By the Numbers: When Creators Return to Kickstarter

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As Pebble’s latest project nears $20 million in pledges, on top of $10 million the first time, it still might seem odd that the company decided to return to Kickstarter. But the truth is that creators come back to Kickstarter every day. In fact, creators who have run more than one project have received over $511 million in pledges — nearly a third of all money pledged on Kickstarter.

Already in 2015, Pebble, Max Temkin, 3Doodler, Spark, and many others have returned to gather funding and a community around new projects.

By now that’s not so unusual: 22,000 Kickstarter creators — 12% of all of them — have launched more than one project. It’s easy to see why. The funding success rate for creators who come back after a successfully funded project is nearly double that of the overall site average — and their next projects do even better.

Previous successfully
funded projects
Success rate for
next project
1 73%
2 80%
3 87%
4 87%
5 91%

Kickstarter is a tool that creators can use again and again, pulling in new fans along the way. Here’s a look at how the average number of backers grows as creators fund multiple projects.

Creators tell us that this ability to build community is one of the best things about using Kickstarter — and that it can turn out to be more important than the money they raise.

One of these creators is Elly Blue, a creator in Portland who’s run 20 publishing projects, all of them focused on bikes, women, and women on bikes, raising between $500 and $10,000 each time.

Elly wanted to print a zine back in 2010, and a friend told her about Kickstarter, describing it as "the world pays you to do what you want." After her first success, Elly says, the financial and community benefits kept her coming back: “People sometimes seem to be as or more excited about the Kickstarter campaign as they are about the books themselves. It turns the project into something more participatory, an event.”

Projects from returning creators are more common in some categories than others. This chart shows the fraction of projects in each category that are from creators using Kickstarter for the second, third, or even fiftieth time.

(Note that the Journalism category is less than a year old.)

Let’s look at how the success rate of creators’ first projects compares to that of subsequent ones broken down by category. The first column here is the success rate for first projects from all creators, whether or not they launched another one. The second column is the success rate for second-and-later projects, including those from creators who didn’t reach their goal the first time.

Category First projects Second or
later projects
Increase in
success rate
Games 26% 56% 116%
Technology 21% 36% 75%
Crafts 23% 40% 73%
Design 31% 50% 60%
Publishing 29% 41% 41%
Comics 45% 62% 39%
Fashion 24% 33% 35%
Food 28% 35% 26%
Photography 30% 36% 21%
Journalism 25% 30% 20%
Art 42% 50% 18%
Dance 64% 75% 16%
Theater 61% 67% 9%
Music 53% 57% 9%
Film & Video 39% 41% 6%

Repeat creators get more of a bump in some categories than others, but the success rate improves across the board.

These statistics really show the power of community, and of this platform as a way to grow and sustain it. We’re so glad to be a home to creators who love this new way of making and sharing things with loyal fans. If you’ve run a project before and are working on something new, come back! We’ve missed you.

For more on repeat creators, see this article in The Guardian today.

    1. D-NAMIC on

      This post is simply amazing. It confirms our believe in community-generating power of KS. You are doing a great job in sharing useful data, creators can learn how to make their projects better off.

    2. Rishi B Chandra on

      My first project experience with KS has been great and I am really looking forward to many more in the near future! Thank you KS.

    3. Tasha Turner

      Based on this. A feature that would be really cool is the ability to follow a creator. To be able to click on a creators profile & click follow. I've missed a few repeat campaigns when the creator forgot to post a link to their previous campaign and I'm not following them on other social media. I know I'm not the only one. I wonder how the boost charts would look a year or two after implementing "follow creator".

    4. David Gallagher

      Hi Tasha: Thanks for the suggestion! It's a good idea.

    5. Moveable Feast Mobile Media on

      Nice. But (notably?) absent are some stats on how creators with previously UN-successful projects fare on a second try. (Ahem: my project failed last week.)

    6. Leif Jason on

      Yes, I'd like to be able to follow a creator. I've found quite a few projects that I liked that were already funded and it would be cool to show the creator that I'm interested in future projects they might launch.

    7. Cameron Adams on

      Ditto - it's my biggest issue with Kickstarter.. the only way to follow a creator is through other means, and when they don't have those other means (and they often don't) I'm missing their campaigns!

    8. Rich Jones on

      Please...let us follow a creator!

    9. Missing avatar

      unleasher on

      Follow Creator is a GREAT idea and I hope that you implement it ASAP!

    10. Missing avatar

      Kay Are Ulvestad on

      I agree that Follow Creator would be a useful feature. :)
      As for the statistics, I see the point, but I would think a big part of the reason why second (or fiftieth) time creators are more succesful than first timers, apart from being more experienced in running Kickstarter campaigns, would be that majority of these are the creators who we already know have the abilities and types of projects which can be successful. We are a comparing a group which is inexperienced and diverse, to a group in which most probably have been successful previously and all are more experienced. So I think ascribing the whole increase in success rate to the power of community is a bit of an exaggeration.
      Still, I have little doubt that the community building is a part of it, and think it is a bigger part of the explanation of why second campaigns are often more successful than the first. :)

    11. Guy Lévi-Bochi on

      +1 for "Follow Creator" feature!

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