Brands need to take greater advantage of the desire for how-to content says Google

How-to content on YouTube is increasingly in demand, according to new research from Google. Searches for topics ranging from the practical (how-to tie a tie), to the creative (how to draw), from style (how to curl your hair with a hair straightener) to cuisine (how to make a cake), are growing 70% year over year, with 100m hours of how-to videos viewed in North America so far in 2015.

The growth is being attributed to mobile technology, with 91% of smartphone users saying they now turn to their phones for ideas while doing a task. Categories trending the most include beauty, home improvement and cooking.

hair_howto

“Being constantly connected has trained us to expect immediacy and relevance in moments of intent—the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments. These micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for people’s hearts, minds, and dollars,” writes David Mogensen on the Think with Google site.

The team is pushing the idea that marketers are too heavily focused on one-way traditional media planned against brand moments and anchored to campaign flights, rather than thinking about and preparing for these personal moments. In doing so they’re missing out on potential for conversion too – data shows with millennials specifically, one in three say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video.

MAC Cosmetics has particularly focused on this how-to content as a means of driving sales in local markets. It partnered with Google on a YouTube gadget in 2014 to allow viewers to shop directly from its “Instant Artistry” video series on its local e-commerce sites. “A user watching our videos in Brazil will engage with a version of the gadget that is entirely in Portuguese and will be driven directly to the Brazilian MAC Cosmetics site to purchase. We have seen fantastic engagement as well as incremental sales on e-commerce that far exceeded our expectations,” says Noelle Sadler, VP of global consumer engagement at the company.

Google’s how-to for marketers

Here are some of the best practices Google suggests in approaching a content strategy built around ‘I-want-to-do moments’:

  • Identify the I-want-to-do moments in which consumers have a need and your brand can play a role. Find these moments across the entire consumer journey and put them at the center of your strategy.
  • What are the questions and concerns people have related to the types of products you sell or the types of projects they are used for? What do people want to learn about them? (Tools such as Google Trends and Google Consumer Surveys can help answer these questions.) Create I-want-to-do content for your website and YouTube channel to serve as resources for them.
  • Look at when how-to searches occur. Are there particular times of day, week, or year when some topics are more popular?
  • Make your videos easy to find by adding descriptive titles, details, and relevant tags to each video. You can also promote your content by TrueView in-stream and in-display, and you can reach the right viewers through affinity, in-market, and topic targeting.
  • Did you reach your audiences? Did they pay attention? What implications did it have on their perceptions and actions? Measurement solutions, such as Google’s Brand Lift, can help answer these questions.