Kickstarter is the #1 rewards crowdfunding platform, both in terms of absolute amount raised, in terms of diversity and ambition of projects presented, as well as in terms of success rate. Compare its 46% success rate average to Indiegogo roughly 9% success rate. Many other platforms have tried a different take on crowdfunding, such as specializing on niche markets such as healthcare or filmmaking, using alternative currencies, white-labeling options, or being more open. They do not address though why Kickstarter is fundamentally better than other crowdfunding platforms. We break down into several points Kickstarter’s success
1. Raising the bar for projects presented
Kickstarter is a software as a service, and you can enter information about your project autonomously. However, they have quality criterias, such as finance and healthcare projects banned. Why so? Because projects claiming to improve your health or your personal finance are hard to verify. Kickstarter also have three guidelines that you should follow. For example, you need to deliver a project — a criteria that is not enforced in other crowdfunding platforms.
Kickstarter also used to vet every project, asking questions about the entrepreneur or the project’s history. That puts away all con artists or those who claim to be the next Edison, but who are in fact just great communicators. It was a very efficient tactic that made sure all projects have good fundamentals. Currently, Kickstarter doesn’t vet anymore projects. It isn’t the best choice in our opinion, as it attracted projects like the infamous Potato Salad.
2. Hosted video
Kickstarter is hosting the videos, which is not uncommon when you have the 800-pounds gorilla named “YouTube” in the room. Why would you care about the technical difficulties of video hosting, with the problems of dealing with mobile phones, video bandwidth, video codec, when Youtube solves everything for you, and also brings additional visitors for the video? Because the video supports the crowdfunding campaign, and not the other way around. When an entrepreneur invests money, time and talent on creating a video, this will add to Youtube’s clout if you put it on Youtube. Also you will have drop-off rates if your audience share the crowdfunding video instead of the campaign. Instead, Kickstarter knows that when you share the video, you actually share the campaign.
Working with Facebook’s open graph is possible for Facebook for other platforms, but it still doesn’t solve the issue of bloggers who share the video and users actually going to Youtube instead of going to contribute to the campaign.
3. Good sharing tools
Kickstarter understands traffic and interest comes from Facebook — and it’s the only platform that shows a great preview of the campaign when you share a campaign on Facebook. All other platforms only share a small picture.
They also spent a lot of time thinking what to present to contributors, post-payment so they are encouraged to share their contribution to their friends and family, creating a potential viral loop.
Of course, other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook connect, email sharing are also well implemented. Understanding this is key to implement the “crowd” effect.
4. A good great design
Kickstarter has the best graphic design amongst all crowdfunding platforms, from the choice of colors, visibility of interface elements, highlighting the titles, subtitles and other elements. Kickstarter reminds me of the MacBook laptops, where everything from the keyboard keys, integration of interfaces to the OS required hundreds of hours of product design work.
It’s indeed great work and we have to congratulate the Product designer at Kickstarter for the detail-oriented approach.
5. Good community features
Every project has a discussion and updates section, where users can comment and interact with the entrepreneur. Kickstarter understand that to create trust, the crowd needs to know more, and the entrepreneur needs to share more about himself and about the project.
Each update has a URL that can be shared, and users can also comment, creating a community, fans, trust that makes people contribute. Over time, the campaigner can also leverage the community to raise interest for product launches or share important news.
6. A product that doesn’t fail
I have never seen a bug or a user experience problem when using Kickstarter, from browsing, interacting to payment. Kickstarter understands that it’s essential that their platform becomes transparent and the funnel from discovering to supporting a project is seamless for users.
For other platforms, we see poor implementations, from poor design of the contribute button, to poor localization, or even bugs that create mistrust for users. Are they going to trust their money to a bug-ridden platform? Think about it.
Interested? You can reach me to discuss on Clarity or post your thoughts below. Have a great crowdfunding day!