LU research reveals choice of words is key to crowdfunding success

“Speaking the same language” and careful choice of words are the key to crowdfunding success, according to a recent study conducted by the Department of Marketing and International Business.


Adopting multi-method approach including n-gram natural language, penalised logistic regression and linguistic analysis, the LU research team led by Associate Professor Peng Ling and Professor Cui Geng, analysed the narratives of over 21,000 film projects released between 2015 and 2020 on Kickstarter, an international crowdfunding platform for creative projects. They focused on 39 categories containing words that have affective, social, cognitive, perceptual, or biological meanings, or are related to drive, time orientation, relativity, and personal concerns.


The study found that the use of positive emotion words were associated with a higher likelihood of funding success. The greater use of positive emotion, anxiety, sadness, hear, and feel words is associated with more immersion, indicating that entrepreneurs may have nothing to hide and are credible and trustworthy, resulting in a positive effect on funding success. In contrast, see and space words (e.g., down, inside) draw attention away from the self and show less cognitive complexity. These words exhibit subtle hints of deceptiveness possibly arouse suspicion among potential backers, thus exerting a negative effect on funding success.


In addition, successful projects used more words that indicate personal relevance and social interactions (i.e., following the reciprocity, liking, scarcity, and social proof principles) which help build up a rapport with potential backers. The researchers also found that present tense and future tense words were negatively associated with crowdfunding success, as they imply elements of uncertainty and result in negative violations of backer expectations.


The research findings were published in the latest issue of the international academic journal Marketing Letters.


Click here for the research details.