10 February 2020 | 12 Comments
Last month I wrote about how much I like Starbuck’s reward system, and I proposed a Kickstarter stretch-goal method inspired by it. If any creators wanted to try it, I asked them to share their experiences with me so I could share them with you.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait very long, as Carlos Michan liked the idea for his Wishland Kickstarter project (which is live through February 25; I highly recommend backing it even just to follow along to see this system in practice). His project is currently 400% funded, and he’s shared his feedback with me as a list of pros and cons. I’ll post a summary of them below.
- The system encourages backer participation. For example, 141 people have indicated their preference on yesterday’s poll–that’s 20% of backers, which is fantastic.
- Backers have a sense of ownership and pride, as they’re making decisions that impact the final product. This also shows that the creator cares about what they think and want.
- Backer votes and comments give the creator clues about what they value for future goals.
- The social media response has been great, as backers are encouraged to share and discuss the project online.
- Backers get something every day (a decision via the poll, new possibilities for future polls, or poll results), which ensures that the stretch goals aren’t all achieved too soon. Because the goals themselves are in flux, the creator also has a lot more flexibility to create/share new goals later in the project.
- Backers get a real measure of how expensive different stretch goals are (the star cost of each goal is listed next to it in the poll), and they can decide accordingly using the available stars.
- People discovering the project near the end of the campaign may feel like they missed a chance to impact the project.
- The system could create confrontation between backers who value different goals.
- Backers can feel disappointed if they aren’t excited about the majority decision in a poll. Even though their preferred goal may appear on a future poll, they might feel like they’re losing stars.
- Some backers were impatient to unlock more goals, particularly early in the project. I think you could get around this by offering some high-star goals early in the project so backers can use big chunks of stars right away. Also, my proposal for the poll in the last 48 hours of the project is that it can unlock multiple goals (instead of just 1) if there are enough stars.
Carlos is using Strawpoll.me for the polls, and I asked him why he wasn’t using BoardGameGeek (as this article indicates, creating engagement on BGG can move your game onto the hotness list, which gets it in front of many more eyes). Carlos made the good point that not all backers have BGG accounts.
Overall, Carlos says that he thinks the pros well outweigh the cons, and he’s very happy with the system. As a backer of Wishland, I can honestly say that I’ve felt more engaged by it than any project in a long time. I get so many project updates these days that I rarely read them, but I’m excited every time I get a project update for Wishland so I can see what we unlocked (though I wish Carlos would add a visual to the update show what we unlocked) and what’s on the next poll.
What do you think? Please keep me in the loop if you try a similar method with your project!
While we’re on the subject of stretch goals, Cody Thompson of Gold Nugget Games had an interesting observation about the release schedule of The Mandalorian on Disney+ and how it created a huge amount of buzz throughout the show.
Basically, the first two episodes aired within 3 days of each other. Then there was a regular 7-day release schedule….until the final two episodes, which were separated by 9 days.
It’s an interesting strategy, and I think most of it applies well to Kickstarter stretch goals. But while the final stretch worked to generate conversation for a show as big as The Mandalorian, having a big gap at the end of a Kickstarter would probably make it feel like nothing is happening during that time. What do you think?
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