Last week a woman named Rachel Perrie pledged to a film project called Cargo. At that moment she became the millionth person to have ever backed a Kickstarter project.Rachel backed the film because she knew the creator. People often support people they know on Kickstarter. People also back projects they discover via blog posts, tweets, Facebook, and our own site and newsletter. Whether to a friend or a stranger, a pledge simply says “I like what you’re doing and I’d like to be a part of it.”
Thanks to these million people there are plays, comics, albums, books, video games, urban farms, documentaries, exhibits, performances, and thousands more creative works out in the world. Many couldn’t exist without their support, and all are certainly better for it. It’s a remarkable thing.
We’re really excited about this milestone. A million people is a lot — more than ten Rose Bowls! To celebrate we’d like to take a closer look at Kickstarter’s first million backers.
New Backers by Month
Let’s start by defining what we mean by backer. Someone becomes a backer when they pull out a credit card and pledge money to a project. Being a backer is a higher bar than a user (someone who signs up for a site), and different than a pledge (the transaction itself). One million backers means one million different people from around the world have pledged money to a project on Kickstarter.
The above graph shows the cumulative path to 1,000,000 backers. The first 200,000 backers took 16 months; the last 200,000 took just three months. Currently about 75,000 new backers pledge to projects each month.
Backer Success Rate
While projects successfully reach their goals 44% of the time, 89% of all backers have supported a successful project. Only 11% have never backed a successful project. This ties into data we previously shared showing that 85% of pledges are to successful projects. The overwhelming experience of a Kickstarter backer is success.
Which backer has been the most successful? We looked at all backers that have pledged to 50 or more projects, and a backer from the UK, Neil Graham, stood out. To date Neil has backed 94 projects, and 83 of 84 have finished successfully (ten pledges are still live). A 98% success rate — well done, Neil!One-Time Backers vs Repeat Backers
Total Backers: 1,013,725
Repeat Backers: 166,823
Dollars Pledged by One-Time Backers vs Repeat Backers
One-Time Backer Dollars: ~$68 million
Repeat Backer Dollars: ~$32 million
Sixteen percent of backers are repeat backers, but their pledges account for 32% of all dollars. This number is up from our last stats update in July, when repeat backer dollars accounted for 28% of all pledges. The proportion and impact of repeat backers on Kickstarter continues to grow. We couldn’t be more excited about this.How Backers Pledge
There have been approximately 1.4 million pledges on Kickstarter so far, and the above graph breaks down their increments. Notice how concentrated the pledges are up to $100. Ninety percent of all pledges have been for $100 or less, and 75% have been for $50 or less. Smaller amounts comprise the bulk of Kickstarter activity.
Dollars Pledged: $100,729,560
Dollars Collected (successful projects): ~$84 million
Dollars Uncollected (unsuccessful projects): ~$12 million
Live Dollars: ~$5 million
Last week brought an additional milestone: Kickstarter backers have now pledged more than $100 million to projects. To put this in some context, the 2011 fiscal year budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is $154 million. At the current pace of more than $2 million in pledges each week, Kickstarter backers are pledging more than $100 million a year.
Interestingly the milestones of 1,000,000 backers and $100,000,000 pledged came within 48 hours of one another. This suggests the value of each backer being $100, and that’s about right. The average pledge amount is $71 and the average backer pledges to 1.4 projects.
But of course the real value of a backer is so much more than money. Backers provide encouragement, support, and public validation. Their dollars have already brought more than 13,000 projects to life, with many more to come. We’re sure every creator will join us in saying: thanks to all million of you!