The Numbers Behind Kickstarter
June 11, 2012 9:35 AM   Subscribe

"As an entrepreneur who’s looking at Kickstarter as a potential source of funding, I’m very interested in these numbers and the insights they provide. Insights that can only be gleaned by comparing projects that were successfully funded and those that failed to meet their funding goal." [via]
posted by griphus (28 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
i wonder if they would fund a dog adoption?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:40 AM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

I was suprised by the percentage of successful projects. Granted, the successful ones had astronomically smaller goals on average, but that's still a heartening statistic.

Also - I will enthusiastically fund a kickstarter for someone who can write a script that instantly converts any infographic into some goddamn prose like adults read.
posted by Think_Long at 9:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]

That's some neat info, although I wonder if we're getting a proper picture without the "user engagement" side of the equation - number of project updates, comments by the founder, how many reward tiers, that sort of thing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:46 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Kickstarter released their own stats at the start of the year.

The 2011 funded rate was 46% up from 43% in 2010
posted by pixie at 9:47 AM on June 11, 2012

He's making some awful weird (poor?) choices on presenting his infographic. Not following good rules of chart-making at all. The same-size gears representing radically differently-sized numbers was especially jarring. But the #funded vs. #not funded was interesting.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:52 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh my god, fuck infographics. They had the entire data set of Kickstarter projects and these are the most interesting statistics they could find? The statistics that any high school student could produce after an Excel class? I come in expecting some really interesting finding about how to get surefire funding on Kickstarter and instead I get this useless garbage. Fuck this shit. I've seen so many worthless linkbait articles with no real content on tech blogs in the past few months.
posted by scose at 9:58 AM on June 11, 2012 [16 favorites]

If you take a total pledge amount of $214,588,344, and divide that by 2,974,842 backers, you get $72.13 as the average pledge.

That's higher than I was expecting. I wonder what the actual distribution looks like? Are the 'whales' of Kickstarter pulling the average up that high, or do people just really love this stuff?
posted by Malor at 9:58 AM on June 11, 2012

Malor: that's the average pledge, but the distribution probably is quite skewed by the big pledges. So the median is a good bit smaller, although of course we don't have the data.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:26 AM on June 11, 2012

Are the 'whales' of Kickstarter pulling the average up that high, or do people just really love this stuff?

I ran a successful, $6000 Kickstarter movie project in 2010. Going in, I figured our average contribution would be about $15, so we had several rewards priced at the $15 and $20 range. Turns out, our average was around $50, and the $50 reward we were offering was a hoodie that cost us about $25. Everything worked out, and we got our principle photography paid for, but lesson learned: ask more for the hoodie.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Metafilter: Ask more for the hoodie
posted by roboton666 at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

I've been sort of fascinated with Stephenson's CLANG kickstarter. He has two 10k donations. Think one is him and the other is Gaben?

You also have superbacker types like Yancey Strickler, who hase back 639 projects.

I'm interested in how much money comes from giant 10k donations but also how much comes from habitial backers with hundreds of projects they are backing.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2012

The formula for success is ponies.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:58 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

There I saved you from the infographics.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:59 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay, so I ran a couple of logistic regressions on this data. Forget inforgraphics, I got STATA.

(Yes, I am a geek)

Controlling for goal and reward levels, and compared to a baseline of Art projects, categories have the following effects:
Comics is only 70% as likely to be funded.
Dance is 2.18 times as likely to be funded.
Fashion are only 40% as likely
Film is 7% more likely to be funded
Games, 62% as likely to be funded
Music is 1.36 more likely
Photography is 70% as likely
Publishing is only half as likely
Theater is twice as likely.

The number of reward levels increases the chance of being funded up to a point, and then decreases the chance.

Every time the goal increases by 10x, the chance of being funded drops by 75%
posted by blahblahblah at 11:18 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

blah^3, would you mind making a couple tables that sort factors by their corresponding likelihood ratios?
posted by Jpfed at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2012

Fail! Why Kick-Ass Kickstarters Don’t Get Funded which Wired resent a really pointless and overpriced sounding iPad accessory as an example why Kickstarter fails.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2012

I had a successful Kickstarter awhile back (to publish an anthology) and raised three times as much money as I needed. What worked for me was: (a) having a really low goal, (b) emailing everybody I knew in the entire world with personalized emails, which was crazy time-consuming but totally worth it, and (c) having a lot of people (the anthology authors) invested in the success of the project who had their own groups to ask for money from. I don't think I got one donation that wasn't from somebody I knew, or somebody one of my authors knew.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2012

Does that infographic really manage to have a font that's MORE annoying than comic sans?
posted by aspo at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

No problem, I actually am thinking about contacting the author for better scraping, since I can't do much with the data on updates or backers, because it isn't clear when updates occurred, or what the patterns are.

Her infographics are wrong, but the data is good. Table is below, here's how to read it:

The first number is the odds ratio, or the chance of being funded, if it has more than one star after it, it is statistically significant, three stars means very significant. You can read it is a percent, so Comics have a 70% chance of being funded compared to the reference category, Art. The text is the variable, everything from Comics down is a category. The last number, in parentheses, is the standard error.

Goal is the log of the total goal.
Levels is the number of reward levels, level^2 is the square of the number of reward levels (which lets you see if the effect is non-linear, which it is).

goal 0.25*** (0.006)
levels 1.21*** (0.006)
Levels^2 1.00*** (0.000)
Comics 0.70*** (0.051)
Dance 2.19*** (0.193)
Design 0.91 (0.057)
Fashion 0.39*** (0.030)
Film 1.07* (0.041)
Food 1.11 (0.073)
Games 0.61*** (0.039)
Music 1.34*** (0.053)
Photography 0.69*** (0.045)
Publishing 0.54*** (0.025)
Technology 0.89 (0.076)
Theater 1.94*** (0.108)
Constant 37.48*** (2.934)

For those who care, pseudo-r^2 is about .1, which is pretty reasonable, given missing variables. N=45,000 or so.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also dear god don't read artw's link unless you really need a reason to hate clueless people with too much disposable income.
posted by aspo at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why not just get an Etch-A-Sketch? Why?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:04 PM on June 11, 2012

I can only assume the concept came out of some kind of hipster word-draw... On another Earth we got a bacon etch-a-sketch or an Abe Lincoln iPad.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2012

The best advice I think there is for running a Kickstarter is a have a project that appeals to internet people who already know and understand what Kickstarter is, how it works, etc.

I watched two friends run very similar publishing projects with similar rewards and funding goals. One appealed to a core audience of "geeks" the other to a different sort of person. The geek project got 3x more than they asked for, the other project did not get funded. That project apparently had a lot of people after it failed ask if they could buy the products in stores or online, fundamentally not understanding what the kickstarter was all about.
posted by cell divide at 12:21 PM on June 11, 2012

The last statistic made me smile - the Kickstarter I recently ran is in that 8.5% of funded projects that broke 200% of their goals.

Of course my original goal was only $2400 so it wasn't that hard.
posted by egypturnash at 2:31 PM on June 11, 2012

For those who've looked at the stats - is there a breakdown in the games category by board/card vs video games?
posted by symbioid at 3:02 PM on June 11, 2012

Oh yeah. People who are interested in Kickstarter statistics might be interested in - they scrape KS and track funding over the life of entire projects. Interesting stuff.

Did I say interesting enough times in this comment? I'm not sure.
posted by egypturnash at 5:46 PM on June 11, 2012

The formula for success is ponies.

Don't these projects wish that was the case. Now, only 4 failed projects out of the 11 that I found on a cursory search is doing a little better than the averages quoted in the infographic, but it's by no means a lock.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2012

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