go from a new trend, to being understood as one of the powerful and enduring forms of content that organizations can invest in.

However, while research on the efficacy of video in general abounds, we found nothing in the way of research on the impact of video testimonials on marketing results at self-employed, very small (under 10 employees), small (under 100 employees) and medium sized(100 - 1,000 employees) businesses. So in May of 2020 we surveyed over 450 marketing professionals across industries to more scientifically understand the current landscape of how organizations produce video testimonials, how these videos are used, what kind of ROI is realized, and how much they cost in terms of time and money.

Time & Money

Testimonial videos require a significant investment in time and money for small and medium sized businesses. Let’s dig into the specifics.

How long does it take to create testimonial videos for SMB marketing teams?

The investment of time is outsized for the smallest organizations, whose employees are presumably wearing many hats other than producing effective marketing collateral.  

42% of small organizations and 50% of self-employed people need more than 4 months to create testimonial videos, whereas only 16% of medium size companies spend that much time on these projects.
78% of very small companies need more than 4 months to create testimonial videos. Click to tweet.
Chart showing that most SMB companies spend 4+ weeks producing testimonial video.

Small businesses (under 100 employees)  feel the biggest squeeze to create more video testimonials.

85% of small businesses report that they would add at least 50% more testimonials videos to improve marketing results in an ideal world.
statistic showing 85% of small businesses would produce 50+% more video if they took less time.

How much do testimonial videos cost?

For small and medium sized businesses, spending on testimonial videos can represent a significant part of overall budget.

Figure showing that SMBs face high costs when creating testimonial videos.

Those that work with traditional agencies see even higher costs.

62% of medium sized organizations spend more than $5,000 per testimonial video.
73% of small businesses spend $5,000 or more on testimonial videos.

About 67% of those that are self-employed are often laying out large amounts of money relative to their size, spending over $1,000 per video

Usage and ROI:

Established brands know that they have to highlight the experience of their customers to de-risk big purchases, but sharing customer evidence on websites, social media, and other digital spaces can mean life or death for many SMB companies. Without the trust built into big branding efforts, much of their credibility comes from word of mouth, and any customer stories that they can share broadly.

Unsurprisingly, creating testimonial videos is hardest for the smallest organizations.  Many SMB organizations do rely on testimonial videos as a key part of their marketing strategy, but nearly a third say they can’t pursue these projects because it’s “too hard”.

43% of very small organizations reported that they don't produce testimonial videos today because it's too hard.
Chart showing that nearly 1/3 SMB doesn't produce testimonial videos because they're "too hard"

What’s the ROI of testimonial videos?

While many SMB organizations report ROI from testimonial videos, / gains are mixed across the spectrum of very small businesses to medium organizations.

57% of medium sized organizations see an ROI of 100% or more, while only 33% - 43% of small, very small and self-employed companies report that kind of return on average. It appears that the outsized cost and hours required to produce testimonial videos for smaller organizations can put a real dent in the ROI that many are able to achieve.

Testimonial videos deliver ROI for SMB, but results are most strongest for medium-sized businesses.
Chart showing ROI of testimonial videos.

SMB organizations across the board achieve a lift in conversion rates from marketing campaigns by leveraging testimonial videos. Notably, medium organizations report the strongest lift overall.

95% medium sized organizations realize 10+% improvements in conversion on campaigns that use video testimonials compared to those that don’t. Click to tweet.

While less very small and self-employed organizations see improvements, about a third will see markedly dramatic results of 25+% conversion in campaigns compared to campaigns run without testimonial videos.

95% of SMB see improve conversion with testimonial videos.
64% of SMB see dramatic conversion improvements with testimonial videos.

You can read more about the respondents and our overall findings here:

Research: The Impact of Video Testimonials on Marketing