In “The Language that Gets People to Give: Phrases that Predict Success on Kickstarter" (PDF), a paper for the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Georgia Tech researchers from the School of Interactive Technology present the results of their statistical analysis of every single Kickstarter since June 2, 2012. The study attempted to determine which words and phrases correlated with success or failure in a Kickstarter campaign, after controlling for funding goals, video, social media connections, categories and pledge levels.
They came up with a list of successful and unsuccessful phrases, and unpacked those lists, hypothesizing about why the given phrases produced their correlated outcomes. This analysis is much more useful than the phrases themselves -- after all, we don't know that people opted to fund a project because of the phrases "good karma and," "pledged will," and "also receive two," but we do know that all those phrases appeared in Kickstarters that offered some kind of reciprocity.
The paper's authors are Tanushree Mitra and Eric Gilbert.
The research suggested that the language used by creators to pitch their project plays a major role in driving the project’s success, accounting for 58.56 percent of the variance around success. The language generally fit into the following categories:
Reciprocity or the tendency to return a favor after receiving one as evidenced by phrases such as “also receive two,” “pledged will” and “good karma and.”
Scarcity or attachment to something rare as shown with “option is” and “given the chance.”
Social Proof, which suggests that people depend on others for social cues on how to act as shown by the phrase “has pledged.”
Social Identity or the feeling of belonging to a specific social group. Phrases such as “to build this” and “accessible to the” fit this category.
Liking, which reflects the fact that people comply with people or products that appeal to them.
Authority, where people resort to expert opinions for making efficient and quick decisions as shown by phrases such as “we can afford” and “project will be.”
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