Testimonials vs. Reviews: Key Differences Explained

We examine the benefits of testimonials and reviews for different types of businesses, show you how to get more customer feedback, and share examples.

Reviews and testimonials connect your brand with potential customers by showing what real customers have to say about your product and services. But there are differences in the length, tone, and structure of reviews and testimonials, and as such, these two types of content are at home in different parts of your marketing strategy.

By understanding the key differences between a review and a testimonial, you can make informed decisions about which form of high-converting social proof to use in different parts of the buyer’s journey for your business. This will help you focus your resources on gathering the right stories from your satisfied customers, clients, and employees.

In this article, we'll:

Vocal Video is the best way to collect video reviews and testimonials about your product, service, or company culture.

With our testimonial and review platform — trusted by global brands like Google, Spotify, and Hilton — you can ask for, record, and publish user-generated content about the benefits of working with your company, even if you’ve never explored the world of video marketing before.

Upgrade your reviews and testimonials with Vocal Video. Sign up for a free plan.

Reviews vs. Testimonials: What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot of overlap between reviews and testimonials because they both involve someone speaking about their experience with the company, in their own words.

Reviews tend to be shorter and more informal; they might address the speaker’s reservations as well as the benefits they saw.
Testimonials tend to be longer, more formal, and talk about a customer’s outstandingly positive experience.

Testimonials can also focus on a specific aspect of a business, which makes them a great tool for writing case studies.

For example, check out this review on one of Majka’s supplement products:

 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! review

The review…

  • Includes a brief description of how the customer used the product and their overall impression.
  • Touches on the advantages (“No more headaches!”) and the things they would rather have changed (“I’m not a huge fan of coconut”).
  • Is framed by information that tells the reader it’s genuine — like the “Verified Buyer” label and the date.
  • Uses headlines (“Flavor, Hydration, and Energy”) and a star rating so the reader grasps the key benefits even if they don’t read the whole paragraph.

What’s more, this review sits alongside more than 100 others on the product page, so potential buyers can be pretty sure the supplement will live up to what the company claims.

Customer reviews like this work really well in product marketing and for businesses with a physical location (e.g., a realtor’s office, a gardening service, or a restaurant).

When customers interact with these types of businesses, they have one distinct, personal experience to review. In fact, if you have premises or you sell online, your business will probably start to attract some reviews organically because people will review their purchase or experience on third-party sites like Trustmary, Tripadvisor, Google My Business, or Amazon.

While a lot of reviews on these websites are written statements, video reviews are also a great way to get potential customers to fully see how your product looks and works. Here’s another product video review from Majka — made with Vocal Video. The respondent talks about the natural ingredients in the product they chose, as well as the positive effect on their energy levels, and how quickly they started to see the results.

But racking up online reviews isn’t going to be the best strategy for all businesses. Some, such as software companies, non-profits, healthcare practitioners, and marketing agencies, will benefit more from testimonials.

This is because testimonials do a better job of explaining the value you offer when you’re offering a non-trivial service.

For example, check out this testimonial blog post from Student Life Blog of Georgetown University.

A student's reflection on her first semester of college.

In this long-form, structured testimonial, the student…

  • Includes specific anecdotes (such as listing the speakers she’s seen at events) as evidence of a top-notch student experience, as well as describing the more emotional aspect of her time at college (the friendships she’s built with others on her program).
  • Tells a story that took place over time to show how her experience developed —  beginning with her arrival at Georgetown and concluding at the end of her first semester.
  • Backs up her claims (for example, debunking the idea of the Georgetown bubble) with evidence — in this case, photos.

Here, the longer testimonial format works better than a review, because it gives plenty of space for detail and personal insights. The “customer” talks about their situation before their relationship with the “business” started, explains how their fears were resolved, and describes the long-term benefits they’re seeing now. This three-act testimonial structure situates the business as the tool that helped the respondent to achieve their goals. This is extremely compelling for other people who are researching their options.

Both Majka and Georgetown use Vocal Video to collect reviews and testimonials.

You can meet more of our global customers here.

When to Focus on Collecting Reviews

When your goal is to increase conversion rates or get more people to visit your business in person, reviews are particularly important.

Focus on boosting your review collection when…

  • Your business sells a physical product or has a physical location — especially if you want to boost your reputation after launching a product or opening a new branch.
  • You want to convert more of your online visitors or get an edge over your competitors — especially if you think you’re losing sales because someone else has more reviews.
  • There’s a bad review on your page, and you want to offset the negative effect with fresher, more positive reviews.

You can also focus on collecting reviews when you have a plan in place for dealing with some of the potential drawbacks.

  • Plan to get reviews in bulk, so they’ll collectively cover lots of different aspects of your product. This is because businesses don’t have control over the content of reviews, and even the 5-star ones might not hit the talking points you really want to highlight.
  • Plan a strategy to get your happy customers to leave reviews, because generally, people who have a negative experience are more likely to publish their opinion online, and this can skew your reviews. Remember, when you collect reviews for your own site, rather than Yelp, Glassdoor or Google reviews, you can incentivize people to share their thoughts (more on how to do this with Vocal Video later).
  • Plan to collect reviews you own, because screenshotting reviews from other sites can look unprofessional, website review widgets can be buggy, and there are some potential legal pitfalls if you republish reviews originally written for other sites.

When to Focus on Collecting Testimonials

A lot of the reviews your business collects will be spontaneous, but you have much more control over the testimonials customers send you. Usually, businesses craft a set of testimonial questions and share them with the people they know will give them a great response to use in their marketing.

Channel your resources into collecting testimonials when…

  • You don’t have a brick-and-mortar premises, so you need to attract business online (more on the SEO benefits of testimonials here).
  • You’re more likely to have an ongoing relationship with your client than see them for a one-off appointment or sale.
  • You’re struggling to get enough reviews to win the numbers game, so you want to focus on the depth of information instead.
  • You want to highlight a specific aspect of the service you offer.

Whatever business you’re in, you can benefit from increasing the number of reviews or testimonials you have — and some businesses will be able to use both.

These forms of user-generated storytelling can act as snippets of social proof that build trust with your potential customers. And it can even help new customers imagine themselves in the same position as the people who’ve already made a video or written testimonial.

How to Get Reviews and Testimonials in Powerful Video Form

In the past, collecting testimonials — especially engaging, sharable video testimonials that look great on websites and social media — was a time-consuming, labor-intensive process.

With Vocal Video, you can collect high-quality, engaging video reviews and testimonials about your business — in the same time it takes to type your thoughts into a review site.

Vocal Video is an end-to-end platform that requests, records, edits, and publishes video reviews and testimonials from your real-life customers. It’s incredibly easy to use, even if you’ve never shared feedback online or worked in video marketing before.

Publishing video content from your customers, clients, or employees is a three-step process you can set up in minutes, and your customers can respond in record time, too.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Set Up a Video Collector

Your Vocal Video collector is the interface that welcomes the respondents, shows them the questions you’ve asked them to answer, and then records them as they speak about their experiences.

You can build your video collector from scratch or customize one of more than 45 collector templates.

For example, in our “customers and clients” templates, you’ll find pre-written prompts specifically designed for reviews and testimonials. If you use a template, you’ll simply have to add your organization name, set your brand colors and logo, and customize your welcome and thank you messages before you start asking for reviews and testimonials.

Take a look at some of our most popular review templates.

Best Vocal Video Templates for Product and Service Reviews

B2B Review Videos

B2B review videos.

When companies are considering big purchases, the stakes can be high, so every positive review counts in B2B marketing.

Like all our collector templates, this one includes a pre-written introduction thanking the respondents for their time and giving them a contact person if they have any questions. It comes with three customizable questions and the option to add two more.

The questions are…

  • Out of 5 stars, how would you rate [your organization]?
  • How has [your organization name] addressed a challenge your company had before?
  • What has been the main impact of using [your organization]?

eCommerce Review Videos

These questions are designed for B2C businesses to get reviews from the people who purchased their products online.

  • Out of 5 stars, how would you rate [your organization]?
  • What has been your experience with our product so far?
  • Could you describe your overall experience with [your organization]?

Influencer Videos

Every good review makes a difference, but endorsements from influencers can boost the results of your content marketing faster by putting your product in front of a new audience. This template includes the questions…

  • Could you share your favorite thing about [your organization]?
  • What makes [your organization] unique?
  • Would you recommend [your organization]?

Best Vocal Video Templates for Testimonials

Our testimonial templates encourage the respondent to go into slightly more detail than the short-and-snappy review questions above. These templates are designed to tell a credible story that potential customers, applicants, or employees remember.

Customer Testimonials Template

Customer testimonial videos.

Vocal Video testimonial templates often encourage the speaker to introduce themselves with the first question. When the viewer can put, for example, a name and a job title to the face, it makes an instant connection that helps the content to land.

One of our most popular testimonial templates creates authentic, detailed videos with the questions…

  • Could you describe a time that [your organization] helped you?
  • How would you describe [your organization] in three words?
  • Why is [your organization] different from other similar products or services?

We also know that testimonials take many forms, which is why you’ll find collector templates for different industries and customer relationships.

B2B Case Study Videos

This template for businesses creates videos with the classic, three-act case study structure, presenting your business as the tool that helped the customer succeed.

  • What problem was your company dealing with before [your organization]?
  • How did [your organization] help resolve this challenge?
  • What results did you get with [your organization]?

Employee Video Testimonials

Finally, remember that an easy way to build your testimonial library fast is to explore employee-generated video for marketing. Asking the people you work with every day to record a video about what makes your company unique and why they’re proud to work with you gives you versatile videos to use on your website, in your external marketing materials, and in recruitment.

This template includes the questions…

  • How did you find your way to your current role at [your organization]?
  • Could you share a few details about your favorite part of your role and the team at [your organization]?
  • What stands out to you about the culture at [your organization]?

This template produced this fantastic set of videos for Vocal Video customer LivePerson.

When you collect video reviews and testimonials with Vocal Video, you can also complete two more steps duing the collector set-up to help you get even more usable responses from your audience.

Add an Incentive

As you move through the steps in the collector set-up, don’t forget to add an incentive for the people who record a response. You can enter your respondents into the monthly Vocal Video prize draw, or add your own incentive (where you handle fulfillment). Choose between a giveaway, a contest, or a donation to encourage more people to get involved.

Vocal Video Incentives: Boost response rates with our complimentary prize drawing or your own custom incentive.

As we said above, businesses can get into trouble if they incentivize reviews on sites like Yelp or Google My Business. But with Vocal Video incentives, there’s nothing to worry about.

Add a Custom Video Release

Everyone who records a video with your collector will agree to let you share their answers online. This means all your Vocal Video reviews and testimonials are yours to download, embed, or share — with no need to screenshot or reformat the transcript like you would have to with a review from another site.

Vocal Video Pro pricing plans also let you add a custom video release to your collector. Just open the settings in your Vocal Video dashboard, go to “Custom Video Releases” in the workspace settings, and go to “+ New Video Release” to add your text.

New custom video release.

Step 2: Share the Video Collector with Your Customers

Vocal Video collectors are URL-based, so asking for feedback is as simple as copying and pasting the link we generate for you. Just go to “Get Responses” to get your collector link.

To collect responses, share this link.

This means there are lots of places where companies can share their collectors and start getting responses.

  • Drop the link into your newsletters, promotional emails, or texts, especially if you're already sharing feedback from your happy customers in your marketing. This option is great when you want to get some fresh reviews or testimonials from people who’ve had a long relationship with your business and know your product well.
  • Include the link in the follow-up messages you send to customers after they make a purchase. This is a fantastic time to ask for reviews, especially if you want to start driving more customers towards the product this customer tried out.
  • Add the link to your social media posts inviting people to share their stories. This can form the basis of an entire campaign of customer success stories that can raise awareness and start a conversation around your brand.
  • Make the collector a permanent part of your website by linking to it from any page of your site. This is a great addition to a product testimonials, case studies, or customer stories page. Once the visitor has seen how many people have contributed, they can add their voice.

Once they get the link, your respondents can open it on any smart device and record their review or testimonial without creating an account or downloading an app. The whole process takes as little as five minutes, and they’ll be able to re-record their answers until they’re happy.

Step 3: Collect and Share Video Reviews and Testimonials

As soon as someone finishes their video, we’ll automatically edit it and send it to your Vocal Video library (with a handy email notification to let you know it’s ready).

Our unique automatic editing process stitches together your customers’ responses to make a high-quality, dynamic, engaging video that looks great on social media or as part of your website.

You can see some of these features in action in this review video card from Aletha Health, where we added…

  • Interstitial cards showing the question the speaker responded to.
  • Animated transitions between slides.
  • A final slide with the company’s logo and colors.
  • AI-generated subtitles so the video can be viewed with or without sound.

Don’t forget, automatic editing also includes music from our library of royalty-free tracks.

You can then use our suite of intuitive, drag-and-drop editing tools to trim the clips, change the order of the responses, or add additional slides. Or, to change the tone and personality of the video in just a few clicks, swap to a new video theme to change the animations, music, font, and layout.

Share Reviews and Testimonials Online with One Click

Now, let’s look at some of the most effective places to share the reviews and testimonials you collect.

When you’re ready to share one of your testimonials, go to any published video and click “Share” to see your options, which include…

  • Sharing the video to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter/X, or LinkedIn.
  • Copying the link to the public Vocal Video page where the clip is hosted.
  • Embedding the video seamlessly onto your website.
  • Downloading the video to share on a digital screen or on short form video apps like Instagram.
Share this video on Instagram, Facebook and more.

For longer, in depth testimonial videos, try:

  • Embedding the video on one of your landing pages to boost conversions.
  • Embedding the video on your careers page (to show that your company is a meaningful place to work).
  • Creating a dedicated case study page.

For example, Vocal Video customer Hone uses a video testimonial from one of their customers to show how they put their headline claims into action.

Hone homepage.
Find out how to embed videos seamlessly onto any page of your site.

For short, visually engaging videos, try using your Vocal Video content to build a post on social media. You can even copy and paste your caption straight from the transcript.

For example, Mountain Sweet Honey includes memorable Vocal Video testimonials in their video marketing on Facebook.

Mountain Sweet Honey review on Facebook.

All the content you publish on Vocal Video will be hosted on its own searchable, sharable public page. Sharing the link to this page is a great solution when you want to share reviews or testimonials on external sites that don’t let you embed video — including on careers sites.

For example, Sunrun links to Gio’s public testimonial from their job postings on third-party websites, so jobseekers have the chance to experience his enthusiasm.

SunRun testimonial.

And when your collection of reviews or testimonials starts to grow, you can add them to a beautiful, dynamic Vocal Video gallery. This is one of the fastest ways to build a dedicated testimonials page for your website, or to show your product in action to any of your sales pages.

For example, Prepared4X uses a carousel gallery of video reviews on their product pages.

Prepared4X gallery of testimonials.
Find out more about building Vocal Video galleries in five different formats.

Reviews or Testimonials? Collect Both Easily with Vocal Video

Testimonials and reviews can both bring credibility to your business’s online presence. They show that the claims that you make about your product, your values, and your company culture are true, because real people have already experienced them.

Business owners might ask whether they should channel their resources into collecting reviews or testimonials. It depends a lot on the service you provide, the stage your business is at, and how your customers usually find your product. But whatever industry you’re in, there’s a form of customer feedback that can increase your visibility and boost the number of potential customers your content converts.

Whether you want to focus on reviews or testimonials, Vocal Video makes it quick and easy to boost the amount of user-generated content you have to use in your marketing. Simply write the questions in your review or testimonial collector, share it with your target audience, and get automatically edited responses that are completely yours to share.

Sign up for a free Vocal Video account today, or collect reviews and testimonials at scale with a Team, Pro, or Enterprise plan. Find out more and sign up here.

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