What makes your movies more engaging for backers? A linguistic analysis of Kickstarter projects using topic modeling

  • Shuman LIU (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular channel for entrepreneurs to raise funds from the general public to support their startup projects. However, the percentage of crowdfunding projects that can reach their original fund-raising goals is relatively small among all crowdfunding websites. Although previous studies have examined various factors such as individual project features, private and social networks that might influence the outcomes of the fund-raising campaigns, the textual descriptions of projects, as a key part of any crowdfunding proposal, have rarely been studied for analyzing crowdfunding success.

In this research, we study a corpus of 1559 movie projects from Kickstarter up to the end of 2017. We use the natural language processing tool to mine the textual descriptions of projects and extract linguistic and writing features that might affect the outcomes of the fundraising campaigns. We find that the language used in the project description has surprising predictive power on the successful funding. A closer look at the phrases shows that they exhibit general persuasion principles, depending on the fit between the pitch presentation and the genre of movies. For example, using some words related to "relativity" like "motion", "space", "time" could increase the likelihood of success for the action movies. While descriptive words like adjectives, comparisons are top of the predictors for the successful funding of comedy movies, words reflecting analytic thinking might have an adverse effect. For horror movies, informal language offers a favor in return for donating. The managerial implication of our research is that movie creators use the most influential linguistic and writing features to promote their new business ideas in a more persuasive and effective way and thus to improve the chance of raising sufficient funds for their projects.
Period15 Apr 2020
Event titlePostgraduate Seminar Series
Event typePublic Lecture