Video Reviews

Are Video Reviews the Future of Online Word of Mouth?

Customers have an immediate reaction to video when it’s used well. They’re captivated by the video reviews other customers share. Read More...
Reading Time: 6 minutes

“You’ll never be able to walk on your own, ever again.”

Arthur Boorman was a disabled vet. After a brutal career as a paratrooper, his knees were shot. His back was damaged. He was depressed, overweight and struggling, topping out at 297 lbs.

He had given up on life.

“Wouldn’t you?” he asks, as he shares his story. Only he didn’t give up. He reached out to someone for help. He contacted a personal trainer by the name of Diamond Dallas Page and asked for guidance.

Dallas was skeptical at first.

But he was moved by Arthur’s story. The two men began emailing and speaking with each other on the phone. Dallas would teach, guide and support Arthur on his journey. Their goal?

Don’t give up.

His review, his story is nothing short of inspirational.

We see him struggle and fall. He falls over and over and over again. But each time he falls he gets back up. Both Arthur and Dallas shared their doubts. It seemed as if he was past the point of no return.

He kept fighting.

Arthur’s story is compelling not because it’s unique, but because we can see it. We see where he came from, what he went through. We watched him overcome incredible odds showing everyone, including his doctors, that he’d walk again.

When it comes to Online Reviews, Video is Powerful

Customers have an immediate reaction to video when it’s used well. They’re captivated by the reviews other customers share, whether it’s a group review or one-on-one session.

Even better research shows that…

Video, as a channel, continues to grow quickly. But, video reviews for the most part, aren’t growing as fast.


Prospective customers want to see video reviews. Customers on the other hand, aren’t as eager to give video reviews.

Most Customers Won’t Give You a Video Review

That’s the rationale right?

That customers are unwilling to give you a video review, because they want to maintain their privacy. Or they don’t know what to say, or something. Whatever the reason, video isn’t actually a focal point for customers. It feels tedious, it’s a chore.


Actually, yes.

It’s as if there’s this imaginary barrier that keeps people from recording videos. Maybe they don’t want to take the time to upload a video. Maybe they want to give their video a once over before uploading.

Whatever the case, customers aren’t sharing – at least that’s the commonly cited reason. But that may not be the real reason.

Here’s why.

Video reviews are typically specialized and focused around five specific areas:

1. Niche Players

Businesses understand the value of a review in a way that consumers don’t. So it makes sense that it’s easier for businesses to get a video review from… other businesses. Here’s a B2B video review Wistia, a video hosting SaaS company, made for HelpScout.

2. Culture

Crunchy moms focus on environmentally friendly, organic and natural products. These women typically bake their own bread, grow their own food, eat vegan, etc. These sub-cultures have their own rules, social norms, and jargon. Why does that matter? Video reviews in these cultures function as a trust building mechanism that’s used to establish audience credibility. Here’s a Crunchy Mom reviewing cloth diapers.

3. Industry specific

The entertainment industry – movies, music and games – has a rich history of video reviews baked right in. Customers will seek out video reviews from critics and fans alike. For example, here’s Deadline’s review of the Netflix Original, House of Cards.

4. Professionals

The vast majority of video reviews come from professional and semi professional reviewers. Here’s Consumer Reports analysis of 740,000 vehicles and their report of this year’s most reliable brands.

5. Product focused

Product reviews focus on the product, how it functions, what happens when you use it, etc. Amazon product reviews typically show the product in action and it’s something customers can upload directly with their review.

Of these five types, only culture and product focused reviews come from consumers. If you’re in an industry that depends on the other types, it’s a good idea to take a hands on approach with reviews. Reach out to customers directly to get the reviews you need.

What about mainstream services like Google, Facebook, or Yelp? Google and Yelp are notable exceptions but vast majority of review sites haven’t made video reviews a priority.

4.5 Star Yelp review for restaurant Alinea

Yelp rolled out video reviews in 2014, but they’ve quietly placed video on the back burner, making them mobile only. They’ve also forced app users to dig a little bit.

Yelp review with menu options

What’s the opportunity for business owners with video? Are there any opportunities?

The surprising answer is yes.

Focus on Reviewer Types to Win Video Reviews

Video reviews require more from your customers. There’s the loss of privacy, the amount of work involved, camera quality, videography skills and a whole host of other details customers need to focus on to create an amazing video review. Most smartphones are capable of creating HD video, and most compensate for lighting and a lack of skill.

Even better, the homey look tends to add authenticity to the review. You’re not “being sold,” you’re receiving an insider report.

Still, most customers won’t bother.

Does this mean you abandon your reviews? Do you ignore video reviews and abandon it as a viable strategy?


You simply pivot.

You follow the reviewers.

You identify the relevant cultures, niche players, industries, professionals and products around your business. You find the people who can deliver video reviews and you reach out to them. You combine their video reviews with the text, audio and image reviews customers give you.

You use them to increase your search engine visibility, to attract more social shares, to build up customer reviews, etc.

Here’s a few strategies you can use to attract more video reviews.

  1. Ask customers if they’re willing to share their feedback on your organization’s performance.
  2. Get their permission to record the interview using the medium that’s most comfortable for them (e.g. Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, etc.)
  3. Combine audio and images together to create a video review (e.g. combining before and after photos with audio testimonials)
  4. Create a video review station where customers can email or upload their video reviews.

With video reviews, the possibilities are endless.

Video Reviews aren’t the future….yet.

Mainstream audiences don’t have what they need to attract the video reviews brands are looking for. Specialty audiences, the highly engaged niche, industry and product groups I mentioned earlier, expect video reviews. They use them well.

If your industry is part of a specialty audience, video reviews are scalable. You already have what you need to attract and convert the customers you need.

Nobody wants to see a talking head.

It isn’t so much about who’s talking, it’s more about context. Is your customer’s story compelling, does their video review share the important details?

Chewbacca mom became an instant sensation after she posted a video to facebook of her wearing a Chewbacca mask and laughing hysterically. Indirectly, it was a positive review that lead to increased sales of Star Wars products. Her review, if you can call it that, had a direct and very positive effect on the brand she loved.

What about when it goes wrong?

Samsung’s exploding phone debacle created a swarm of negative reviews.

A few weeks later, a viral video shows Gnarls Barkley frontman Ceelo Green, as he’s taken out by his cell phone. His video turned out to be something else but it still did damage to Samsung’s brand. His story makes an important point; customers love to share a compelling story.

We watched Arthur struggle and fall. He failed over and over and over again. But each time he failed he came back stronger. Both Arthur and Dallas had their fears, their doubts.

The same fear and doubts customers look for.

Your customer’s story, your story can be compelling when you show customers. Show prospects what your customers went through. Paint a picture showing them what they can accomplish with your help; then like Arthur, you’ll find your story is nothing short of inspirational.

About the Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew McDermott is the co-founder of HooktoWin. He shows entrepreneurs how to attract and win new customers.