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Testimonial vs Review: Key Differences Between Them

ByMashkoor Alam

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As an ecommerce store owner, you most likely already know how important social proofs are. Social proofs help you to increase the credibility of your brand, making it easier for potential buyers to choose your products and services. However, with different types of social proofs available, each with its subtypes, it can be challenging to decide which kind would best suit your business.

Among the most commonly used social proofs are testimonials and reviews that help you attract and win over new customers. Both have their own set of pros and cons, and understanding them can help you make an informed decision on which to use. In this guide, we'll do a comparative analysis of testimonials vs reviews and highlight the pros and cons of each along with the key differences between the two.

Table of contents

Understanding testimonials and reviews

Before we differentiate between the two, let’s better understand what each one is.

What are testimonials?

Testimonials are long and formal recommendations of products or services of a company. They exclusively highlight positive feedback customer who benefited from a specific product or service. Testimonials have different formats such as video testimonials, case studies, or written.

You can feature testimonials on your websites, along with the client's name, title, and company. They give prospective customers an idea of what it's like to work with your company and build trust with them.

Stio, for instance, is an outdoor apparel brand that features the testimonials of brand ambassadors who wear and endorse its products. These ambassadors share insights into their interests and excursions. Each testimonial page includes a product carousel containing the ambassador's top picks, thereby creating a sense of trust and authenticity.

An image of Stio testimonial

What are reviews?

Reviews are short and informal opinions customers share about a product or service. They are honest written reflections of customers’ experiences. Reviews can be positive, negative, or mixed and are available on sites like Yelp, Google Business Profile, and Trustpilot.

For example, Amazon product reviews include user-generated content and ratings for products available on the marketplace. They work as valuable social proof and help others to make informed buying decisions.

An image of Amazon review

Pros and cons

Testimonials

Pros:

  • Showcase positive experiences and success stories.

  • Build trust and credibility.

  • Brands have the liberty to choose the best statements and share them.

  • Offer specific insights that work when businesses want to target specific challenges potential customers face.

Cons:

  • Likelihood of bias since they are written by only customers who had a positive experience.

  • Lack of balanced view of customer experience as they discuss the best scenarios.

Reviews

Pros

  • Offer a more authentic and unfiltered perspective.

  • Give a balanced view since they contain both positive and negative customer feedback.

Cons

  • A lot of customer reviews make it tough for fellow customers to access relevant information.

  • Fake negative reviews can mislead people and hurt a brand’s reputation.

Testimonial vs review: What's the difference?

Now that you know the pros and cons of both, let’s take a look at the main differences between them.

Aspect Testimonials Reviews
Source Collected only from satisfied customers Come from all kinds of customers, including happy and unhappy
Tone Positive tone that focuses on benefits and values derived from a product The tone can be positive, negative, or mixed
Purpose Promotion of brand/business Sharing of honest opinions about products and services
Format Written statements or videos Comments, star ratings, and photos
Commonly Displayed On Website home pages, landing pages, and marketing materials such as brochures Product pages, social media, and review sites
Content Control High content control as business owners can edit and choose which testimonials to display Low content control since customers own the content they put. Businesses can only respond to reviews
Frequency Low, collected strategically High, come frequently from different sources
Collection Mode Direct requests to customers No need for requests. Reviews are voluntarily given by customers

Conclusion

If you have a good product, testimonials and reviews will help you show how good your products and services are. They help you build a strong online presence and brand reputation by sharing reviews and testimonial videos from happy customers. While both are important, they have distinct roles and strengths, as discussed above in the pros and cons. Testimonials build trust with potential clients, and reviews share detailed feedback about your products and services. The key to success lies in strategically using them to build brand credibility and a loyal customer base while keeping your actions ethically sound.

FAQs

Ask your clients for testimonials. Send personalized emails to happy clients asking for feedback and permission to use it as a testimonial. You can also conduct interviews with them to collect detailed feedback. Use case studies to showcase testimonials and highlight the benefits of your products or services to a wider audience.

Respond to online reviews as soon as possible. This shows that you value your customers' feedback and care about them. Don't use generic responses; personalize them to show appreciation and build a connection. Keep your review precise and to the point. Appreciate your customers for sharing their experience and invite them to take action, such as recommending you to others or visiting you again.

The best review websites for collecting and displaying reviews include Google My Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, G2, Trustpilot, Yotpo, and Capterra.

If you get a fake review, follow the below steps: Report it to the platform where it was posted. Respond to it politely. Rectify the false information in the bad review to maintain transparency and trust.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

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