Financial Fridays! What’s the Secret to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?

You Can’t Crowdfund Without a Crowd.

In the early days of crowdfunding the same refrain echoed throughout the internet; having a good video is the secret to a successful campaign. These words of worldly wisdom were accepted without question. The crowdfunding “experts” had spoken.

The problem was the sentiment wasn’t sensible. If good videos resulted in successful Kickstarters one could reasonably assume that Film & Video projects would rule the roost. After all, who better than a videographer to make the best videos? It’s there in the name. In reality, Film & Video projects make up just two of the top twenty most funded. 1

Good videos result from having a number of people willing to lug lights around and set up dollys and man cameras and edit in copyright infringing music. Good videos also result from good products. Good products, like good videos, typically result from collaboration. Having a good video is a correlation, not a cause; the cause of having a successful video and product and campaign is social network size.

Now that makes sense. After all, you can’t crowdfund without a crowd. It’s there in the name.

If you’re a solo dev, how can you make this knowledge work for you? Even if you don’t need help or criticism, invite it! This will make your helpers and critics stake holders. They then become social network multipliers. Collaborate and put yourself out there! While this may make the anti-social among us cringe, I suggest you put twice the amount of time into social networking and promotion as you do development.

Twice as much time socializing than working? AAA developers spend 2 to 3 times more on marketing than they do on development2. They know that how good a game is isn’t nearly as important as how good (and how often) the game is perceived3. In the low-rent world of indies, your social network IS your marketing budget. That’s why it deserves double the attention; that’s why it’s the secret to success.


2 Takahashi, Dean. “EA’s chief creative officer describes game industry’s re-engineering.” 26 Aug. 2009. <>.

3 Wilde, Tyler. “Study: Professional game reviews strongly affect consumer behavior.” 23 June 2012. 12 Mar. 2014 <>.

See also: “Spiritual Successor”

Note Selfstarter may feature in an upcoming Freebie Friday.

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