Katherine Griwert

Plot twist: New research from Ascend2 shows the most effective videos for marketing are also the hardest to create. According to the poll of over 200 marketers (54 percent at companies with 50-500+ employees), 51 percent of marketers cite testimonials as the most effective videos for marketing. These are also cited as the most challenging videos to make by 42 percent. But perhaps the key to a happy ending for marketing programs is examining video strategies to uncover the best fit for specific business goals.


While testimonials are called the “most effective videos,” the study also identifies brand awareness as the top goal of video marketing efforts. In some cases your biggest advocates are absolutely your best marketing tool. But when 48 percent of marketers say their biggest challenge is lacking an effective video strategy, is it time to explore why testimonials are the go-to format for results?

The most effective videos, by format

Reviews are in, and here’s a quick breakdown of Ascend’s findings on the most effective videos:

  • Testimonials (51%)
  • Explainers & tutorial videos (50%)
  • Demos (49%)
  • Thought leader interviews (35%)
  • Project reviews & case studies (26%)
  • Webinar videos (23%)
  • Vlogs (15%)
  • Event videos (13%)

Here is a major problem I have with this study: It does not indicate what percentage of respondents actually USE these types of videos in their marketing strategies.

A separate study found 68% of marketers use testimonials, compared to just 48% who use presenter or spokesperson videos (in the style of a vlog).

Is this a fair comparison of efficacy?

The same group of marketers admit they don’t feel their video strategies are effective in targeting their goals, so how many missed opportunities are the result of failure to try a type of video? Especially when testimonials are usually one of the first videos we’ve learned at Brafton that marketers want to add to their lists.

High adoption of testimonials compared to other formats is supported by research from Flimp, which found 68 percent of marketers use testimonials, compared to just 48 percent who use presenters (in the style of a vlog)… and Flimp was extremely transparent about the fact that over 15 percent of its respondents declined to comment on the types of videos they use.


To be clear: Testimonials are a vital part of marketing strategies. They *can* be a great way to spread word-of-web referrals that serve brand awareness (which Ascend2 found is marketers’ top goal), and they’re absolutely key to lead gen/nurturing. But the video format that will be most effective for a particular brand is dependent on the goal.

What are videos effectively achieving?

According to Ascend2, brand awareness is the top reason marketers are investing in videos, cited by 47 percent of respondents as the No.1 goal. Lead generation (41 percent) and web conversions (34 percent) trailed surprisingly farther behind, which seems to suggest marketers are finding testimonials are the most effective tool for branding.

This may be true, but the most challenging obstacles to video success call into question how marketers are evaluating their videos’ returns, in the first place.

Here are Ascend’s related findings:


This study aside, it’s essential to make sure your videos match YOUR goals and audience, and then you’re experimenting with formats that go beyond a handful of tried-and-true formats that work for other brands.

Looking to build the right video strategy for your company? Read more: Blog: A guide to goal-focused video marketing