DIY Videos – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By: Dave Sladack

February 2, 2016

The weekend is rapidly approaching. You decide you’re finally going to tackle those pesky home improvement projects that have been on your list for months, maybe even years. Whether it’s installing a lighting fixture, dressing up your living room with crown molding, or even simply patching a hole in your wall – everyone asks the same question:

Should I do it for myself, or have someone do it for me? Enter Google.

Most will find that doing it on your own saves money. According to Statista, 84% of 18 – to 34-year-olds, 77% of 35 – to 50-year-olds, and 70% of 51 – to 64-year-olds took on a DIY project to save money.

So, you’ve decided to go the DIY route. What’s the next step? For most, there will be a lot more searching, reading articles, watching videos, and asking friends. The Internet has become the first, most important tool for today’s DIYer. Unfortunately, the Internet is a big place and it’s filled with a lot of DIY resources, some good and many more bad.

At Brunner, we took the liberty of cutting through the weeds to identify what makes a DIY video good and what makes it bad.

After watching countless videos on our own, we’ve found that a successful DIY video will be 4 things:

Simple, Credible, Relatable, and Smart

These 4 things are crucial in providing the most helpful and efficient video for the average DIYer.

Below we have mapped out examples of the good, the bad and the ugly in each of these categories for your viewing pleasure.


1. Simple:


DIY videos should always have the project laid out in a very logical, straight-to-the-point, step-by-step order.

Plenty of DIY instructors go off on tangents. In our mind, when someone is searching for a video to help with their project, they’re not looking for an unnecessary story or a personal anecdote that will only confuse the process – they’re looking for steps and results.

A successful DIY video gets to the point and allows the audience to view with ease.

Let’s look at the Youtube page. This particular video on patching drywall has more than 1 million views. Why? Because it gets to the point right away and never detours from the path to completion. I mean, within the first 40 seconds, it lays out clear visuals and descriptions of all the tools you’ll need. No muss, no fuss.

Here is another video from on “How to Replace a Door Knob.” This video actually lays out the steps and instructions for you to follow along with on the bottom of the screen:


Let’s face it. When watching a DIY video, you’re most likely watching it several times. You’re constantly pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding. To have simple placeholders throughout the video is a small thing that makes a huge difference.

Their page has almost 65K subscribers, while their comment feeds are positive and conversational.



2. Credible:


When searching for a DIY video, credibility is an obvious differentiator. If you aren’t convinced quickly that this is a legitimate source, you will move on to something else. If the video does not live on an already established home improvement page, the instructor needs to introduce himself and give some sort of validation as to why you should be listening to him. The quality doesn’t need to be top of the line, but you need to be able to see and hear what the instructor is trying to tell you!

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds.

If we’re not convinced within at least 15 seconds that this video is legitimate, our antsy fingers are already clicking on to the next one.

We’ve shown you a lot of good DIY sources. Now, let’s look at one that lacks credibility.

You can see on the comment section below that an actual professional calls out the video for credibility. In addition, a viewer complains of poor quality and not being able to hear the instructions. 

It's not so easy to make a good, credible, and successful DIY Video. In fact, a study by Conviva shows that, in 2012, content producers lost $2.16 billion in revenues due to poor-quality video streaming. It impacted significantly on viewer engagement and made a bad impression.


3. Relatable:


When finding the perfect DIY video for a project, we want an instructor who is accessible.

It is important to have credibility, but it’s also important not to overdo it.

A video should be targeted to a specific audience. You wouldn’t speak to a pro or a contractor I nthe same manner that you’d speak to a DIYer; A good DIY Video should be created with its audience in mind and will have content that is tailored to that audience.

A lot of manufacturers will put videos out speaking in a professional language that your average DIYer won’t understand. A successful DIY video is easily understood by any level DIYer.

Let’s take this video, with instructor Tim Carter from “AskTheBuilder.” He explains light switch wiring in under 2 minutes in a friendly, energetic manner assuring you that you can do it.

AskTheBuilder has 36,000 subscribers. The video itself has almost 1 million views, with a plethora of comments just like the one below.


4. Smart


As the everyday DIYer, we have an idea of what we need to do, but we don’t have a full understanding. We find that when searching for a DIY video, we don’t always know exactly what we should be searching for, which is why we need the source to be smart for us.

A successful DIY channel knows what you need before you even know you need it. For example, see below a video from Home Depot’s DIY channel of “How To Tile a Bathroom Floor.” 



We found in the ‘Up Next’ column that Home Depot placed additional useful videos for the completion of our project. While the original video we viewed has over 1 million hits, the next one we viewed “Things You Should Know for a Floor Tile Installation Project” had almost 1 million. Similarly, the channel itself has over 100K subscribers. The videos play off each other in a useful and smart way, making it a successful channel.

While we’re focusing on the big box channel, Lowes has a “How-To” page containing video that use similar tactics. When referring to a step in their videos they will point you to a maybe a different video on the channel that explains a smaller step in more detail. It is these small smart tips in each DIY video that make them good, and in turn, generate more views and overall followers for that specific channel.

With short attention spans and mass amounts of content, the competition in the DIY video space is fierce. So when your weekend of home improvement projects approaches, whether you’re a creator or a viewer, make sure the DIY video you’re after is simple, credible, relatable and, of course, smart.

-Kelly McCafferty