Researchers Discover Phrases That Predict Success on Kickstarter

phrasesNot all Kickstarter projects are created equal – at least, when it comes to their language of persuasion. According to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, phrases and words can have a positive impact on the likelihood of success on Kickstarter.

In their study, the linguists crawled through 45,000 Kickstarter projects, 9 million phrases, and 59 variables which led them to this: We find that among 59 control variables and 20,391 phrases, the top 100 predictors of funded and not funded are solely comprised of phrases.

Here is their phrase tree data set, you can see the attitude that’s inherent in the way projects are presented, which led them to be successful or unsuccessfully funded: projects projecting a sense of optimism vs. those that appear to be groveling for money and resources.



The researchers also narrowed down a set of categories that the phrases generally followed:

  • Reciprocity or the tendency to return a favor after receiving one as evidenced by phrases such as “also receive two,” “pledged will” and “good karma and.”
  • Scarcity or attachment to something rare as shown with “option is” and “given the chance.”
  • Social Proof, which suggests that people depend on others for social cues on how to act as shown by the phrase “has pledged.”
  • Social Identity or the feeling of belonging to a specific social group. Phrases such as “to build this” and “accessible to the” fit this category.
  • Liking, which reflects the fact that people comply with people or products that appeal to them.
  • Authority, where people resort to expert opinions for making efficient and quick decisions as shown by phrases such as “we can afford” and “project will be.”

If you’re in the middle of building your own Kickstarter project, it might help to see the full research paper to help you positively impact your likelihood of succeeding.