Monday, December 17

Kickstarter Data Deep Dive

Paul and I chose to go to Kickstarter for FlickFleet because we needed funds up front for the laser cutter purchase and the raw materials for making the games.

We have an unusual two-phase campaign, and this was our first Kickstarter which will skew things I’m sure, but I wanted to look into the data we collected (some permanent, some transitory) and see what we can draw from it, and by sharing it here I hope there is something useful for you too.

We went into the project knowing that our audience wasn’t big enough to succeed. We needed help. We had figured on an average pledge of £31 (standard copy plus UK shipping) so we needed 387 backers. Our mailing list was 135 people and not all of them would want a copy, I guessed around 30% (40). So we needed to find another 347!

The fact that we were going to Kickstarter changed a few things about how we approached the launch - I made a few demo copies and send them to reviewers (6 in total but we only got five reviews due to a series of unfortunate events at one of the reviewers) and I also arranged a lot of podcasts and email interviews ahead of the Kickstarter launch. Usually review go out after I've hand-crafted all my pre-orders, so this attempting to build a buzz ahead of Kickstarter was all new to me. I think we did ok, the podcasts definitely helped, but we could have done with sending out more review copies I think, five reviews was only just enough.

One of the things we were really hoping for was that just the act of being on Kickstarter would help - we needed to find 347 people to support us somewhere. As it turns out we were right. 46% of the total raised during our campaign was raised through Kickstarter itself. Some of that is probably people who found out about it elsewhere and searched on Kickstarter, but a huge proportion of our total came from the platform itself. By comparison, 33% came from outside and only 19% directly from a link we shared.

Another large benefit of Kickstarter was finding out really early on that the deluxe versions were hugely popular. It allowed us to change the shape of the campaign on the fly - opening up more deluxe editions as time went on.

Downsides were plenty though. The campaign was plagued by a constant stream of cancellations, and Paul and I felt constantly at risk of further backwards progress - that made the whole experience very anxiety-inducing. In the end about 14% of backers cancelled their pledges (though a few of those eventually came back). This was compounded at the end when 18/325 backers had payment errors. By the end, this was down to 6/325 (2%) and the final total before fees was £11,891. Obviously this is lower than the amount of money we needed, but one of the joys of hand-crafting print runs is that we can change our print run size and there's no minimum, so we're still good.

A couple of things I clung to throughout the campaign were a couple of stats about successful campaigns. One, from Kickstarter itself, is that 98%  of all campaigns that reach 60% end up successfully funding. Another was that anecdotally, funding is split roughly 1/3 each between the first 48 hours, the middle and the last 48 hours. In our case the numbers were 31.8%, 48.5%, 19.7%, so even though we had a weak finish, we were well within 30% with 48 hours to go.

We had 723 project followers at the end, and we went from 12% to 17% of them backing the project after the email reminder went out. That's 37 backers at the end from the followers, or just over 5%.   

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