2 April 2015 | 41 Comments
Recently I’ve noticed a possible emerging crowdfund trend that intrigues me. I’ve only seen it on mega projects, but I see no reason why these method couldn’t be used by any creator.
The method in question is the use of achievement systems in addition to (or in place of) stretch goals. The two projects I’ve seen this on are Exploding Kittens and Con Man (thanks to Chris from TROBO for alerting me to the latter).
The way these achievements work is the creator presents a series of goals–many of them related to social media–and when a few of them have been met, the creator gives all backers something cool.
It’s very similar to the typical stretch goal system, but the part about “when a few of them have been met” makes a big difference for projects that have fewer stretch goals (i.e., the product they launched with is already really nice). It gives backers the sense of progress by taking away the feeling of big gaps in funding between each goal.
It also allows for creators to offer lots of fun little things for backers to do. For example, on the Exploding Kittens campaign, one of the achievements was to post 25 selfies with goats. Selfies with goats does nothing to help with the economies of scale of making a card game–it wouldn’t work as a stretch goal that improves the product. But it’s fun, and the motivation of getting backers closer to a new item was enough to get them to do it.
Before I write more about this, here are some big screenshots of what the Exploding Kittens and Con Man achievement charts look like:
Here’s a summary of some types of achievements used (including some new ones) that are applicable to non-mega projects:
- % of funding goal
- $ total funding
- # of backers
- # of photos (silly or showing some element of the product)
- # Twitter followers
- # Facebook Likes
- # YouTube subscribers
- # e-newsletter subscribers
- # of people who respond to a backer poll
- for repeat creators, # of backers from your previous best project and $ funding from previous best project
Even as I’m writing this, I’m like, Why aren’t I using this system for my new treasure chest project? It fits the description of a project that could benefit achievements: It doesn’t have many stretch goals, and the stretch goals it has are spread out (every $25k). They’re also not particularly exciting–they just offer more resource tokens. An achievement system might inject some life into them.
Benefits of Achievements:
- Build community
- Make it about them–I like the “Look what you did!” banner at the top of the Exploding Kittens achievements
- Spread the word about the project
- Keep forward momentum despite limited stretch goals
- Give backers various ways to participate without spending money
- Have fun with backers
- Easy to add new achievements
- Fan saturation. Social media stretch goals dilute the audience who actually wants to stay in the loop
- More art, more cost. Requires art (added expense) to be visually effective
- Hard to find how to participate. For example, I see on the Con Man page that more Facebook Likes will help the project, but there’s no nearby link to Facebook
- Hard to see progress. I see on Con Man that 50,000 Likes unlock a new achievement, but how many likes does it currently have? I think this could be solved by adding a “current number” tracker in each row of achievements that you update once a day
- Potential for “dud” achievements. I’m kind of amazed that 25 people took goat selfies for Exploding Kittens. If people hadn’t taken those photos, that achievement would have looked a little sad sitting there (and it might make those who did take a goat selfie feel helpless that their efforts didn’t result in anything)
Should You Use Achievements, Stretch Goals, or Both?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer at this point, as this concept is still quite new. My early hunch is that you should choose an achievement system OR a stretch goal system, not both. Focus is good.
- If you’re offering a really nice, “complete” product from Day 1 with limited possibilities for stretch goals, an achievement system might be the way to go.
- If you’re offering a bare-bones product from day 1 with tons of little stretch goals, a traditional stretch goal system is probably best for you.
What do you think about achievements? Should I try it out on my upcoming treasure chest project?