Updated: Oct 8
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A great video explains the product problem and builds an emotional connection — preferably all under two and a half minutes. So what makes a great video? What do you need?
Let’s go over the four basic ingredients of an effective video so you know how to structure your script since every product is different (and so every campaign is different too). Here are some general structuring tips and some golden rules for campaign videos based on our experience and data.
1. Ideally, your video should not be longer than two and a half minutes. Data shows that videos that are around two minutes perform best, at least on Kickstarter. This is because the completion rate matters so the longer people watch your videos (or the closer to the end of the video they get), the better it is for the algorithmic rating.
A better algorithmic rating means that more people will come across your project. This is why 10-minute long videos aren’t optimal because chances are slim people will finish the entire thing. Getting a low completion rate will be noticed by Kickstarter’s algorithm and they may downgrade your campaign.
2. Another important aspect to keep in mind is to not use any stock footage or renders of your product. Especially Kickstarter really doesn’t like renders, which are even officially prohibited on the website. For some categories, stock footage is technically allowed, but this is just not what Kickstarter likes to see from an editorial perspective. Also, these types of images or video footage generally create very unengaging content.
3. Using a lot of stock footage can make it feel inauthentic and borderline scammy. Everyone knows that your prototype is probably an early version so it doesn’t have to look all shiny and new, but try to make it as real as possible by showing it in a context that makes sense (as opposed to typical product shots in a white studio). Don’t oversell it nor show capabilities that you don’t know how to realize, but just show the product in use, how it works and what it does for people.
It’s best to keep in mind to ‘show not tell’ in order to make it engaging. Don’t have an in-depth discussion of your technical drawings, but have the creator or founder present his product. Data shows people really like this because those campaigns tend to create an emotional connection, which in turn leads to way more successful campaigns.
4. Backers — when experiencing this emotional connection — don’t just back the project because they want to have the product, but also because they want to support the founder. So the more personal you can get, the better. What this means for your script? We use four essential elements in every video we make.
Of course keep in mind that this is only a suggestion and not at all obligated or a fail-safe recipe for success. But we’ve had many successful campaigns that use one of these four elements, which we therefore regard as utterly indispensable.
Start with the product and not the problem. Many people have an infomercial kind of way of going about their campaign video: introduce problem, ask a rhetorical question then offer a better solution. We don’t believe in leading with the negative. Switch it around and start with the positive. Let your backers know why your product is great and worthwhile. Afterwards, proceed with the problem it solves and the things about it that make it superior to other products. So first present the product, then the problem it solves, then show how it does so. Keep in mind: show, don’t tell. In the case of a vacuum cleaner, show how it cleans the floor and why it does so better than other vacuum cleaners.
Show the creator and the entire process of inventing your product. Show team members, your design studio, your office, etc. You should show who is working on your product and why they’re passionate about it. We want to see the craftsmanship going into the product and therefore the hard work put into the project.
If you stick to that sequence in under two and half minutes then you have what we would consider the perfect video. Naturally, there are different ways of going about creating your campaign video and there isn’t just one perfect way that guarantees success. But if you don’t know where to start or if you notice your video isn’t performing well then do keep these tips in mind. Show the product, the problem, the solution and the passionate team behind it.
Some final tips and tricks for while you’re shooting.
1. Always shoot extra material even though your video should only be two and a half minutes. The extra footage you can use for ads so also shoot behind-the-scenes, someone using the product, etc. etc.
2. Do photography on the same day as when you shoot your video. Make sure someone’s present at the video shoot who can take photographs at the same time.
3. Many creators think they need a high budget video to have a high budget campaign. This couldn’t be farther removed from the truth. One of our recent projects raised $2 million with a video they shot over Zoom so creativity is more important than budget.
4. Use GIFs to make a compelling page on your crowdfunding platform of choice. Try to keep potential GIFs in mind when shooting the video in order to really get the most out of your shoot. Start soon because it generally takes one to two months to get a video shoot done. Also think of specific images you might want to use (think of newsletter content, give-aways and other such things).