Crowdfunding is moving at warp speed. In 2012, there were 1 million campaigns that raised $2.7 billion dollars (an 81% increase over 2011). 2013 is on course to nearly double those numbers with funds expected to hit $5.1 billion. (source)
Kickstarter alone has generated $579 million in pledges since its launch in 2009.
In that time, 3.9 million people have pledged to fund nearly 40,000 projects.
So how do you launch a successful campaign on Kickstarter especially knowing the majority of projects don’t ever get funded?
There are many success stories (and candid tales of failure) that we can learn from.
Here are the highlights.
Looking at Kickstarter specifically, in order for a project to receive funding, a fundraising goal must be set and achieved. Approximately 44% of all Kickstarter projects achieve their goals. Funds raised may exceed the initial goal, but the goal is the baseline that must be accomplished. Therefore, it may be strategic to lower the goal amount (but not too low!). For example, if your project requires 150k and you set the funding goal accordingly, but only 120k is raised, you will receive nothing. Indiegogo, on the other hand, offers users the ability to accept funding even when their goals are not met. This comes at a higher percentage (9% underfunded versus 4% for fully-funded projects).
A few important notes:
- Kickstarter takes 5% of all successfully funded projects.
- All projects are required to have US bank accounts and a US mailing address (Kickstarter is working to remove these restrictions to enable Canadians to use the platform more easily).
- There is a limited window in which to raise your funds (approx. 5 weeks). Choose your timing carefully.
- Your project is never removed from the Kickstarter site. It cannot be deleted.
Differences between IndieGoGo and Kickstarter
After funding goals and the reward structure have been determined, and slick multi-media assets have been produced (to post on the Kickstarter project page), it’s time to get down to strategy.
- Create a compelling and engaging story about your project – connect and establish an emotional connection with Backers.
- Raise awareness – identify Key Influencers and establish multiple channels to drive traffic to the Kickstarter project page.
- Pay attention to metrics and adjust accordingly.
- Pay for a PR blitz.
- Empower your fans - consider incorporating fan feedback into the development of your project.
- Consider offering Stretch Goals - it helps keep excitement levels high even after the original funding goal is reached.
- Attract a celebrity popular with the target audience - the celebrity’s endorsement and network goes a long way.
- Be prepared to live & breathe the campaign.
Do you have tips or lessons learned that you can share? Leave a comment.
Comedy Central, MTV and NBC Universal’s Syfy channel continue to muck about in the social TV sandbox – and are seeing successes.
Already there is considerable buzz about Comedy Central’s plan next week to hold a comedy festival exclusively on Twitter. The lineup can be seen here. The hashtag #ComedyFest will be the glue for all the disparate pieces.
Content will be short, to suit the social platform. Comedians (and there are some big names) will post jokes and short video clips – all using the #ComedyFest hashtag. At one point there will even be an online party called “Vine Dining” – leveraging comedic Vine videos for Twitter.
The whole festival will kick off on Twitter with a live stream of Mel Brooks talking about his life, answering questions from a live audience and of course – signing up to Twitter! This event will be moderated by Judd Apatow and Carl Reiner.
It’s interesting for traditional television properties to take bigger chances like this online. And they’re not alone.
MTV is considered one of the leaders of the pack. Most recently, MTV held its Movie Awards show. But to keep its young target audience engaged MTV had to develop several second-screen additions (distractions..? I’m not sure). One such arrangement saw Selena Gomez posting frequent MTV-Awards-Show-related content to her Facebook page. This began days leading up to the show, continued through-out the show and ended when the show concluded. This tactic tapped into Selena’s 42 million+ fans and gave the audience the equivalent of a backstage pass.
Facebook users were also given access to an exclusive Thank-You Cam where they could watch exclusive interviews of the MTV award winners as they came off stage. Additionally, for weeks leading up to the awards, fans could vote for their favourite movie hero using a designated hashtag on Instagram and Twitter: #besthero. In just two weeks, 3.2 million votes were counted.
Perhaps they’re onto something with all these second-screen additions. At a LostRemote conference this week in New York, a GetGlue executive was quoted as saying “Fans are distracted while watching your TV shows. Why not distract them with your second screen instead?”
MTV is constantly testing and innovating in the digital space. Its audience, consisting largely of 18-to-24 year olds, demands it. MTV launched a Tumblr blog dedicated exclusively to interpreting teen-speak. It also offers up a Facebook app that helps students calculate the cost of college.
Numerous other television networks are experimenting with expanding narrative online, and nurturing relationships between audience and cast, online.
HBO’s cast of Veep create and share “Vines” (short video loops for Twitter) on Twitter. NBC Universal’s Syfy Channel has green-lit a series called Fandemonium. When it premieres in the fall, part of the show will reportedly include regular Google Hangouts between cast and fans.
But the bigger attention getter on the Syfy Channel currently is Defiance.
What sets Defiance apart from other shows is its video game component which, when played, can affect events and characters in the show. This gives fans more than just a chance to further engage with the show, they can actually see how the game play alters its course. Syfy is pushing the social TV agenda hard in many of its shows.
Then there are the pseudo-networks that are now creating original “television” programming, like Netflix and Amazon. Even they’re making headlines with innovative approaches to audience engagement. To help Amazon.com develop bullseye programming for its Prime Instant Video portal, it will first post 14 TV pilots online. This means before any show makes the cut, it must first pass muster with online audiences. All pilots will be free to watch – and judge.
The parameters of the social TV sandbox have yet to be defined. Until that time – if it ever comes – it’s fun to watch the dance between the traditional land of lean-back-and-watch TV with the lean-in-and-engage online space.
This week a friend of mine finally got herself a smartphone. Even using the term ‘smartphone’ feels out-of-date, let alone getting your very first one ever. She remembered me obnoxiously praising this app or that so asked me this morning for my top picks. Thought I’d share with you too. Hopefully you can do the same in the comments.
- Posterity – never forget an adorable phrase or expression your kid says again. Posterity saves it, dates it, and allows you to add a photo from the moment.
- MyFitnessPal – exercise and calorie tracker extraordinaire
- Starbucks app – (if you go to Starbucks) this app allows you to use your phone to pay for drinks; handy!
- UrbanSpoon – identifies good restaurants in your area and shows you what other people have tried and liked/hated
- Uber – (you have to subscribe to this service but it’s essentially a personal driver that will pick you wherever you are + take you where you need to go. You don’t have to pay at the time of the ride, rather you pay online) Use the app to tell the Uber driver where you are and find out how far away your ride is. UPDATE: Thanks to @kcclaveria for letting me know Uber has been shut down in Vancouver – but is still alive and well in other cities. Read more here.
- Songza – incredible selection of music playlists at your fingertips. Every type of music is represented. This app is my personal favourite!
- TuneIn Radio – allows you to listen to any radio station in the world
- Smule – cheesy, fun karaoke with a twist: you can choose to sing with other users or solo; people find you and follow you if they like your singing. This one is a guilty pleasure of mine.
- KidArt – no longer do you have to feel guilty about throwing out that wonderful painting your son did. Snap a photo of it, date it and start creating a file of your kid’s art.
- Instagram – if you’re into that sort of thing.. which I am. Makes your photos look amazing but keep in mind, every photo is public. (And Instagram is now owned by Facebook.. which likely means nefarious changes are on the horizon)
- Percolator – a fun, mess-around-with-your-photos app
- Mosaic – make a quick and snappy mini photo album with select photos on your phone. Easy. Cheap.
- DuckDuckGo – a search engine I highly recommend you use. Unlike Google and Bing, DuckDuckGo won’t track your activities or serve you up filtered search results.
- Foodie – grocery list app; as you shop you can check off what you’ve purchased, then shake your phone. All still-to-get items will rise to the top.
- Google Maps – even though your phone comes with a pre-installed map – it’s <ahem> less than good. You want Google Maps.
- Last but not least: “Reminders”. You don’t have to download this one from the app store, it’s already on your phone. I can’t praise this feature enough. It’s literally the sole reason my life doesn’t fall to pieces. Any and every little detail goes into my reminders. When I input something new, I also set a time & date to be reminded. This app is a blessing for school-related forget-me-nots, and anything else you can’t afford to forget.
I would love to hear what apps you use and why. I need some new goodies!
This weekend my Twitter account was hacked. The “attack” wasn’t all that serious – one spammy tweet was posted that appeared to be from me, but wasn’t. However, it motivated me to tighten up my account before a more serious hack occurs.
The spammy tweet came from an application that had permission to access my Twitter account. I granted the permission a while ago, but forgot. Granting access to a Twitter or Facebook account happens easily. When signing up for a new tool, if you use your Twitter of Facebook accounts to log in, you’ve granted permission to the tool. In my case, I had granted access to Pinterest, foursquare, Instagram and a long list of other apps.
The problem is many of us grant access to these apps and then neglect to give them another thought. After a while, a long list of apps builds up and this can make your account vulnerable. For this reason you should regularly review which apps are accessing your Twitter account and revoke access to the apps you no longer use, trust, or don’t otherwise wish to grant access.
Here’s how to do it.
Log in to your Twitter account.
Find the “Edit Profile” symbol (far right) and click on it.
Select “Settings” from the dropdown list.
Select “Apps” from the Settings menu. Now you will see all applications that currently access your Twitter account. From here, you can decide to revoke access or maintain select applications.
If you select “Revoke access” and later change your mind, you can “undo revoke access”.
Good luck and be safe.
Irish Broadcaster RTÉ is in its 6th season of Operation Transformation. This show is one of the best examples of a television property with a comprehensive and value-rich online offering.
First, about the show… Operation Transformation is a weight loss competition between Irish residents (aka: normal people, not celebrities, or extraordinarily large people). These overweight contestants (referred to as leaders) are each put on a specific weight loss plan that covers everything from meal planning to exercise regimes.
Using the online tools established for the show, viewers can “follow” a leader. Each leader has his/her own web page that includes their full-body 360 photo, their age, weight, height and personal story. When a viewer follows a leader, they get access to that leader’s weight loss plan as well as:
- the leader’s detailed weight loss journey (a week by week account)
- online videos of that leader’s daily workouts
- online weight loss tools to calculate own body measurements
- daily meal plans for that leader
- PDFs of weekly shopping lists to support the corresponding meal plans (so the viewer can follow along at home)
- online coupons for local grocer
- access to expert weight loss coaches and physicians through the show’s Facebook Page
Operation Transformation also features the successes and pitfalls of audience members following along at home, while an RTÉ Radio show keeps viewers of Operation Transformation up to date on the leaders’ progress in between broadcasts.
In addition to the list above, other online components include:
- downloads of motivational music (to keep you going in your workouts)
- videos of dance troupes and/or other community-based physically active groups
- mobile app to support weight loss and calorie tracking
- listings of local runs and other health-conscious events
And of course, all programs can be watched online.
RTÉ is Ireland’s national broadcaster (think Ireland’s BBC or CBC). It stands for Raidió Teilifís Éireann (pronouced, Rad-eo Tella-feesh Air-ann) which means, Radio & Television in Ireland. Operation Tranformation is the broadcaster’s first crossmedia / 360 degree project.