Want Your Kickstarter Project To Succeed? Research Says These Phrases Could Help

Funded projects often highlight reciprocity, offering gifts to backers.

Want Your Kickstarter Project To Succeed? Research Says These Phrases Could Help
[Image: Flickr user 401kcalculator.org]

What’s the difference between Kickstarter projects that fail and those that succeed? Georgia Tech researchers say it’s all in how the campaigns are phrased.

Last year, more than 3 million people pledged $480 million to Kickstarter projects, successfully funding 19,000 of them. Studying more than 45,000 projects, assistant professor Eric Gilbert and doctoral candidate Tanushree Mitra were able to hone in on phrases that are correlated with successfully funded, as compared to nonfunded, projects.

“We found that the driving factors in crowdfunding ranged from social participation to encouragement to gifts–all of which are distinguished by the language used in the project description,” Mitra says.

Projects that offered backers a gift in return for their pledge typically generated the most funding, according to Gilbert. Funded projects often include language that precipitates success, offering reciprocity (“also receive two”) and highlighting scarcity (“given the chance”). Meanwhile, “not been able” or “even a dollar” often accompany unfunded projects. A list of the top five phrases for funded and unfunded projects are below.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.