3 Lessons Crowdfunding Teaches About User Generated Content


With over over $5.1 billion USD raised through crowdfunding in 2013, crowdfunding is transforming the way in which new ideas are brought to life around the world. In 2014, over $60,000 USD were raised on an hourly basis by the 442 new crowdfunding campaigns launched every single day [1].

What can we – as marketers – learn through this quickly growing economic vehicle? Quite a bit. We looked at two of the biggest crowdfunding platforms – Kickstarter and Indiegogo– to see what we could learn about User Generated Content and it’s ability to influence consumer behavior.

We quickly realized that crowdfunding are great places to learn about consumer behavior and inluence marketing. Why?

  1. Crowdfunding campaigns are built to establish instant credibility and connectionwith a new audience. Unlike established brands with repeat customers, crowdfunders need to instantly grab their audience and forge a bond.
  2. Crowdfunding campaigns are designed to be customer conversion engines. The sole purpose of these pages is to cause people to donate, and donate immediately. Thus, these become pressure cookers in which to observe what tactics yield the best results
  3. Crowdfunding campaigns are built around a single clear metric – amount of funding received. On each of these sites, we could quickly determine who was working effectively based on how quickly they were raising money and achieving their goal

So, after looking at these top campaigns, here are a few trends we found.

Lesson #1: Visual content is key

In our analysis, we found that the typical top campaign on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter used an average of 32 images, 1.3 videos, and 2,584 words. This means that for every 77 words there was 1 piece of visual content. This is an incredibly high ratio, and shows how effective photos and videos are at quickly communicating ideas and establishing trust.

On average, we found that Indiegogo had more content per campaign, with an average of 41 images, 2 videos, and 3,387 words compared to Kickstarter’s 23 images, 0.75 videos, and 1,331 words.

Additionally, 63% of the campaigns we studied were for a physical product. Of these campaigns, the clear majority (60%) utilized photos or videos that featured real customers using their product. This is a great example of the power of User Generated Content to help drive people towrds action and conversion.


Lesson #2: Be unique

100% of the top performing campaigns we studied used a tone, voice, and style particular to their cause. As an example, Indiegogo’s Super Troopers 2 campaign is chalk-full of inside jokes, movie references, irreverant jokes, and silly imagery unique to Super Troopersbrand. Compare this with the down-to-earth, approachable, and heart-warming lanugage and imagery found in Codie – Helping Kids Learn Coding and you see how voice can make a difference.

User Generated Content is a simple way to capture the unique flavor and voice of your community – by letting them speak on your behalf and show their style, you can capture what sets your brand, product, or service apart from the rest.

Lesson #3: Be personal

100% of the top performing campaigns we studied featured a text section about the team behind each campaign. These sections made each initiative human, approachable, and real. Half of these campaigns took this one step further, by showing their team – or specific members of their team – in a photo, video, or both.

One of the many advantages of User Generated Content is its ability to showcase your community and make your brand more personal. The humanizing effect is enormous, and can make your brand and products more approachable and relatable.


Crowdfunding is a rapidly growing way for individuals and teams to take their idea or product to the next level. By using these three lessons, you can similarly help grow your own marketing strategy.


For our study, we looked at two of the three top crowdfunding platforms based on site traffic and funding raised. These three platforms were GoFundMe, Kickstarter, andIndiegogo [2]. After an initial analysis, we found that the top campaigns on GoFundMe featured campaigns that were more individual in nature, and thus had less applicable lessons for marketers.

We considered the top four most popular campaigns on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo to see what trends emerged as having consistently resonated with these two different communities.


Photo Credit: Codie – Helping Kids Learn to Code

Topics: Best Practices