Kickstarter Stats & Campaign Success Rates

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I have a technical background and LOVE statistics. I thought it would be really cool to take a look at all of the available Kickstarter stats that I could find in attempt to answer questions like:

  • What are the chances that my Kickstarter campaign will be successful?
  • How much money on does a Kickstarter campaign earn on average?
  • What crowdfunding categories have the highest success rate?

Well ponder no longer – I scoured the net to find all this information and more. I’ve also developed an infographic for these stats if you prefer something a bit more visual. All of the stats below are current as of March, 2016.

With no further ado, here are the stats! I hope these will help you in planning your campaign (or at a minimum quench your curiosity). Oh, and don’t let these stats get you down — instead be sure to check out some of my tips on how to improve the chance your crowdfunding campaign will be successful!

The Big Numbers

Kickstarter is the largest and most successful crowdfunding platform at the moment, and boasts some pretty impressive numbers:

  • Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009.
  • Over $2.2 billion dollars have been pledged in total to all Kickstarter campaigns to date.
  • …. however $268 million dollars were pledged to unsuccessful projects and therefore were not funded.
  • Kickstarter has successfully funded over 101,000 out of a total of 286,000 projects — a success rate of about 35% overall.
  • This means that 87% of the dollars pledged go to just 35% of the campaigns — in other words the successful projects are REALLY successful compared to the ones that fail.
  • More than 10.5 million people have backed a Kickstarter campaign.
  • At any given time there are typically about 6000 live Kickstarter projects.

But Just How Successful are Kickstarter Campaigns?

So we’ve already learned that it’s the successful projects that receive the lion’s share of the money pledged, but exactly how much are these campaigns earning? It turns out some pretty big dollars — let’s take a look.

kickstarter-dollars-raised-by-successful-projects

  • The vast majority of successful Kickstarter projects earn between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Over 150 projects have earned more than $1 million.
  • There are 8 Kickstarter projects that raised at least $1 million on day one of their campaign.
  • The most successful Kickstarter campaign to date is Pebble Time, which raised just over $20 million.
  • Over 83% of unsuccessful projects earn less than 20% of their funding target, meaning when they fail they really bomb!

Stats Breakdown by Category

So far we’ve only looked at Kickstarter projects at a global level, but that only tells part of the story. Down at the category level there are some interesting things happening. First let’s look at the total number of projects by category:

kickstarter-projects-by-category

  • By far the largest number of projects are in the Film & Video, Music, and Publishing categories – in other words: MEDIA.
  • These top 3 media categories make up over 45% of the total number of projects.
  • The Dance category actually has the highest success rate at 63%, but represents only 1% of the total number of projects.
  • Technology has a success rate of just 20% making it the least likely to succeed.

Now let’s look at the dollars involved here. It seems the dollars are completely unrelated to the number of projects in each category:

kickstarter-dollars-pledged-by-category

  • This is interesting: We saw above that Technology has the lowest success rate, but it is among the highest in terms of dollars pledged at just over $414 million.
  • This means that Technology pledges make up around 18% of all money contributed to date on Kickstarter.
  • It’s actually surpassed by the Games category however, which has raised over $461 million to date, or around 21% of total Kickstarter contributions.
  • At a total value of $8 million, the Crafts category has been the least popular on Kickstarter thus far.

Finally, we need to take a look at the success rate by category, which again is quite telling:

kickstarter-project-success-rate-by-category

  • Despite average Kickstarter campaign success rates of 35%, success rate by category varies wildly.
  • Technology projects are the least successful overall, with only a 20% chance of being funded.
  • Dance & Theatre have the highest success rates, at 63% and 60% respectively.

And to Increase Your Chance of Success?

  • 30% of successful campaigns are between 30 – 39 days long.
  • Your campaign has a 70% higher chance of being successful and raise four times the amount of money if it includes a promo video instead of just text and pictures — that makes it a MUST in my book!
  • Start and finish strong: Over 38% of funds are raised in the first day and the last 3 days of the campaign combined.
  • Campaign updates are important: On average, successful campaigns post updates at least once a week while live.

Other Interesting Kickstarter Stats

  • On average there are now over 30 projects successfully funded per day on Kickstarter.
  • 11 Kickstarter films have been nominated for an Oscar, with 1 actually winning an Oscar to date.
  • There have been 4 Kickstarter projects to date that have won a Grammy.
  • There are over 150 Kickstarter funded video games available now on Steam.

Stats to be Added in the Next Update

Check back often because I’ll be updating this post regularly as new information becomes available. In the next update I plan to include the following:

  • Graph showing how much on average that successful projects surpassed their funding targets by.
  • Number of days to reach funding target on average by category.

What’s my source for these stats? Much of the information I’ve shared here is actually available from Kickstarter itself. Another useful resource is the Crowdfund Data Centre, although it can get a bit pricy if you’re just a casual user. Finally, Statista has mounds of great Kickstarter data available, but you’ll have to work your way through it to find what you want.

What Kickstarter Stats Would You Like to See?

Is there a key number that I’ve missed? What other information would be useful to you? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to track it down and add it in the next update!

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