What Makes Us Start a DIY Project?

We’ve seen the Property Brothers make that bummer of a kitchen into something that would make Martha Stewart jealous. We’ve seen Tom Silva make This Old House into a stunning showplace. But there’s a big difference between wanting to do a DIY project, and getting to the store, buying the materials, and putting hammer to nail or seed to earth. So, what makes us get off the sofa, get to the store, and get the project underway?

In a new Moment Studio Microstudy conducted with our partners at ORC International, we sought to find out what gets people to engage in a DIY project. 1000 people reflecting the general U.S. population were asked whether they agree with the statement “I am inspired to do DIY projects when I consume fun and informative content that makes the task less overwhelming (how-to YouTube videos, Pinterest boards, infographics, etc.)” – and their responses told us a ton.

What We Learned

The outcome is clear – video that helps people get over their fears in a friendly way is a great motivator. It is also clear that while there are some generational differences, it is a powerful force of motivation across generations.


Right off the bat, we can see there’s a significant inter-generational difference in how people respond. But let’s break it down and see what this difference really means.

If you build it (engaging how-to DIY content), they’ll build it.

It turns out inspiring content can be just the motivator needed to get us off the couch and into action. Showing something simply and with some brand character and fun to it can get people to stop dreaming and start making.

We see this all the time in the food and cooking spaces. Buzzfeed’s Tasty, a publisher of recipe videos, for example, recognizes the power of bite-sized digital video to tell an engaging story that prompts people into action. A well-performing Tasty video generates a 1-3% share rate (the number of people who share the video socially, divided by the total views).* This engagement is then passed on to brand sponsors in the form of brand affinity and sales. According to Adweek, a sponsored Tasty campaign for Newell brands that featured an Oster grill in a minute-long jalapeno and cheese-stuffed hamburger recipe video caused sellouts on and The brand attributed the sales lift directly to Tasty since it was the only running paid media.”

Millennials are a huge opportunity.

It turns out that for 65% of consumers age 18-36, seeing a YouTube Video or Pinterest pin will inspire them to do DIY projects. This might seem astute, but it is significant when you see that for baby boomers, that number is just 40%. We also know that millennials are predisposed to creative pursuits; they consider themselves creative by nature, and they take pride in “making.” For this generation, passion to create is significant, and content that makes the complex more digestible is all they need to feel inspired.

For all the heat we give millennials, the fact is that they’re our next generation of buying power; AdAge puts the generation’s annual spending power at $200 billion in 2017. This audience is prime for the home-improvement-DIY-taking, so let’s give them some engaging content and help them get going.

Content works for Gen Xers and Boomers, too.

It’s notable that for Gen Xers, 51% agreed with our statement about video, but that’s only 1% more than the general population (i.e., all people). Nonetheless, motivating half of Gen Xers and 40% of Boomers to action isn’t bad either.

How to do it

Regardless of generation, here are some tips for creating inspirational video that can inspire content:

Tell a story. Even though a video’s purpose might be instructional or a how-to, present it as a story – with a beginning middle and end — that has the project as the solution to a real life problem. This will create an emotional angle that helps people relate and connect.

Get the idea across, not necessarily the blueprint. We’re looking to create a spark of creativity and remove fear. And most modern digital channels require brevity. Giving viewers the broad strokes of the how-to can get them far enough – perhaps even far enough to click through to detailed instructions on a website.

Distribute the video. In online content, the world doesn’t beat a path to the better-built mousetrap. You have to get it in places where people are looking for it, which means paying to “distribute” it. Paid video products on platforms with task-minded people are likely the best places to start. So let’s inspire some millennials to do it themselves!

And our crew of industrious makers at Moment Studio are happy to help out. Check out some of our personal favorites in our DIY Portfolio.


Ken Kraemer is CEO and Founder of Moment Studio. He started Moment Studio to provide a high-quality, efficient way for brands to create great social content that gets equally great business results.