In order to grow in today’s fast-paced, consumer-centric online ecosystem, it’s imperative for advertisers to connect with their audience in an honest and authentic way.
Not only do consumers see right through the BS, deeming advertisements irrelevant if they’re perceived as sales-y and inauthentic, but they also simply value realness and truth.
While there are several ways for advertisers to achieve such a connection, one proven and effective way is through the use of testimonials. Both informative and credible, testimonials act as the perfect recipe for a connection between the advertiser and the consumer.
With that said, in what follows we’ll be diving into the world of advertising, particularly as it pertains to testimonials, detailing both why advertisers use them and why they’re evidently effective.
If you’re an advertiser and you’ve yet to implement testimonials into your ad content, this article is for you! Let’s get right into it.
What is testimonial advertising?
Before defining what testimonial advertising is, it’s important to first define what a testimonial is. Not to be confused with scripted marketing content, testimonials are user-generated statements that aim to support a given product or service being advertised.
While businesses and brands alike may request a testimonial review from an existing consumer, they do not have a say in WHAT the testimonial will say or how it will be perceived.
Instead, it’s an unbiased, authentic, and real opinion from an existing consumer that independently opts to provide an informative and valuable response for potential future consumers of said product or service.
Testimonial advertising, then, is simply the act of integrating a given testimonial or testimonials in an advertisement so as to promote a product or service and provide real social proof of said product or service.
Testimonial advertisements can be released in various formats, from audio, video, text, or a combination of the three. Further, they tend to be sourced from four primary populations so as to further gain credibility and authority; The four primary sources of testimonial advertising include celebrity/influencer endorsements, industry experts, loyal satisfied users, and first-time buyers.
Types of testimonial advertising
As mentioned above, testimonial advertising can take on one of three mediums; audio, video, and/or text. While all three are effective in their own right, boasting their own purpose depending on the context of the ad, it’s important to understand each and when to use them.
With that said, below is a summarized look into each type of testimonial advertisement and why it’s effective:
Typically used in the context of a commercial or promotional video, video testimonials are highly effective because they show visually the reaction of the consumer reviewing said product or service.
Not only is visual context extremely effective at eliciting emotion but it also goes the extra mile in developing trust and building credibility. In other words, those viewing can recognize that the words being stated are, in fact, coming from a real person and not just some employee typing behind a screen.
Most commonly used on online platforms such as websites, blogs, and landing pages, though also evident in tangible materials such as magazines and brochures, text-based testimonials are effective because of how subtle they are.
Because the testimonial isn’t as ‘in your face’ as, say, a video testimonial is, the reader is likely to be less adept to judge its authenticity and sales-y nature, thus resulting in a more authentic connection between the advertisement and the consumer.
Audio testimonials are typically integrated into promotional advertisements on streaming platforms where music and podcasts are found. The primary reason advertisers may opt for audio testimonials is because of the fact that consumers are listening to a piece of content anyways, so why not place a promotional advertisement amidst their listening…
While some may view this as intrusive and manipulative, most consumers understand that online consumption of content comes with it a level of promotional advertisements. As such, it’s unlikely to create any friction in the relationship.
The benefits of testimonial advertising
There are several notable benefits of implementing testimonial advertising amidst your overall marketing strategy; It’s why testimonials remain an effective strategy to this day…
From boosting credibility, industry authority, consumer confidence, and building trust, testimonial advertising is an all but necessary step towards connecting with your target audience and increasing conversions.
All of these benefits largely come down to social proof; proving to those interested that the product or service in question is, in fact, worth the investment and does, in fact, live up to its perceived value; After all, consumers are much more likely to act upon something when they’ve gained confirmation that others have done the same.
With that said, below is a summary of the many expected and actualized benefits of implementing testimonials as an advertiser:
Increases credibility and industry authority
Not only is increasing credibility and authority a benefit to the consumer, but it’s also a benefit to the advertiser at hand. Gaining feedback, both positive and negative, helps to guide the growth of any business.
When the feedback is positive, spreading its message for potential consumers to see is a fast track to success, providing potential consumers with the assurance they need to trust in their purchase.
Boosts trust with consumers
In the same breath, building trust requires a lot of effort on behalf of the advertisers in charge. With that said, testimonials make it a heck of a lot easier to build such a connection.
In short, when a business or brand is able to build a real connection with their audience, the sky is the limit to what they can achieve and accomplish.
Reduces advertising capital required
While advertisers are often viewed as kings of content, they’re also required to do several other tasks, from data analysis to finances and budgeting. With that said, a major priority for advertisers is to save costs wherever possible without diminishing the quality of their advertisements.
In walks testimonials!
As we’ll discuss shortly, testimonials are an incredible cost-savings strategy, relieving advertisers of the need to invest capital into the creation of ad content. Instead, they rely on user-generated content and simply proceed to post.
Improves advertisement performance
When combining improved credibility, built trust, and cost savings, the end result is an improvement in an advertisement’s performance. As with any business or business activity, the end goal is to reduce costs and optimize for profits; testimonial advertising helps you achieve that.
Why do advertisers use testimonials
Withstanding its many evident and proven benefits surrounding credibility, authority, social proof, and trust, advertisers also see the value of testimonials from an economic standpoint.
In other words, while other marketing strategies are known to require a substantial investment, both in terms of time and money, testimonials are ultimately a cost-saving strategy, eliminating the need to invest time or money in content creation on any level; the work is already done for them by the consumer!
The result? An increase in conversions and ultimately a larger return on investment (ROI).
Finally, with the rise in popularity of influencer marketing, there’s no reason why advertisers wouldn’t or shouldn’t take advantage of its effectiveness. In other words, if consumers are showing that they value such content, it’s imperative that businesses, brands, and advertisers alike appeal to such value and implement it in their strategies.
A final word
As a commonly used marketing strategy, particularly when it comes to advertising, testimonials are a great way to provide social proof so as to build trust, boost credibility, and increase consumer confidence to convert.
While it’s important to use your discretion when choosing when and where to implement testimonial advertising, when used appropriately, testimonial advertising is undeniably effective.
Hence, why so many advertisers still choose to use testimonials to this day… If you’re an advertiser not yet taking advantage of its many benefits, consider this article your sign to start!