A Clever IndieGoGo Innovation

11 July 2014 | 22 Comments

2014-07-11_1135I almost exclusively write about Kickstarter on this blog, which isn’t quite fair to the wide variety of other crowdfunding platforms out there. I write about Kickstarter because that’s what I know and use, but there are plenty of other great options out there too. In the US, IndieGoGo is at the top of that list (Alexa ranking of 1,884 compared to Kickstarter’s 727) and I think Ulule is the biggest in the EU (Alexa: 12,809).

Today I want to specifically highlight IndieGoGo because they’ve added a very clever innovation to their project pages that solves the #1 mistake I see creators make: Confusing potential backers with rewards between the $1 participation reward and the core reward (see post here).

There are two problems that arise when you put secondary rewards between the $1 participation reward and the core reward:

  1. You create an unnecessary barrier to entry. Reward levels should be clear, focused, and as few in number as possible. When a potential backers looks at your project page, they’re asking themselves, “What is this project all about? What are they trying to create?” The answer should be your core product, and they should be able to figure out that answer within seconds.
  2. Secondary rewards distract you from your core competency. If you have t-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards, etc to create and send out in addition to the actual product you’re trying to make, those secondary rewards are getting in the way of you doing what you set out to do in the first place. Plus, selling 5 t-shirts isn’t going to make or break your project.

This is where IndieGoGo comes in.

Recently, author Patrick Rothfuss and his Worldbuilders organization launched a one-week crowfunding campaign to support impoverished communities around the world. When I heard about the campaign, I checked it out, and this is what I found (see image).

Right there at the top of the reward side bar is the core reward. IndieGoGo enabled Worldbuilders to “feature” one reward and put it before any of the other information.

The cool thing, especially for a project like this (a project in which there is no core product, but rather an overarching mission), is that it enabled Worldbuilders to have a bevvy of smaller rewards. You can’t see them in the screenshot, but there are rewards in the following amounts: $5, $12, $18, and $20. But the focus remains on the $25 reward.

This is an awesome innovation. It doesn’t really change my stance on those two points I mentioned above, but if a project creator really wants to include secondary rewards, this is a great way to solve the problem from the backer perspective.

The other cool thing is that you get to choose what the “featured” designation is. It might be the core reward, or it might be the “best value” reward, the one you really want backers to get. On Kickstarter I recommend using the word “complete” at the beginning of the reward to guide backers towards that level.

What do you think about this innovation? Is this something you’d like to see on Kickstarter, either from your perspective as a backer or a creator?

22 Comments on “A Clever IndieGoGo Innovation

  1. Wow, very cool idea indeed, way to go indigogo. On one hand its slick marketing, but on the other it adds a personal touch, a personal focus to what you the creator ‘cares most about’ per se. very nice.

  2. Definitely a good idea that I think Kickstarter should implement! I’ve never been confused by reward levels but its a pain when you have to scroll through a load to see the important ones!

  3. there’s a lot of things indiegogo does well that kickstarter dosen’t.

    You can tell, at a glance, how many referrals and how many dollars each indiegogo user has sent to your campaign.

    At any point during your campaign you can download an excel sheet with everyone who’s backed your campaign, the date and time they did so, they pledge they went for, the money they spent (useful for monitoring shipping) and shipping and contact info.
    It’s heaven for a data guy.

    1. I love data, so that sounds very appealing to me. Though I don’t know if I would need that data much during the project, and Kickstarter provides all of the same data afterwards. The referrals would be very helpful, though.

  4. I like it a lot. I find that if you come late to a Kickstarter project you are sifting through the front page with all the jumble of locked/unlocked stretch goals or reading down the list of available pledge brackets trying to figure out the starting point for the game. That feeling of urgency that comes in the last few hours of a Kickstarter can be exciting for those backers that have followed along for most of the project or just frantic and frustrating for newcomers.

    I really like the clarity of highlighting the pledge level that gets me the game with all the stretch goals so that I can at least back the project and then leave me to filter through the front page, the comments and the updates to see if there are any upgrades or add-ons that I want.

    1. Lori: That’s a great point about the frantic nature about the end of the project–the “featured” pledge level would allow a creator to feature a key pledge level at different times of the campaign, including the end. (Actually, I’m assuming you can change the “featured” designation during the project–I don’t know if that’s true.)

    1. I definitely think a succinct $1 pledge is still really important. It gives people an easy way to get their foot in the door to follow the project (and hopefully upgrade later), or just to participate even if they don’t want the product. Also, it allows group pledge backers an easy way to join the community. Sure, experienced Kickstarter backers know that you can pledge any amount even without a reward level, but it removes that extra barrier.

  5. I like it. As a backer of many Kickstarter projects I can say I think this would be a nice addition on Kickstarter. There have been many occasions when I’m looking at a new project and I’m initially confused about the reward levels as there seem to be too many options and the combinations take some real thinking to figure out what best suits me. Now, normally that won’t stop me from backing a project, but it has definitely slowed me down enough where I think “I need to come back to this later” so I’ll just star the project for later and not pledge on my initial view. And I’m sure as a creator you would much rather have that pledge from me on that first view and not have to wait for me to get around to checking it out again later.

    1. Brad: I agree. It very rarely makes or breaks a decision for me, but it shows a certain amount of elegance and understanding of designing for humans when the creator guides you along the reward levels in an intuitive way.

  6. I agree. This would be a great addition to Kickstarter’s system. I haven’t built my own Kickstarter campaign yet, but I think added customization for most things is always a plus. I’m not sure if it’s possible(I haven’t seen it used), but some sort of color-coded system of bullet points for each pledge level would also be helpful so backers could tell at-a-glance what was similar or different about various pledge levels. I’ve run into multiple campaigns where this would have proved useful: most recently, 12 Realms: Ancestor’s Legacy. This campaign had loads of pledge levels, but upping your pledge to another level didn’t necessarily mean you were going to get everything that was in the lower pledge levels. For example, the upper pledge levels didn’t include one particular set of promo cards, whereas the lower ones did. The only way to figure that out was to very carefully read the miles-long list of features for each pledge level, or to have kept up 100% with the campaign updates which were sometimes confusing in-and-of themselves. A color-coding system would have made comparisons between levels much easier.

    1. Yeah, I think part of that is the responsibility of the creator given the tools they have–it’s important to make reward levels as clear, succinct, and structured as possible. But a color coding system would be quite clever.

  7. Indeed, I agree with all that this “feature” os very nice that cleans the pledge levels. Also, amd I the only one surprised that IndieGoGo is not the top crowdfunding website? What is this Alexa ranking you mention?

  8. IGG also hides sold-out early-bird specials. A huge plus in my book. I hate coming to a hot Kickstarter project and seeing the specials sold out, glaring at me, damning me, condemning me to the “late” crowd and higher prices. I often leave without backing a campaign that has to huge a gap between early bird and later.

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