Engineers are Embracing YouTube—So Should You

We’ll come right out and just say it: if your business isn’t using YouTube as a marketing channel, you probably should be. The just-published report, “2022 State of Marketing to Engineers,” from GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, shows that 80 percent of engineers say YouTube is valuable to them when seeking information on the latest engineering technologies, industry trends, and products.

This finding shouldn’t come as a surprise, even though for the most part engineers do not place much value in social media as a whole when it comes to work. But YouTube is one of the few exceptions.

Why the popularity of YouTube? First, most people are visual learners, and are able to understand and retain more information when it is presented in a visual format. Video formats such as animations and demonstrations can offer interesting and intuitive ways to present and maybe even simplify complex technical information.

Engineers are on board. Ninety-six percent of them consume video for work-related purposes, with the majority (53 percent) watching at least one hour of video weekly. Engineers under the age of 35 watch even more video content than the population of engineers as a whole.

Another reason for YouTube’s popularity is that engineers, engineering students, and pretty much everyone else are exposed to more videos and are more comfortable with the format than ever before as a way to research, learn, compare, and make decisions.

YouTube offers a vast collection of niche content. Whether engineers are seeking specialized technical knowledge or to simply brush up on engineering concepts, YouTube likely has a channel that can help them. Looking for a refresher on the finite element method for numerically solving differential equations? YouTube has that. If you want to brush up on the concept of hydraulic jump, you can watch this video on YouTube’s Practical Engineering channel, which has over 2.5 million subscribers.

The Most Valuable Content for YouTube

Video lends itself to a wide variety of valuable content: from interviews to roundups to product demonstrations, but the most sought-after YouTube content is the “how-to.” One-third of the content on YouTube is how-to related content, including tutorials, demonstrations, troubleshooting, comparisons, instructional videos, and more.

Thirty-eight percent of engineers report they find tutorial and how-to videos useful when researching to make a significant work purchase. This would be a great area to focus your video production efforts on. Other effective videos are product or service overviews and one-on-one interviews with technical experts or thought leaders. You also might want to have a short company overview video to promote your brand.

YouTube Tips

Even if you’re an experienced YouTube marketer, reminders of some fundamentals can always be of help:

  • If you haven’t done so already create a YouTube brand account and channel. First, you’ll need a Google account since Google owns YouTube. If you already have a YouTube brand account, make sure your company information and imagery is up to date and clarifies your value proposition. Include links to your website and other social media assets.
  • When you create and upload videos to your channel, be sure you optimize them for search as you would a page on your website. This includes titles, descriptions, keywords and tags.
  • If you can, include features that improve the user experience. A compelling thumbnail is an important first impression. Adding timestamps to longer videos allows users to jump to their specific topic of interest. Closed captioning is almost always appreciated.
  • Keep track of metrics such as subscribers, views, view duration, popular videos, and click-through rates. All your videos should have a call to action with a click-through.

If you don’t have the resources or expertise to produce videos and manage your own channel, consider sponsorship on a relevant YouTube channel that reaches the audience you are seeking to find. A simple search might turn up a number of candidates to further vet. Sponsorship is a viable way to ease into YouTube marketing and connect with engineers.

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