Amidst the noise of brand promises and product claims, the most powerful voice is that of satisfied customers. This is what testimonial advertising is about – using the opinions of happy (or sometimes unhappy) customers to promote your business.
Yet, testimonial advertising isn’t only a marketing tactic. It turns faceless corporations into relatable entities and tangible solutions.
Your customers think, “Hey, if that person got results using this product, then I can too.”
This article briefly touches on why testimonial advertising works before analyzing 10 real-life examples to apply to your next campaign.
Why testimonial advertising is so effective
Testimonial advertising uses customer feedback and endorsements to build trust and credibility. Instead of relying only on what a brand says, testimonial advertising uses real customers’ experiences and opinions to create an engaging story.
Consider these compelling figures:
- The power of trust: According to a well-known Nielsen survey, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertising. Testimonials showcase positive experiences, increasing customer confidence.
- Conversion catalyst: A study by Spiegel Research Center found that products with customer reviews were 270% more likely to be purchased than those without. Testimonials serve as persuasive pushes that nudge potential customers toward a buying decision.
- Enhanced engagement: Research from BrightLocal reveals that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a local business. Testimonials act as valuable reviews, boosting website engagement and marketing materials.
- Social proof: Robert Cialdini popularized the concept of social proof in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. He shares that people tend to follow the actions of others when making decisions. For example, adding a testimonial to your sales page can increase sales by 34%.
Testimonial ads are an influential tool that shouldn’t be ignored. The magic sweet spot is when you use the most relevant testimonials to create an emotional bond between your brand and audience.
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Next, we’ll examine exceptional testimonial ads and see how they use these principles for maximum impact.
We have a list of successful testimonial ads used in different industries. These case studies cover a variety of platforms, including websites, social media, and email, as well as various content formats, including text, images, video, and audio.
Let’s start by reviewing Basecamp’s strong dedication to using testimonials to increase signups.
#1 Basecamp – Landing page testimonial ads
Content format: Text, images, and video
Long-standing project management tool Basecamp takes the use of testimonial advertising to the nth degree on the company’s website homepage. Basecamp’s prolific use of testimonials is particularly unique in the B2B SaaS industry. Here’s a snapshot of their approach.
One of the first things you see on the page is a testimonial underneath the company logo showing a review and a customer quote, “extremely user friendly.”
A little further down the page is a dedicated section to build credibility using a mix of a quote from the Shopify CEO, ratings from trusted aggregators, and customer video testimonials.
But Basecamp doesn’t stop there. A few pixels down the page they show customer testimonials in a carousel and link to a page showing another 1,000 testimonials.
The takeaway is to be bold and pack testimonials onto your landing page in various formats. Showcasing customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to build trust and get conversions — so don’t hold back. It’s almost impossible to overdo it.
#2 Google Ads – YouTube video testimonial ad
Content format: Video
Engagement: 3.2k views, 62 likes
Google Ads is the largest digital advertising platform in the world, and the main reason it’s at the top is simple. It’s one of the most effective ways to make sales. And they prove this time and time again by sharing customer success stories. Here’s an example of a video testimonial from US retail giant Best Buy.
For a 1-minute video, this testimonial covers a lot of ground. Within 15 seconds, you understand that Best Buy needed a marketing channel to keep up with the evolving demands of their customers.
The folks featured in the video are the VP and the Director of paid media, adding instant credibility to the testimonial. They explain the specific growth metrics and results from using Google AI-powered ads.
Google has over 25 testimonials on its YouTube channel; many more are unlisted. They also use these videos in YouTube ads.
The takeaway is to identify compelling success stories and create concise, engaging video content featuring credible spokespersons that match your target audience.
Google has an unlimited budget to create highly-produced videos. However, it isn’t necessary to go to that level of production. More importantly, highlight specific metrics and results customers have achieved using your product or service.
#3 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Negative audio testimonial
Content format: Audio
Engagement: 5 million views, 47k likes, global press coverage
In 2011, a woman was removed from an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. She was texting during a film, which broke their phone policy. Livid, the customer sent an angry voicemail to the cinema to express her complaint.
Tim League, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, shared the voicemail publicly to emphasize their phone rules.
The voicemail clip was featured in prominent publications like the New York Times. It also got TV coverage on CNN and The View. Whoopi Goldberg said, “I love this – bravo Alamo theater.”
The incident at Alamo Drafthouse teaches us how to turn a challenging situation into a marketing triumph. Instead of ignoring the angry voicemail, Alamo Drafthouse bravely shared it as a bold statement about their phone policy. This reinforced their commitment to a distraction-free movie experience while gaining significant media attention.
It highlights that customer feedback, even if negative, can be a powerful marketing tool when handled effectively.
#4 B-School – Testimonial page
Content format: Text, images, video
Marie Forleo’s B-School, a well-known online business training program, shows us how to use the words of happy students to increase leads. The program has a dedicated page on its website where students share their stories, which helps people believe in the program and entices them to join.
This page is an example of where more is better. With over 200 reviews, you quickly feel confident in the program.
In addition to having a profile image for each customer testimonial, the copy is geared towards communicating the results students get after completing B-School. Almost every testimonial references a number — be it sales or time periods in which they got results.
You can also view reviews by business category, making finding testimonials related to your industry easy. This makes a seemingly broad business course feel more relevant to each prospect.
#5 ClickUp – LinkedIn testimonial ad
Content format: Video
Engagement: 57 likes, 16 comments, 9 reposts
ClickUp is a popular project management tool for teams and regularly features tutorials from professionals using its features. Here’s an example of a ClickUp video tutorial from Jeff Cypher at Zen Pilot.
Having a third party endorse your product as a leader is an excellent marketing strategy. Customers trust someone who has used your product more than your marketing team. You can also share the third party’s content on your social media to reach more people. And working with users of your product, like teachers, can provide valuable feedback to enhance it.
#6 Make Beauty – TikTok testimonial ad
Content format: Video
Engagement: 9k likes, 80 comments, 244 saves
Make Beauty is a skincare and makeup company that heavily relies on User Generated Content (UGC) to build awareness and acquire customers. Here’s an example of a TikTok testimonial from an influencer partnership.
@ugc.social Breaking down a UGC testimonial ad that worked on me 👀 🛍️ 💄 #ugc #ugccreator #ugcconcept #ugctips #usergeneratedcontent #ugccreators #marketing #digitalmarketing #ugcexample #contentcreator #contentcreatortips #microinfluencertips #ugcvideo #tiktokads #ugcjourney #ugcupdate #UGCcommunity #ugcideas #ugcgang #nanoinfluencer #ugchowto #ugcvideos #contentcreation #ugcportfolio #ugccontentcreator #ugctipsandtricks #ugcinspo #socialmediamarketing #ugcjourneyupdate #creatortok #ugcideas #ugccoach #ugcpro #newugc ♬ original sound – UGC & Creative Strategy 💬
Kelly Rocklein, the Creative Director of UGC Social, claims never to buy makeup online. Yet, she got targeted with this Make Beauty ad and bought the lip gloss product.
The video features TikTok influencer @skylerrenee, who breaks the barrier immediately by addressing what most customers are skeptical about with the sticky feeling of lip balms.
The content even references third-party reviews (i.e., more testimonials) to add more social proof to the ad. It helps that the product delivers on the promise, as people in the comments leave their experiences consistent with the claims in the video.
The ad doesn’t use any fancy video tricks. There isn’t any music. True to TikTok culture, it doesn’t feel overly produced, so it doesn’t feel like an ad.
#7 King Kong – Email automation Testimonial
Content format: Text
King Kong is one of the fastest-growing marketing agencies, and a key to their success is using testimonials to improve conversions in their email marketing funnel. Here’s an example of an email pitching their free strategy call.
The email makes strong claims about the free strategy call offer, so it’s imperative that King Kong uses some sort of proof to add credibility to its statements.
The testimonial looks like a screenshot from a Google review, including a name, profile image, number of reviews left by the person, and the date the review was published. These all suggest that the review is legitimate.
The testimonial also helps address a potential prospect’s doubts about the call. For instance, we’re all worried about receiving generic advice with no personalized value with free offers. Lionel mentioned that Dave from the King Kong team developed an actionable custom solution on the call.
The takeaway is to be thoughtful with what reviews you use in your marketing materials. Each word matters — especially in an intimate channel like email.
#8 Pixxie – Celebrity testimonial ad
Platform: Instagram and website
Content format: Image and video
Testimonial quote: “I love anything that I can enjoy with my kids. It’s so fun to project on the wall, snuggle up, and watch a movie together.”
Pixxie, the company behind the innovative Pixxie projector, has masterfully used celebrities’ influence to elevate its brand, notably securing a glowing testimonial from Khloe Kardashian.
Pixxie made an intelligent move by promoting their product using Khloe Kardashian’s social influence. Khloe’s testimonial highlighted how the Pixxie projector is great for families and makes a stylish holiday gift.
The accompanying Instagram post further reinforced the product’s value through a real-life endorsement.
By collaborating with a celebrity who appeals to their target audience, Pixxie effectively leveraged influencer marketing, creating an authentic connection between the product and potential customers.
#9 NOMOS – Niche-specific testimonials
Content format: Text and images
NOMOS is a leading marketing firm specializing in law firms. It strategically employs niche-specific testimonials on its website to instill confidence and trust among prospective clients in the legal profession.
By showcasing feedback from lawyers, potential clients gain insights into the firm’s effectiveness within their specific industry.
It’s obvious, but even the opening heading, “We’ve helped Other Law Firms Just Like Yours,” instantly makes the prospective client feel like they’re in the right place.
Including profile images and company logos adds a personal touch and reinforces the credibility of each testimonial.
#10 Zapier – Facebook testimonial ad
Content format: Text and link
Engagement: 28 likes, 3 comments, 3 shares
Zapier, the no-code automation platform, routinely shares customer testimonials and reviews on its social media channels. See the below example of Zapier sharing a quote from an article on Entrepreneur.com about a customer who saved thousands of hours and costs with Zapier and Meta automation.
Zapier is smart about telling people how great its tool is on Facebook. It shares stories from customers like Sports Camera – Veo, who say Zapier helped sell things faster and saved them time and money.
This shows us that real customers love using Zapier, and it can do cool things for businesses. Learning from this, we see that when a company shares stories from happy customers, it makes others want to use the tool, too.