Riding the how to wave: How can brands leverage the search volume for how to content

Written by on Thursday, April 14, 2016

Searches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70% year over year and nearly one in three millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video. How should brands approach the prevailing how to megatrend?


Video marketing strategies are still often created around the mindset of campaigns and product launches. Brands however miss a huge opportunity if they don’t consider the upsides of shifting their focus from talking excessively about themselves with advertisement centered strategy into creating content that is truly relevant for their customers.

Among the most popular and searched for categories for how to videos are beauty, home and cooking. In the beauty category, brands like Sephora and M.A.C have recognised the massive search volumes related to makeup tutorial videos and are quick to react to topical trends such as contouring. Tutorials on makeup are actually viewed more than any other kind of tutorial on YouTube. Seventy percent of beauty purchasers said that YouTube videos, especially how-tos and product visualizations, influence what they decide to buy. Successful branded tutorials live by the “create, curate and collaborate” rule of thumb in their audience growth strategy. Teaming up with popular YouTubers is a great way to integrate the brand into the community around a subject on a root level.



In the food category, Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube has become the ultimate foodie destination for kitchen hacks, tips and recipe videos. With high-quality content, weekly videos and active community management the viewer becomes an engaged member of the community. When operating on social platforms consumers are able to talk back to brands, which means they’re able to take charge of the conversation. This sense of authenticity and openness combined with truly useful content leads viewers to spend longer times with brands than they ever would have with traditional video advertisements.


The key to creating successful how-to content is authenticity. Content should come first, not highlighting the attributes of the product. Shared values and points of interest are at the core of content that is both on brand and promotes the product. Being truly social and part of the conversation is how brands can deeply integrate into the lives of their audience. Brands like Home Depot and FedEx have lived up to this with researching extensively what are the most common subjects their clients look help with. Toilet instalments or parcel pick-ups might not be the most glamorous subjects to talk about, but a tutorial on DIY toilet instalment remains the most popular video on Home Depot’s channel with over 1,7 million views.



According to Google research, people are primarily looking for product information and reviews while on the go. Catching consumers at a crucial time when they are researching for a product and making purchase decisions is where brands can win big with relevant content. Widening horizons from the traditional one-to-many advertising model is inevitable in order to stay current on video. With the rise of shoppable video, how to videos are guaranteed to remain interesting for brands.


Sources: TNS/Ogilvy/Google “Path to Purpose Research,” May 2014, Beauty Revolution, Google