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.
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.
A key feature of ALERT & ALERT-TV+ is a way to set up monitoring for your social media channels and general online presence. This is an essential part of any social media strategy. Monitoring not just your own social media channels but also your competitor’s social media channels can pay dividends.
Let’s take a look at two recent case studies to illustrate the point.
Case #1: Samsung – Monitoring and Responding to Its Facebook Fans
In August, electronics giant Samsung showed how monitoring and responding to its social media followers can result in great publicity.
It all began in May 2012 when Facebook user, Shane Barrett posted a picture to the official Samsung Facebook Page. The picture of a crudely drawn dragon was accompanied by a message asking Samsung for a new Galaxy S III smartphone to replace his older model. In return for the phone Shane said that Samsung could keep the picture he had drawn.
Samsung responded, thanking Shane for his picture and query but declining his request for a new phone. Instead, Samsung’s online community manager drew a Kangaroo on a unicycle and sent it back to Shane in response! Shane posted the conversation on the popular social news website Reddit. The post of the conversation quickly became one of the most popular on Reddit and the story went viral.
At this point, Samsung could have sat back and enjoyed the free publicity it had earned. Samsung did not, instead choosing to send Shane a brand new Galaxy S III smartphone with a custom case featuring the dragon he had drawn on his original Facebook post (see below). After receiving the phone, Shane posted a picture of it on Reddit and once again the story and picture went viral earning even more publicity for Samsung.
This token of Samsung’s appreciation for a customer resulted in lots of positive online sentiment for the brand and millions of views of the Reddit posts. By monitoring and responding to its Facebook fans, Samsung gained loads of publicity for the low cost of a new phone.
Case #2: Low Cost Holidays Moves in on Another Travel Firm’s Turf
In November 2011, UK based travel agency Thomas Cook received an interesting request posted to its Facebook Page. The request came from a man who shared the company’s name, Thomas Cook. In his request Thomas asked for a free holiday, posting “Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed for as long as I can remember. I think it’s only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays.” Thomas Cook politely declined and instead directed Mr. Cook to its website where he could book his own holiday.
One of Thomas Cook’s (the travel agency) competitors, Low Cost Holidays was monitoring this conversation. After reading of Mr. Cook’s plight and of Thomas Cook’s reluctance to offer him a free holiday, Low Cost Holidays intervened and offered him one instead saying, “Here at lowcostholidays.com we completely sympathize with your suffering and if your name was “lowcostholidays.com” we would certainly have accepted your request to be sent away on a weekend in Paris. … So how about we send you on that weekend in Paris? In fact why not make it a week for you and a friend?”
After his free holiday Mr. Cook posted a picture of himself in front of the Eiffel tower along with screenshots of the Facebook exchanges he had between Thomas Cook and Low Cost Holidays to Reddit. The posting quickly shot to the number 1 most read slot on Reddit and has garnered thousands of views and comments since. By monitoring its competitors social media channels and reacting in a humorous way, Low Cost Holidays has received lots of positive online sentiment and has been featured across news websites such as Fox News and The Daily Mail.
Despite posting a message to Facebook stating how happy the company was for Mr. Cook and his free holiday, Thomas Cook (the travel agency) received criticism online for its lack of sense of humor when Mr.Cook initially approached for the holiday. Mr. Cooks Reddit post has received over 2,000 comments and has been viewed in excess of 50,000 times, add this to the publication of the story in major news outlets you’ll see that Low Cost Holidays has gained lots of publicity for the relatively low cost of a holiday for two to Paris.
What other great examples have you seen of companies monitoring and responding to their online followers?
Forbes recently published an article, Social TV Data Is Not The New Nielsen: How It Might Be Better, about whether the average viewer would engage and “lean forward” with television shows in a more active way. The article notes, with the current state of this evolving industry, there are few straight forward conclusions to drawn upon just yet. However, Michael Humphrey, Forbes Contributor, highlights several companies who are working towards game changing answers.
On one side of the argument experts argue no, viewers will not engage with social tv tools, and the metrics do not offer official tracking results, only guesstimates. Experts beg to differ, stating whether the results are 100% accurate or not does not matter. What counts is that there is a huge opportunity out there to engage with the audience in ways that broadcasters and producers have never been able to before, that goes beyond just metrics.
Moyra Rodger, CEO Magnify Digital, weighed in on this topic by stating that producers and broadcasters are not monitoring social data early enough in the process in order to make strategic decisions.
While the entire industry is maneuvering their way through new tools, metrics, statistics, and reports, only one thing can be said for certain of the future of social tv: it is not going away anytime soon.
Read the full article here.
Tweet us @magnifydigital or comment below to let us know your thoughts about the future of Social TV.