Kickstarter’s beauty is in its breadth. Creators on the crowdfunding site are in the process of raising money for feature documentaries, independent print magazines, and robotics kits, among other serious endeavors. And then there are the projects that reflect the weird, random, and the sometimes downright baffling nature of the Internet (remember the $55,000 potato salad party?).
Why one campaign flounders while another blows past its goal can be hard to determine. But in the case of a recent viral success, the culprit is clear: Facebook.
The product in question is a neat, if not revolutionary, idea. Dubbed the “Fidget Cube,” its purpose is simple: As explained via voiceover in the project’s video, it’s “a cube that you fidget with.” Each of its six sides feature something to fidget with, including clickers, a joystick, switches and gears.
The campaign’s original goal was $15,000. From the beginning, interest was strong — after launching at the beginning of September, it reached that benchmark in a day. Word of mouth only grew from there. (It helped that the project’s deadpan product video, a parody of a pharmaceutical commercial, is original and funny.) Views racked up, from the campaign’s Kickstarter page and on its YouTube and Facebook channels.
And then things went bananas. “The moment that things were truly taken to another level was last week on Tuesday, when a series of Facebook pages started sharing our video,” creators (and brothers) Matthew and Mark McLachlan told Fortune via email.
NowThis, a page dedicated to viral videos, uploaded the Fidget Cube video on September 6 (the post has more than 410,000 shares and 200,000 likes). Two days later, the campaign passed the $1 million mark.
“NowThis was the first domino in the chain, and shortly after they shared our video with their audience, pages such as Business Insider, Viral Thread, Unilad, and Mic did the same,” the brothers said. “Even prior to our ‘tipping point’ last week, a majority of the traffic we were receiving to our project page was coming from Facebook.”
Since the NowThis post, the video has ricocheted across the social media platform, fueled at least in part, by Facebook’s algorithm, which promotes videos at the expense of other content.
To date, the Fidget Cube has raised more than $4.3 million, with 33 days left to go. That is an insane figure. It’s also another reminder of Facebook’s enormous influence. By this point, media companies are attuned to the company’s power (algorithm tweak often have an outsized impact on traffic). But the virality of the Fidget Cube underscores the platform’s potency, not just for news organizations, but for anyone who want to reach a broad audience.
If you want your message to resonate, make it as Facebook-friendly as possible. “Like” it or not, it’s where we are right now.