Crowdfunding: Perceptions of Campaign Success

Etienne Pierre Schraven

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis - Research and graduation internal

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Crowdfunding is an important instrument that helps entrepreneurs to realise projects by facilitating financial capital, sourced directly from larger numbers of individuals. Driven by the opportunities that the internet and social media bring, crowdfunding’s quick rise in popularity and widespread use evoke many questions that need answering. Those who invest in crowdfunding do so differently than other investors: They generally base their decision on information provided on a single webpage and invest much smaller amounts of money. This dissertation focuses on the evaluation process of individuals in the crowd, when they view a crowdfunding campaign. This helps entrepreneurs with creating effective campaigns, and investors to predict success more accurately. Identifying indicators for successful crowdfunding campaigns has been one of the main goals of crowdfunding research to date. Here, scholars aim to find clues on crowdfunding campaigns that predict whether it will be successfully funded. This is an interesting domain with direct value for entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs know what successful campaigns look like, they can mimic them and increase their chances of being funded. The most used technique for researching crowdfunding success indicators is crawling (automatically harvesting) data from existing crowdfunding pages and modelling for the success of the campaign. Factors beyond those visible on campaigns, which are therefore not included in these studies, may however influence the results. For example, successful campaigns could have been better (or more heavily) marketed by their teams, leading to more appropriate campaign page visitors. To add to the existing body of literature, the following main research question has been formulated: “Which factors influence the judgment of the crowd when assessing the success of crowdfunding campaigns?” In this dissertation, participants estimate whether crowdfunding campaigns will be successfully funded. The campaigns that are used are actual campaigns (not made up for the purpose of the research). However, they are photoshopped as to not give away any information on investments that had been placed. Responses are characterised as positive or negative depending on whether participants thought the campaign would be successful (positive) in raising the funds or not (negative). When these estimations were congruent with reality, they were also characterised as accurate (or as inaccurate when they did not correspond to reality). Over the course of the chapters, I focus on specific subtopics. By creating different conditions for participants, the effect of how long people view a crowdfunding campaign is researched over two studies. Second, participants were exposed to different types of information – static screenshots, the pitch video, and both – to determine what their effect is. Finally, an eye tracker was utilised to map what people look at when they evaluate crowdfunding campaigns, and how this relates to their evaluations. Regarding all three chapters, we see three main common trends. Firstly, people can estimate the success of crowdfunding campaigns from very little time spent on a campaign. Secondly, adding more information and/or assessment time does not make people more accurate in their evaluations. Thirdly, increasing the amount of information and/or assessment time, makes people’s evaluations more positive.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Masurel, E, Supervisor
  • van Gelderen, Marco, Co-supervisor
  • van Burg, Elco, Co-supervisor
Award date10 Jan 2022
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Print ISBNs9789036106665
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022


  • Crowdfunding, success, decision making, cognitive process, first impressions, thin slicing, viewing behaviour, predict


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