Study Reveals Successful Language For Kickstarter Campaigns

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As the Kickstarter platform has gained popularity, more startups than ever are now using the service to crowdsource funding for their projects. Not every Kickstarter project, however, can be as successful as the Pebble watch or the Veronica Mars movie. Now, a new study has shown that the difference between success and failure on Kickstarter could have something to do with the language used in each campaign's pitch.

The study, to be presented at the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in February, reveals that certain phrases are likely to show up in Kickstarter campaigns that go on to become funded, while others can likely be found on the pages of failed campaigns.

Our research revealed that the phrases used in successful Kickstarter campaigns exhibited general persuasion principles," said Eric Gilbert, a researcher on the study and an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University. "For example, those campaigns that follow the concept of reciprocity - that is, offer a gift in return for a pledge - and the perceptions of social participation and authority, generated the greatest amount of funding."

For example, phrases such as "also receive two, "mention your," "has pledged," "given the chance," "your continued," and "project will be" were strongly associated with successful Kickstarter projects. On the other hand, phrases such as "not been able," "even a dollar," "dressed up," "later I," "a blank," and "trusting" were all associated with failed campaigns.

Researchers looked at more than 45,000 Kickstarter campaigns as part of the study. They found that just over half (52%) of campaigns end up meeting their funding goals, while 48% ultimately fall short.

The study found more than 100 phrases that can predict the success or failure of a project. The language of a Kickstarter project was shown to more than 58% of the measured variance with regards to success.