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.
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.
We’ve all been there, sitting down to watch the latest episode of say … The Bachelorette. As we hit the first ad break we check our Twitter feed and that’s when it happens. Twitter ruins everything. Within a few seconds we discover who has been voted off. Thanks Twitter. Thanks “friends” on the East Coast.
The truth is: social media is ruining TV.
Over the last few months there has been a number of high profile spoilers. Lets begin with the highest profile spoiler of the summer – NBC’s North American coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. Instead of showing some popular Olympic events live, NBC delayed them to a primetime slot. This made sense for the broadcaster, more viewers = more advertising revenue, but it didn’t make sense for viewers. For example, the much anticipated 400m swimming duel between American swimming giants Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps was shown during an NBC primetime slot. The result of the event, which had taken place six hours earlier, had already been thoroughly posted, tweeted, and retweeted all over social media. This resulted in an online backlash against the broadcaster with #NBCSucks and #NBCFail trending worldwide.
In the UK, popular talent show “The Voice” was dragged into an online furor thanks to a Tweet from one of the show’s judges. The judge in question, popstar Jessie J is well known for being outspoken but it was a picture that got her in trouble. The show was approaching the semi final stages. Viewers were intrigued to learn which two members of Jessie J’s team were going to make it. Three hours before the show aired, Jessie J tweeted a picture showing herself and her two chosen semi finalists along with the caption, “Team Jessie.” Viewers were outraged and complained to the broadcaster.
Hit design show Project Runway is currently taking extra steps to avoid spoiler activity in social media. The show, screened across North America, developed Realtime Runway. The tool allows viewers to filter tweets by timezones. Meaning, if the show already aired in Toronto, viewers in Vancouver can avoid seeing what’s being said about the show by using Realtime Runway instead of their own Twitter feed. Again, with a show as popular as Project Runway this will probably mean West Coast viewers will have to endure a social media blackout for a few hours, but is it not worth it if it keeps the magic of television alive?
So have you ever had a show ending spoiled for you? Have you seen any other tools that help to avoid social media spoilers?
We actively monitor the trends in the TV industry and take pleasure in predicting the road ahead. These past couple of years have seen an explosion in social TV apps, like GetGlue, SocialGuide, Miso, and the list goes on. Each of these apps continues to evolve and change, each app trying to lead the way to a new kind of television watching experience. There have been some interesting developments along the way but I have personally never seen a closer glimpse into the future of television than I did today. And it wasn’t in the form of an app.
This week the Huffington Post went live with HuffPost Live. The Huffington Post, known as an online news outlet, now offers live TV-like coverage of news, entertainment, sports, tech and science. But how it does this, in my mind, is the closest anyone’s come to the future of TV and TV watching. Here’s why.
1. Like traditional television news broadcasts, HuffPost Live still decides which stories it will serve up and in which order. This will be familiar to a passive audience and satisfy that desire for conventional TV watching. However, a more engaged audience is also served by the Featured Videos bar at the bottom of the screen offering past segments like so:
This gives control to the viewer. There is no need to sit through a segment of no interest like one has to with traditional TV watching. One can browse the archive and play only the pieces that pique curiosity.
2. There is live integration of comments from the audience in every segment. A live Twitter stream is featured prominently on the right-hand side of the screen inviting viewers to “Join This Segment”. Anyone can participate in the conversation at any time.
3. Even though HuffPost Live offers “live” coverage with real-time audience engagement, it also caters to time-shifted viewing by offering not just archived content, but also the archived conversation generated when the piece first aired. So it’s not just the content that can be seen again, it’s also the experience.
4. Every news item comes with a list of resources. Now viewers who wish to learn more than can possibly be covered in a 3-4 minute conversation, can read up. Furthermore, the resources are categorized in a helpful way. For example: “Key Article”, “Background”, “Big Picture” and so on. Of course some of the articles are from Huffington Post, but not all. Viewers can also review at any time, who the guests are. How many times have you been listening to someone speak and wished you could rewind the part where they showed the speaker’s name and title?
5. Many guests participate via Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts are entirely accessible by anyone in the world with an internet connection and a Google account. No fancy, expensive satellite trucks required… which is a great segue to the next point.
6. HuffPost Live is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. No need for a TV. No need for cable service or TV antennas.
7. HuffPost Live just might make live TV broadcasts more meaningful by letting viewers look ahead to what’s coming up – and prepare. Not only can viewers browse upcoming stories, they can also read articles related to the story in advance of its live broadcast. This could create a more enhanced understanding of the broadcast, not to mention a more enhanced television experience overall.
8. It probably won’t last but for now, HuffPost Live is commercial-free. TV of the future doesn’t have to include advertising.
9. Video playback sources on HuffPost Live include YouTube and other online video sites. Once again, no state-of-the-art playback machines required, not to mention mountains of tape.
10. Streaming live on the internet has never been so seamless. I was tuned in for almost 3 hours (in the background at times) and not once experienced significant drop-outs or buffering issues.
I’m very excited to see such a successful attempt at making the TV experience more social, more accessible and more meaningful for viewers. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
The element of surprise can be a highly effective marketing tool to create brand awareness. Take for example, the flash mob. According to urbandictionary.com a flash mob is;
“A group of people who appear from out of nowhere, to perform predetermined actions, designed to amuse and confuse surrounding people.”
Since its emergence in New York in 2003, the flash mob has been used as a successful visual marketing tool for many companies. Here are two companies whose flash mob video productions have become among the most viewed on YouTube.
The title for the most viewed flash mob video on YouTube goes to an Ontario-based company called Alphabet Photography. This company shows that you don’t need a large budget for your flash mob production; just talented performers, clever planning and lots of surprised onlookers. Their flash mob video, “Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus – Must See!” went viral soon after it was posted on YouTube and has received over 38 million views. After its release, the video was featured across world media and the company has since received royal approval from Prince Charles himself! The end board of the video lists information about Alphabet Photography’s website and a seasonal greeting, which serve to heighten awareness of the company.
Mobile Phone Company T-Mobile has two flash mob videos appearing in the “Top Ten Flash Mob Videos on YouTube.” Their UK-based “Life’s for Sharing” campaign features flash mobs taking place in the busiest transport hubs in the UK. Collectively, their big budget, all-singing all-dancing flash mobs have received over 46 million YouTube views. T-Mobile also creates individual campaigns around each video with a behind the scenes look at the flash mob organization, and reaction from the public after the flash mob has taken place. Before you check out the flash mob videos below be warned that “The T-Mobile Welcome Back” is quite a tearjerker!
So what lessons can we take from the examples shown above?
- A well organized and entertaining flash mob video has potential to go viral, regardless of the size of your budget.
- Theme your video so that it has lasting appeal and makes a connection with your business. A significant portion of Alphabet Photography’s business is in the gift market. The company’s flash mob video likely receives an increase in views and shares around Christmas which may increase web traffic and potential revenue.
- Flash mob videos such as “The T-Mobile Welcome Back,” that include unsuspecting onlookers being caught up in the action, rate highest on YouTube.
- Film everything! Footage of the organization of the flash mob and snippets from behind the scenes can be used as part of an extended campaign before and after the release of the flash mob video.
So, have any of these stories inspired you to consider using a flash mob video as part of your next online marketing campaign?