YouTube Videos Show Retailers ‘How To’ Get Shoppers Into Stores

Searches related to DIY on the video platform are growing 70 percent year-over-year, according to a Google study.

mac-cosmetics-jpgNearly one-in-three millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video on YouTube. This is according to Google’s ongoing study of “micro-moments,” research that looks to draw a connection between mobility, search, and in-store purchases.

In this case, Google looked at search activity on its YouTube platform and how three retailers in particular — Home Depot, paint marketer Valspar, and MAC cosmetics — saw sales rise as a result of posting video lessons aimed at specific consumer queries.

The report found:

  • Searches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70 percent year over year.
  • More than 100M hours of “how to” content has been watched in North America so far this year
  • 91 percent of smartphone users turn to their smartphone for ideas while doing a given task
  • 67 percent of millennials agree that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn

The nature of the “always-on, always-connected” consumer has created what Google describes as “micro-moments.” The idea reflects consumers’ “I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy” mindset of immediacy between online and offline shopping, writes David Mogensen, who heads B2B Product Marketing, YouTube and Google Display, in a blog post accompanying the study.

Valspar paint cards
Valspar paint cards

“I Want” Moments

“Mobile has significantly changed how we connect with customers at The Home Depot,” Trish Mueller, the DIY chain’s SVP/CMO, tells Mogensen.​“We’re now laser focused on how we can use digital to deliver against our customers’ needs every moment of the day and every step of their home improvement experience.”

In a sense, these videos provide a prelude to a larger conversation that users can have in-store, thus building their confidence that, in the midst of an “I want moment” they will be able to get the answers they seek from the brands they’ve previewed on YouTube.

Home Depot​ has used its YouTube page to answer a range of “how-to” questions for home improvement, from outdoor projects to homeowner basics. Similarly, Valspar’s Y​ouTube channel​ has content that spans from “project inspiration” and “color guidance” to painting processes and tools, ultimately directing people from digital to store shelves.​

The How-To’s Of Beauty

“[Seeking content] can happen early in the project for those who plan in advance, during store visits to guide purchase decisions — even in the middle of painting a room,’” says Heidi Petz, Valspar’s VP for marketing.

MAC has relied on “how-to” beauty content to drive sales in local markets, Google says. Last year, the beauty brand partnered with Google on a YouTube gadget that allows viewers to shop directly from its “Instant Artistry” how-to video series, which allowed for a connection between e-commerce and in-store shopping.

The beauty category in general has seen growing views and searches on YouTube. Specifically, people are spending more time viewing “Get Ready With Me” videos​ as watch-time was up 24 percent year-over-year. ​

In each one of these videos, the creator walks the audience through his or her preparation for some event, be it a night out, a day at work, or an outdoor music festival.

“Two million hours of these videos have been watched so far this y​ear,” Mogensen notes.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.