Kickstarter Video - Optional or Required?
January 10, 2019 5:59 AM   Subscribe

How important is an intro video to your decision on whether or not to back a Kickstarter project?

I have wheels in motion to launch my first Kickstarter in a few weeks. It is for a very small project (a rpg zine) and asking for a comparatively small amount of money (say, a thousand bucks). Most of the tips and guides I'm reading online insist that a video is a Must Have, but they are either a few years old or focusing on much larger scale projects. I'm keeping mine pretty small and tight - my three project tiers top out at all of ten bucks.

If a video would help me get substantially more backers, I'd consider doing it (especially if said increase in backers could help me lower the sting of international shipping which is insane), but the time and skill involved in crafting one would take up a lot of time that could be spent on other aspects of the pre-campaign launch setup. I can produce content for the video (shots of me carving, examples of what I'm talking about), but again, it's an effort vs outcome thing.
posted by robocop is bleeding to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
For what it's worth - and I'm just a single datapoint here - I never watch Kickstarter videos, because I assume they'll be less than informative. Good still photos? Yes, absolutely. Videos, never.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 6:20 AM on January 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

It's not even slightly important to me and I would much prefer not to watch one. I will, in fact, be very annoyed if the written/still-photo information is so skimpy that I am forced to watch the video to get information to decide whether to back the project. I'll likely just walk away rather than watch a video.

One exception is if the product or project is something that really has to be seen in motion to be fully understood, but even then I'd rather a short basic clip of the thing in use, vs. some sort of five-minute highly produced intro spiel.
posted by Stacey at 6:21 AM on January 10, 2019 [12 favorites]

Agreed - I tend to avoid the videos, and far prefer a written explanation with photos.
posted by needlegrrl at 6:23 AM on January 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

If it is a new physical product/device, I absolutely need to see a video before I back it. If it's something like a book/zine/art, I don't care and am fine with high quality photos.

To me it is a barrier to entry, I.E., you want me to spend $200 on something new and novel, but you can't make a video? How can I trust you to figure out international supply chain logistics?
posted by matrixclown at 6:29 AM on January 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

I like the videos because it feels like I get more of a personal feel/vibe of the person I am supporting. I like the folks that I support to be real people with faces and voices and nervous "I'm on camera!" tics and gives me a warm fuzzy to know I'm helping them get their thing done.

Otherwise, I don't know your small project from any other faceless yahoo's small project.
posted by jillithd at 6:30 AM on January 10, 2019

It really depends on what you're making. Generally I wouldn't watch a video unless it was something that really needs a video to demonstrate:
A boardgame? No. A video game? Yes (assuming there's some proof of concept animation or prototype). A magazine? No. Some sort of physical device where I'd want to see the size/shape/ergonomics? Yes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:40 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

A video can help give a project personality, but it's the last thing I'll look at, and only if the rest of the page is informative and makes me think I will want the product but I'm kind of hedging. If I have to watch the video to even know what I'm really considering because the written materials aren't detailed, then I won't bother.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:47 AM on January 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I abhor the trend of turning what should be quick to read websites into 8 minute long videos but that has been the general trend of the internet - lots of people do like video. I agree with jillithd that they're not just about the product, but selling you as someone they support. From your reference to carving, I assume these are woodcuts or something similar - that's the sort of artisanal effort that some people do find really interesting. If you do it right, you should be able to make some footage that will work to support both this and your Etsy shop. You can also do some things like starting in with a close-up of the detail that zooms out to show the context of the page with video that you can't do quite the same with still images.

If you're topping off at $10, you're dreaming too small - throw in a tier or two above that with some kind of extra (even if it's just stuff from your other projects) as prestige levels. Sometimes people just want to support people but want some kind of bonus for doing so? Maybe offer the wood used in the prints themselves?
posted by Candleman at 6:53 AM on January 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

If it's just a video by a bunch of people talking about how great it is and how it's going to change the world, using biz jargon and the same background music everyone uses-- then, no.

But! If the video shows prototypes, moving parts, artist process, images of proposed final design, that sort of thing-- then, yes!

Like many of the others here, I highly value high-res photos, descriptions, etc.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Metafilter, being a completely non visual website, is a VERY biased audience for this question! We're all here because we can handle walls of text. But imagine asking this same question on YouTube or Instagram, where video content reigns. If your intended audience is a bit more mixed, a short video might help them get it. Photos certainly.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2019 [18 favorites]

I’ve backed a fair amount of projects (art, games) on Kickstarter and have never backed a project without a video. I most likely wouldn’t read a whole KS post after I saw there was no video. It gives me a much better idea of who you are and what it is you’re offering, and also that you cared enough to make the video too.
posted by caitcadieux at 8:09 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I actually love watching Kickstarter videos. I'm rarely backing just a product, but supporting someone that I think is doing something good. I want to know who that person is, hear them talk about why this is a thing that should be, the whole human aspect of it. Some people can do that just in text, but usually much more poorly than they think. And yeah, metafilter is going to be heavily biased against videos.
posted by Aranquis at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2019

Look if 75% of the people don’t care about the video then it’s still worth making the video.
posted by aubilenon at 8:56 AM on January 10, 2019

It's very simple: not making a video means fewer people back your project. So, you make a video.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:12 AM on January 10, 2019

Seconding Caitcadieux. There is plenty of market research to support that videos are critical to the overall success of a campaign. As a marketer myself who has run numerous crowdfunds, I would never release a campaign without an accompanying video.

Maybe not everyone will watch it. That's why it's important to have images and text to go along with it. But there is a non-trivial segment of potential funders who prefer video formats and you don't want to leave that money on the table.
posted by ananci at 9:46 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Urf. I hear you on the 'better to have one than not' front - I just hoped I could go without! Lavalier mic ordered.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:51 AM on January 10, 2019

If I recall correctly, people can share Kickstarter videos and they'll embed in social media.

If this is in fact correct, people who see your Kickstarter shared might not click through to see "what it is," but if the KS video is right there on Facebook or Twitter, they might watch.
posted by explosion at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2019

Even though I don't usually watch Kickstarter videos, I am a bit wary of Kickstarters that don't have a video as well as decent photos, well thought out and good page, and a detailed idea of what they are doing. It is just one of those things that give me confidence that the person running the Kickstarter is serious and committed to it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:35 AM on January 10, 2019

On second thought, I wouldn't expect a video for a small Kickstarter with a low buy-in. My previous comment is only for big or expensive Kickstarters.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2019

Okay my first answer was a little glib, but I've thought about it more and even if you've already decided you do have to make the video, this might still be helpful to think about why you need the video.

There are, IMO, three goals of a crowdfunding campaign. The most obvious is to convince people they want you to make the thing you want to make. But the other two are about trust. People must trust that you are capable of making the thing, and they must trust that you are honest and will try like hard to make the thing.

So if you can't get your shit together to make a video, it casts doubt on your ability to get your shit together to make the thing you're asking folks to fund. And videos tend to be important for people, because seeing a video is a much faster/more effective way to develop an empathetic connection (and thus trust) than reading a bunch of text. So your video should focus partly on what your thing is, for people who TLDR out of the rest of the page, but also on why you are a good person to make your thing, and on conveying that you are excited to make your thing, because that says that if given the chance, you're likely to actually do it.
posted by aubilenon at 12:19 PM on January 10, 2019

I watch the videos! I find them really helpful to quickly wrap my head around the project. I would also say I have a positive gut reaction or bias toward pages that have the video--it signals a level of professionalism and polish.
posted by capricorn at 12:27 PM on January 10, 2019

Well let's just get this out of the way: I'll be backing it if you're the person behind it, so please update thread with a link.

That said, a well-produced video has in multiple cases caused me to back a project that I might not have otherwise.

Example video of a product that turned out to be pretty crappy in execution.

Example video of a product I'm still really hopeful for.

Example video of a product that turned out as awesome as the video indicated.

I just went through my backed projects and realized that every single one of them has had a video, FWIW.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:15 PM on January 10, 2019

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