Characteristics of content and social spread strategy on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform
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As the marketplace for crowdfunding grows to an estimated $5 billion dollars in 2013, academic research exploring the second largest platform Indiegogo has been largely overlooked. This research identifies causal characteristics that differentiate content and social spread strategies across ten technology campaigns on Indiegogo, covering a wide pledge fundraising range from $13,417 to $1,960,503. The researcher’s central hypothesis that better content and spread strategy executions would generate more campaign activity and higher pledges was proven to be generally true, but also an oversimplification of complex variables. Successful campaigns can be defined by both the pledge amount raised and the percent of goal reached, whereas all campaigns surveyed reached over 100% of their set goal. All campaigns selected met three key criteria in that they: launched by April 1st, 2013 and ended before October 15th, 2013, lasted between 31 and 51 days and used a Vimeo video player with open statistics. A five tier framework was designed to classify Blockbuster, Intermediate and Base level performance. Close watch was given to mainly the campaign pitch video followed by page content and social media channels. The pitch video content analysis examines narrative content tactics, technical triggers and pledge participation prompts and found that higher performing campaigns generally aligned with the optimized content analysis units, with some exceptions. There was a strong connection between more video views, especially at the frontend of the campaign, raising greater pledge amounts. Campaigns with more page content comments leveraged higher audience participation and pledges. Social media activity mainly through Facebook Likes had the most impact on pledge participation across campaigns. Video source traffic arrived mostly to the Indiegogo page from social media, email marketing and to a lesser extent from referral blogs and website links. In summary, the characteristics that defined better content and spread strategy executions were certainly related to increased campaign activity and higher pledges, but exhibited complex behaviors requiring more data to comprehensively understand the direct impact on a campaign’s performance.