Why Video Testimonials Fail (and what to do about it)

Ben Cecil Best Practices, Corporate Video, Video Strategy

Nothing markets your business better than satisfied customers.  This has been true long before you, I or the internet came along.

Video testimonials are key to any video strategy.  So, why hate on them?  Because I think we can do better.  Here’s why many video testimonials fail and of course, how to do them better:

  1. No business posts negative testimonial video.According to research, 75% of us trust online reviews.  That’s awesome, but video testimonials are not online reviews.  Online reviews are submitted solely by the customer.  Usually, YOU the marketer or business owner shoots and posts testimonials.  Your prospects know this.  They’re not naïve.  They know you wouldn’t post video of a customer ripping your service.  Web visitors may indeed watch the video but it won’t compel them.
  2. They don’t address the “pains” of potential customersMany video testimonials are thrown at us as a “one size fits all” tool to evaluate a business.  Chances are your prospects or audience fall into more than one category or segment.  For example, if you’re a social media consultant, your clients might be B2B and B2C.  Each segment often requires a different approach.  Throwing one video at them, expecting it to work for all categories is unrealistic.
  3. Bad Questions & Bad Answers“Did you like ABC Company?”  Answer:  “Yes. They’re great. They’re really friendly.”

    This tells us nothing.  It’s not the speaker’s fault however.  It’s the interviewer.  In our experience, good questions make for good answers.  Remember, the objective is for them to provide perspective that’s valuable to your audience or prospect.  Yes or no questions usually will not accomplish this.  So, don’t be afraid to “lead the witness” to get what you want.  Tell them what you’re hoping they will talk about.  After all, you’re doing it for your company, not the interviewee.  It’s got to be on message or it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

To sum up…


Brand your video testimonials differently.  Call it a “Video Case Story.”  Let prospects know they’re about to hear about an experience instead of just a random opinion.

This means you need to think of it like a story.   (see our article on Telling a Story with Video)

Here’s a formula that will help you.

Intro + Pain + Your Company’s Process to Cure Said Pain + Outcome + Endorsement = Video Case Story

Focus your questions to make sure responses speak to each of these elements.  Help them keep it brief.  Coach them, if needed.  Remember, they want to sound & look good too.  Also, if your prospects fall into more than one category or segment, do a Video Case Story for each.  Speak to their specific pain.  The more relevant a message is, the more effective it will be.

If done well, your Video Case Story should help them identify with the person being interviewed, which is what it’s all about.