Did Being Featured By Kickstarter Help?

Can I get strangers to pledge to my crowdfunding campaign?

The simple answer is yes, there is a remote chance when you look across all campaigns. When you look at artistic genres only (art, food, music, etc… basically anything other than tech, design and games), chances of being featured become incredibly slim.

We’ll talk more about this possibility below as we discuss “How to Get Featured” versus “How to Get Funded” (the two ideas are not necessarily complementary).

But since many people are curious about the effects of being featured, let’s see what we can find. It is simple enough to observe what happens with campaigns that are featured in Kickstarter HQ’s “This Week On Kickstarter” emails to see if there is a funding bump for the 3 featured campaigns.

The results? An obvious pattern emerges.

Getting Featured By Kickstarter HQ’s Weekly Email: A Gift From Above

As you can see from the photo of the Marimba Nutcracker Suite’s (now defunct) CanHeKickIt, there can be a huge funding bump after being featured by Kickstarter in their weekly email.

Can you guess which day the email was sent!

Take a look at what happened to the Mine Kafon campaign.

It is rather obvious when Kickstarter HQ sent their email.

I have looked at several other examples from January 2013 emails. Not all campaigns benefited greatly from the exposure but most did.

Waverton Writes may very well not have funded had it not been featured! (Goal is the dotted pink line.)

All in all, I looked at about 20 campaigns and found that the average funding bump (the amount raised in the day after being featured) measured as a percent of the campaign goal was 150%!

In other words, the average project garnered funding equal to 150% of its goal in the single day after being featured by Kickstarter HQ. This is impressive!

Take a look at the Puppet Shakespeare campaign which received almost HALF of its funding the day after it was featured.

Not surprisingly, we see that Kickstarter’s mailing list is a highly targeted list of  “patrons” who are interested in funding worthy campaigns even though they have no prior connection to the campaign.

How Much Is It Worth?

Of course it is always difficult to say what would have happened had Kickstarter NOT featured the campaign…

But one thing is for sure, the average total funding for these campaigns compared to their goal is MUCH HIGHER than for an earlier sample of campaigns.

On average, the campaigns featured in a Kickstarter email raised 428% of their goal. In other words, they raised over FOUR TIMES as much as their goal amount.

The United Steaks Poster campaign funded FIFTEEN TIMES HIGHER than its goal amount!

Non-featured Kickstarter campaigns raised an average of 133% of their goal which is just a bit more than they set out to raise.

How To Get Your Campaign Featured

It really won’t be that hard. A tastefully named Kickstarter employee actually told me how!

At Kickstarter HQ, we spend a big part of our day keeping up with projects. Every morning our editorial team opens hundreds of tabs in their browsers and watches all of the project videos that launched in the last 24 hours. They also look over every project live on the site and follow the progress that creators make. When something sticks out as particularly compelling, whether it’s a really fun video, creative rewards, a great story, or an exciting idea (hopefully all of the above!), we feature it. ~ Ian from Kickstarter

So, all you have to do is be so ridiculously awesome that your campaign stands out from the hundreds of other campaigns that day (and thousands that week) and then you will get featured. Go to town!

Okay, so I’m being a smart @$$.

Getting featured is not only difficult and improbable, there isn’t much criteria to guide you in the process.

The right campaign may succeed in getting strangers to become backers but it isn’t easy or guaranteed. Matter of fact, it is incredibly difficult and is a highly risky strategy to depend on when it comes to funding your campaign.

The risk lies in how you handle yourself and your campaign. When people actively try to get their campaign featured, they drift away from their real purpose towards relying on hype, which often comes across as BS-hype. Not only is this completely inelegant, it will directly cost a campaign backers and funding, period.

Then there are the numbers to consider. How many campaigns are ever actually featured? For Kickstarter, the answer is about three per week out of approximately 4,000+ live campaigns. If you like keeping score, that means that your chances of getting featured are 0.075%, less than one-tenth of one percent.

Bottom line, you should never count on being featured as part of your strategy.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Instead, Get Your Campaign Funded

The key to getting your campaign funded (which is the real key here, isn’t it?) is to create an authentic, purpose-driven campaign that is based on your unique situation.

It is important that your campaign conveys your unique purpose. You must lead with this and talk about it incessantly. If you truly understand your purpose, you won’t be able to stop talking about it. You’ll be speaking from the heart instead of leading with hype.

WARNING: most campaign creators *assume* they understand their purpose but when they start talking about it, it becomes apparent that they really do not. A sure sign that you don’t completely understand your purpose is when you cover it in a sentence or two and then quickly segue back into what you are trying to create and how awesome it is going to be.

Being honest about your unique situation will also play a huge role in your campaign’s success. Your campaign budgets and goals must be based on your ability to raise funds. How much you can raise is a function of how many people you know both (personally and professionally) and how good of a job you do in contacting them and conveying your story.

If you either A) base your goals on some fairy tale fantasy of what you want without accounting for what you can actually do (i.e., set your goal amount unrealistically high), or B) do a poor job of reaching out to people with your campaign, then you will have a difficult if not impossible time raising the funds you need.

Account for your unique situation, lead with purpose and forget about being featured (bonus if it happens) and your campaign will be poised for success without relying on factors well outside of your control!