Kickstarter Analysis: Why A Failed Campaign Re-Launched And Did Over $5,000,000

Have you ever wondered what makes a crowdfunding campaign stand out?

How about what makes one generate over $5 Million dollars after it barely did $100,000 7 months ago?

Let’s dig in and see if we can find out why…

(Note: Before we get started you’ll want these links)

Alright, so just to give you a little background on this campaign. Coolest is a totally hip cooler that is designed for the modern age. It has a built in blender, speakers, bungee straps, utensil storage, and more… it’s a much needed revamp to a very useful item.

When you hear all of this built into a cooler what do you think of? A cooler designed for parties, the great outdoors, and having an all around blast, right?

Keep that in mind and let’s take a look at the video thumbnail examples below…

 Video Thumbnail – Grab the users attention

The very first thing I want to touch on in this analysis is the video thumbnails. Now as marketers we know that on average we only have a few seconds to catch our visitors attention. Take a look at the video thumbnails and tell me which one looks more appealing to an average Kickstarter user…

coolest-thumbnail-comparison

Image Source: Kickstarter.com

Now let me ask you this, which one of these thumbnails makes you want to go use the Coolest RIGHT NOW?

For me, it’s B.

The cooler has had an updated design (which gives it kind of a modern vintage look). The Coolest looks much more appealing in variation B design wise, but the background is also key here.

Is green grass attractive or is open water at a park more attractive? Which do you see yourself using the Coolest at? Not to mention the successful campaign video thumbnail highlights the Coolest cooler much better.

Video Content – which video hooks you?

I’ve embedded both videos into this page from the Kickstarter campaigns. While you’re watching these videos please take notes on the copywriting as well as the visuals. Which video allows you to see yourself using the Coolest? Does one video do things that the other does not?

Failed Campaign

Successful Campaign

Things To Note About The Successful Campaign Video:

  • Loud noise at the start of the video – this is GREAT for drawing a distracted user back into the video. Remember how we said you only have a few seconds to catch a users attention? This sure does it.
  • Happy people in a relatable setting while using the Coolest – this sets the stage and doesn’t require the user to think about where they will be using the Coolest in their own life.
  • Beautiful outdoor backdrop – this is great for setting the stage showing a user other places where they could possibly use the Coolest.
  • Focused product shots – this video does a great job of getting close and personal high quality product shots of the Coolest.
  • Showed the reach of the speakers – music is massive at parties today, and there was a subtle but great example of being able to use the speakers from a far away distance.
  • Benefits & features – did a great job illustrating the benefits of the Coolest as well as the features (remember to almost always focus on benefits before features).
  • Call to action – the successful video had a GREAT call to action at the end. They had arrows pointing to the share buttons with targeted call to action text. This is hugely important and was a missing component from the failed video.

 Sales Page Copy And Structure

Although there are various ways you can successfully execute a sales page, I generally like to follow a simple structure of:

  1. Pre-headline (optional)
  2. Headline
  3. Sub-headline
  4. Why users current X stinks and how I understand
  5. Who I am & my story
  6. Benefits
  7. Features
  8. Bonus’s
  9. Scarcity
  10. Buy button

The successful sales page came pretty close to accomplishing that structure. The salespage structure is probably the largest difference between the winning and losing campaigns, and also helped to likely contribute to the success of the later campaign.

Failed Versus Successful Campaign

I want to start off by saying these 2 campaigns are excellent examples of going back to the drawing board and totally crushing it. I don’t know what the methods of testing were when the campaign was live, but they really did a great job with the relaunch sales page structure.

Intro Paragraph

We see right away that the intro paragraph has emphasis placed on features that the crowd will appreciate. The failed version did not have this.

Bullet List Features

Then we scroll down slightly and are hit with a complete easy to digest overview of the features.

This is big to me because looking back at the original campaign it did not have this. Previously a user needed to scroll all the way down to comprehend each feature… which is a lot to ask of someone who may have never watched your video. Adding the bullet point list allows people to skip the video and know exactly what they are getting very quickly.

Incentives

Next we scroll down and get hit with the incentives. Let’s face it – we’re human and we love incentives. The successful campaign does a great job of providing visuals of the incentives which prevents the user from needing to look to the right. This keeps the user in line and will help to keep them scrolling down your sales page.

Selection of Coolest Color

After that the user can see the colors that will be offered. This is another huge win and improvement over the original version. They look like they rebuilt it too. If you take a look at the failed campaign you can see what looks like a GIF rotating between color schemes – can you guess the problem here?

The user needs to be looking at the GIF for quite awhile just to see all color schemes. People don’t want to wait all day. This is also extremely easy to overlook if you are not paying close attention.

They want it now. Right now. The successful campaign does a beautiful job of delivering this.

Use of GIFs

The successful version did a great job with its use of GIFs by showing the bottle opener functioning as well as the tie-down bungee. People like to see that this stuff works. It produces trust and confidence.

 FAQ’s

I haven’t worked with Kickstarter before on the project side, but one thing that stood out to me was the fact that the successful version had many FAQ’s filled out and answered while the failed campaign had zero.

If these are required to be user submitted before they can be added here then ignore this part. However, if they were able to be added prior to the campaign launch, this was a great use of FAQs. It closes up doubts the user has, and lets them make a very informed decision on their purchase.

Incentives & Rewards

Take a look at these very closely. The prizes were updated for the successful campaign and the prices were changed to purchase a pre-order for the Coolest. They also appear to have cut out several funding rewards.

Seasonality

Take a look at the times of the year each of these campaigns launched. People are much more interested in coolers during the summer time than they are the winter time.

Initial Failed Campaign = Excited Supports For Re-Launch

People wanted the product when the initial launch failed, but as Ryan (the inventor) mentioned when I spoke with him… people were ready to take up the charge and share it with their friends to make it a success the second time around.

Overall take aways

This is how you do it folks, this is pure growth and winning. Coolest took a look at their first campaign, realized things needed to change, rebuilt their sales video and sales page and went out there and crushed it!

I have not done an analysis of off-page traffic, but it’s safe to assume the successful version has picked up way more traction than the failed campaign. Please do keep that in mind when you are comparing them.

Here’s to a great job Ryan and team!

Now to my readers, if you haven’t yet- support the Coolest guys and order your Coolest cooler now!

Let me know what you thought of the analysis in the comments! Anything catch your eye that I missed? Let’s hear it!

 

 

austin

Passionate about growth, analytics, and E-commerce. Life is about pushing the envelope.
  • Kieran McDonogh

    Great post Austin. Actually never knew he had already launched some months back before this $5.5M+ behemoth of a campaign. Enjoyed the breakdown and comparison!

  • This is a great analysis! Most crowdfunds don’t end with 80% funding
    (and then go on to make $5M+ with a relaunched campaign), but it’s great
    to see how important designing your crowdfund is to reaching your goal.
    Having a good network is what you need to create a base for your
    campaign, but you also need to craft a compelling campaign for something
    exceptionally successful!

  • Mitch Mauldin

    Awesome analysis Austin. Thanks for putting this together and I look forward to reading more similar content from you.

  • Good article! Great job on giving thoughts on seasonality and prizes. Do you have any insight on context and promotion of the campaign? Did they build their user base? Leverage social? I didnt find the videos to be THAT different to warrant a 5000% increase in fundraising.

    • The 5000 percent increase came because he only fell a few thousand short of 100K in the first place. So when he re-launched he had all those backers get onboard the first couple of days causing Kickstarter algorithm to help promote the campaign because they almost hit 100K in the first few hours.
      It was probably easier to leverage media when you were only a few K short of 100K in the first place. I have a series detailing these types of campaigns. or what I call “Crowdfunding Comebacks”

  • Great analysis and turnaround on the campaign outcome!

    Questions:

    1) Did you change anything regarding your launch prep, advertising or press contacts the second time around?

    2) How big was your announcement mailing list in campaign 1 vs campaign 2?

    3) Did you seed any of your first 30% with your own funds? (this is a common strategy to show early momentum)

  • Hello Austin,

    This has to be one of the best case studies I have ever read! Well done!

    What a way to illustrated how important it is to pay attention to feedback and to learn from your mistakes! Thank you!

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  • jameskelly99

    This is a great thing read and is very motivating. I recently did a campaign on HeadFunder and felt like it was the end once I didn’t hit my goal. However after watching this I have already started working on a new draft. This is crowdfunding inspiration.

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