Predicting the Success of Kickstarter Campaigns: By Combining Neuroscience and Self-reports

Monika Prokop & Mikael Thorup

Student thesis: Master thesis


Due to dynamic markets and ever changing consumer preferences, innovation is a crucial factor for sustaining a competitive advantage. Kickstarter, the largest crowdfunding platform, allows individuals to act as corporations, with the goal of introducing innovations to the market. Although numerous studies explore success drivers for innovations, it remains difficult to predict whether or not they will become successfully disseminated.
Traditional methods and perspectives on innovations assume consumers are rational, thereby ignoring the importance of unconscious drivers of consumer behavior. On the contrary, neuroscience methods place a high emphasis on the unconscious, potentially underplaying the importance of conscious behavior. Therefore, this thesis investigates how unconscious and conscious consumer responses correlate with the success of Kickstarter campaigns, in order to contrast traditional methods with neuroscience methods, and gain a better understanding.
By using a combination of EEG and eye tracking, we are able to acquire high-granularity physiological measurements, to understand unconscious responses throughout the consumer journey. With the use of self-reports, we obtain a deeper level of conscious level responses and insights. We measure these responses across a series of Kickstarter campaigns, manipulated to appear as when they were first launched, and correlate them with the actual success rates of said campaigns. We seek to understand the drivers of product success prior to market launch.
We find that both unconscious and conscious consumer responses can explain part of the success of Kickstarter campaigns. For unconscious consumer responses, predictability occurs when participants view a call-to-action button, explaining 28% of variance in funding. For conscious consumer responses, the ‘relative advantage’ carries the highest explanatory power, explaining nearly 25% of variance, thereby replicating existing findings. However, we are unable to replicate findings regarding how innovativeness of consumers and products affect consumer behavior towards innovations. Nonetheless, we are able to explain 43% of variance in funding received by combining methods, thereby, combining the unconscious and conscious responses. Our research thereby challenges traditional and neuroscience perspectives, by highlighting the importance of combined methods. To summarize, this thesis presents valuable insights for marketers and academia and presents new tools for assessing the success of innovations.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages152