Trends in Pricing and Duration

Share this post

A couple of weeks ago we linked to Craig Mod’s gorgeous and thorough breakdown of his Kickstarter project Art Space Tokyo. In the post Craig sampled other popular projects on Kickstarter, and explained how their choices and outcomes affected the way he constructed his project. Craig also offers some advice on optimal pricing and project length to future project creators. We were intrigued and impressed by Craig’s research and conclusions, and we’ve now compiled data from our entire database to see how it holds up. Let’s dig in.

Reward Popularity and Power

In sampling the Top 20 grossing successful projects, Craig observed that $50 rewards appeared to dominate — accounting for almost 25% of all revenue to the projects he sampled. We were curious whether this would hold true across the site, so to compare Craig’s observations with our own data, we sampled rewards from all successful projects.

Looking at the totality of successful projects, $50 rewards make up 11.44% of aggregate dollars pledged versus Craig’s hypothesized 25% — though it is the second largest tier. $100 rewards are the highest-grossing level, representing 16.36% of collected pledge dollars despite ranking fourth in reward popularity.

But pledges aren’t just about dollars raised. Take the $25 level. Though it only represents 8.14% of aggregate dollars pledged, it’s actually the most popular reward tier, representing 18.41% of all rewards chosen (the tallest blue bar above). $50 reward pledges make up 13.57% of all backings.

The lower priced levels are also significant. Reward tiers under $25 constitute a combined 38% of pledges and 10% of dollars raised on Kickstarter. $10 rewards are the third-most popular (ninth in dollar contributions to the site), and $5 rewards are the sixth-most popular (17th in dollar contributions).

In his report, Craig argues that lower tiers are “statistically insignificant” and that creators should avoid them. Without launching a batch of fake identical projects, it is impossible to determine whether lower priced rewards cannibalize demand for higher priced ones. That said, we’ve always been confident that sub-$25 rewards offer an affordable way to get more people involved in a project, and this data does not change our mind. Remember, additional backers don’t only offer additional money, they also spread the word.

Here’s the table of the top 30 most popular reward tiers, with their contributions to the site’s dollars and aggregate pledge totals:

Reward Minimum Percent Pledges Percent Dollars
$25 18.41% 8.14%
$50 13.57% 11.44%
$10 12.12% 2.82%
$100 9.52% 16.36%
$20 8.41% 3.01%
$5 6.37% 1.07%
$15 5.62% 1.71%
$30 4.22% 2.2%
$1 2.43% 0.53%
$35 2.25% 1.31%
$75 1.94% 2.51%
$40 1.63% 1.14%
$250 1.26% 5.43%
$500 0.99% 8.46%
$150 0.97% 2.52%
$200 0.83% 2.81%
$60 0.73% 0.74%
$12 0.6% 0.15%
$1000 0.46% 8.51%
$45 0.41% 0.3%
$125 0.32% 0.76%
$300 0.31% 1.78%
$65 0.28% 0.31%
$29 0.26% 0.13%
$55 0.2% 0.19%
$80 0.15% 0.22%
$70 0.13% 0.18%
$350 0.1% 0.59%
$101 0.09% 0.2%
$99 0.09% 0.15%

The Trough

When Craig examined his project, he noticed that it dragged during the middle of the campaign. Craig called this period the “Dead Zone”; we call it the trough. When a project first launches, there’s an immediate spike of activity as the creator starts spreading the word. And as a project nears its deadline, there’s another spike as two things happen: 1. the creator and backers promote the project to make sure it’s funded or that their friends get in before the end, and 2. people who’ve been sitting on the sidelines (but meaning to pledge) finally jump in before the bell rings.

In the above graph, I’ve plotted five different duration-classes of successful projects as distinguished by their duration. (Projects tend to pick durations around common milestones — 30 days, 45 days, and so on. To be more inclusive I used a rounding function to group different projects within 2.5 days of the milestones.)

What’s most significant about this graph is how uniform the shape of the curve is for all project durations. Most projects will get that burst of interest in the beginning and end — the middle is up to the creator to maintain momentum, typically through press, events, and other promotions.

That’s the shape that successful projects take. But how big a factor is a project’s duration?

Project Duration Choice and Success

Finding the optimal project duration, if it exists, has been a topic of much discussion at Kickstarter HQ.

For the above graph, I pulled data on project durations and compiled it into a probability density function plot. The X axis represents a project’s duration, and the Y axis represents the relative popularity (or to be more precise: the probability that a random successful or unsuccessful project will fall into that space) of that duration. The data is split into two factors, green representing successful projects and red representing unsuccessful projects.

As you can see, successful project creators choose a 30-day duration most frequently, while unsuccessful projects most frequently choose 45 and 90-day (the max allowed) durations. There are some causation/correlation issues here. The graph does not mean that a project’s chosen duration will influence its eventual success, but it does tell us something about who chooses what.

Anecdotally, we’ve found that 30-day projects tend to be created by people who are more optimistic about their chances, and who stay engaged in recruiting new backers and activity to their project. Conversely, people who choose a longer duration are less confident, and are operating under the mindset that longer is automatically better. But we find that more time doesn’t create better chances of success. We recommend a 30-day duration as sufficient to maximize the burst of activity at the beginning and end, and still have a small trough where you can regroup or allow some momentum to build. In the end, it’s the Internet, things spread fast — even 30 days is a long time.

Thanks!

We want to thank Craig Mod for taking the time to create his beautiful report (which if you haven’t read by now, you absolutely should). The Kickstarter team had a lot of fun reviewing and discussing his findings, and it gave us this great opportunity to share more of those with you, our community.

We’re always eager to learn more about how Kickstarter works, and every new project is a chance to learn more. If you’ve done any of your own research, or just have a good question you want answered, let us know!

Comments
    1. Simply Amazinc, LLC on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    2. Frank Tudor on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    3. The Picket Project on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    4. BandedSociety US on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    5. Qwanz on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    6. Ed Dean on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    7. Rob Hallifax on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    8. Vo Viet Anh on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    9. Missing avatar

      Daniel on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    10. Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    11. ali taufik on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    12. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    13. Harish Kumar on

      This person has canceled their pledge.

    14. Missing avatar

      dfhfz on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

Line icon alert icon Artboard Copy 8 arrow-down icon arrow-down arrow-left icon arrow-left arrow-point-left icon Fill 1 Copy 5 arrow-point-right icon Fill 1 arrow-right icon arrow-right arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right copy bar-chart icon Artboard Copy 6 bell icon Combined Shape Copy 5 book icon Artboard Copy 3 bookmark icon Fill 1 brand-assets icon Artboard Copy 13 cart icon Artboard Copy 4 chat icon chat check icon Fill 1 Copy 6 circle-back icon Fill 1 Copy 13 circle-forward icon Fill 1 Copy 16 circle-k icon circle-k circle-left icon circle-left circle-right icon circle-right clipboard icon Artboard Copy 12 clock icon Combined Shape close icon close closed-caption icon Fill 1 compass icon Combined Shape Copy 2 conversion icon conversion delta-down icon Fill 1 delta-left icon delta-right icon Fill 1 delta-up icon Fill 1 duplicate icon duplicate embed icon Combined Shape Copy 6 eye icon Combined Shape Copy 12 facebook-contained icon Facebook Contained facebook icon Facebook logo flag icon Fill 1 Copy 3 gear icon Fill 1 Copy 14 global-africa icon Fill 1 Copy 9 global-america icon Fill 1 Copy 10 global-asia icon Fill 1 Copy 17 graph-bar icon Combined Shape Copy 9 graph-line icon Combined Shape Copy 16 heart icon Fill 1 Copy 8 help icon human icon icon--human icon--activity-feed.kds icon icon--add-heading.kds icon icon--advanced-analytics.kds icon icon--alarm icon icon--alarm icon--alert icon icon--alert icon--alt-text.kds icon icon--arrow-down.kds icon icon--arrow-down icon icon--arrow-down icon--arrow-left-2 icon icon--arrow-left.kds icon icon--arrow-left icon icon--arrow-left icon--arrow-right.kds icon icon--arrow-right icon icon--arrow-right icon--arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right icon--arrow-up.kds icon icon--arrow-up icon icon--arrow-up icon--backer-badge icon icon--backer-badge icon--bar-graph.kds icon icon--bell.kds icon icon--bell icon icon--bell icon--bold.kds icon icon--bolt.kds icon icon--bolt icon icon--bolt icon--bookmark-filled.kds icon icon--bookmark-outline icon icon--bookmark-outline icon--bookmark.kds icon icon--bookmark icon icon--bookmark icon--bulleted-list.kds icon icon--calculator icon icon--calculator icon--calendar-check icon icon--calendar-check icon--calendar.kds icon icon--calendar.sm.kds icon icon--calendar icon icon--calendar icon--campaign-outline icon icon--campaign-outline icon--caption.kds icon icon--captions.kds icon icon--cart.kds icon icon--category.kds icon icon--category.sm.kds icon icon--chat.kds icon icon--check.kds icon icon--check.sm.kds icon icon--check icon icon--check icon--chevron-down.kds icon icon--chevron-down.sm.kds icon icon--chevron-down icon icon--chevron-down icon--chevron-left.kds icon icon--chevron-left.sm.kds icon icon--chevron-left icon icon--chevron-left icon--chevron-right.kds icon icon--chevron-right.sm.kds icon icon--chevron-right icon icon--chevron-right icon--chevron-up.kds icon icon--chevron-up.sm.kds icon icon--chevron-up icon icon--chevron-up icon--circle-around.kds icon icon--circle-around icon icon--circle-around icon--circle-back icon icon--circle-back icon--circle-backward.kds icon icon--circle-check icon icon--circle-empty icon icon--circle-forward.kds icon icon--circle-forward icon icon--circle-forward icon--circle-loader icon Page 1 icon--circle.kds icon icon--circle icon icon--clipboard icon icon--clipboard icon--clock.kds icon icon--clock.sm.kds icon icon--clock icon icon--clock icon--close.kds icon icon--close.sm.kds icon icon--closed-caption icon icon--closed-caption icon--code icon icon--code icon--collapse.kds icon icon--collapse icon icon--collapse icon--commissions icon icon--commissions icon--compass icon icon--compass icon--confirmation icon icon--confirmation icon--conversion.kds icon icon--conversion icon icon-conversion icon--copy.kds icon icon--cpu icon icon--credit-card.kds icon icon--credit-card icon icon--cross icon icon--cross icon--curve-right icon icon--curve-right icon--date-and-time.kds icon icon--date-and-time.sm.kds icon icon--delta-down icon icon--delta-down icon--delta-left icon icon--delta-left icon--delta-right icon icon--delta-right icon--delta-up icon icon--delta-up icon--download.kds icon icon--download icon icon--download icon--drag.kds icon icon--edit.kds icon icon--ellipsis.kds icon icon--ellipsis icon icon--error.kds icon icon--error.sm.kds icon icon--expand.kds icon icon--expand icon icon--expand icon--external.kds icon icon--external.sm.kds icon icon--external icon icon--external icon--eye icon icon--eye icon--facebook icon icon--facebook icon--filter icon icon--filter icon--filters.kds icon icon--flag-outline icon icon--flag.kds icon icon--flag.sm.kds icon icon--flag icon icon--flag icon--forward-fund icon icon--frown-filled icon icon--frown icon icon--fulfillment.kds icon icon--gear icon icon--gear icon--globe-africa icon icon--globe-africa icon--globe-america icon icon--globe-america icon--globe-asia icon icon--globe-asia icon--globe.kds icon icon--graph-bar icon icon--graph-bar icon--graph-line icon icon--graph-line icon--hamburger.kds icon icon--hamburger icon icon--happy-filled icon icon--happy icon icon--header-anchor icon icon--heading.kds icon icon--heading icon icon--heart-filled.kds icon icon--heart-filled.sm.kds icon icon--heart-outline icon icon--heart outline icon--heart-thin-outline icon Fill 1 icon--heart.kds icon icon--heart.sm.kds icon icon--heart icon icon--heart icon--heartstrings-and-hardbacks icon icon--hide.kds icon icon--home-with-door icon icon--home.kds icon icon--home icon icon--home icon--human.kds icon icon--human.sm.kds icon icon--human icon icon--human icon--humans.kds icon icon--humans icon icon--humans icon--image.kds icon icon--image icon icon--image icon--inbox.kds icon icon--inbox icon icon--inbox icon--indeterminate icon icon--info.kds icon icon--info.sm.kds icon icon--info icon icon--info icon--instagram icon icon/instagram icon--intermediate.kds icon icon--intermediate.sm.kds icon icon--italic.kds icon icon--late-pledges.kds icon icon--late-pledges.sm.kds icon icon--lightbulb.kds icon icon--lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb icon--line-graph.kds icon icon--link.kds icon icon--link icon icon--link icon--location.kds icon icon--location.sm.kds icon icon--lock-black-bg icon lock-icon icon--lock icon icon--lock icon--locked.kds icon icon--locked.sm.kds icon icon--log-out.kds icon icon--long-story-short icon icon--mail icon icon--mail icon--make-100 icon icon--media-embed.kds icon icon--meh-filled icon icon--meh icon icon--menu icon icon--menu icon--message.kds icon icon--message icon icon--message icon--milestone-dfm icon icon--milestone-idea icon icon--milestone-preprod icon icon--milestone-prod icon icon--milestone-proof-of-concept icon icon--milestone-working-prototype icon icon--minus.kds icon icon--mobile.kds icon icon--mobile icon icon--mobile icon--mute.kds icon icon--numbered-list.kds icon icon--order-management.kds icon icon--overflow icon icon--overflow icon--pause.kds icon icon--pause icon icon--pause icon--pencil icon icon--pencil icon--pie-chart icon icon--pin.kds icon icon--pin icon icon--pin icon--pinterest icon icon--pinterest icon--play-filled.kds icon icon--play.kds icon icon--play icon icon--play icon--pledges.kds icon icon--plus-human.kds icon icon--plus-human icon icon--plus-human icon--plus.kds icon icon--plus icon icon--plus icon--prohibit icon icon--prohibit icon--prohibited.kds icon icon--project-budget icon icon--project-we-love icon icon--pull-quote icon icon--pull-quote icon--pullquote.kds icon icon--question-filled icon icon--question-filled icon--question.kds icon icon--question icon icon--question icon--reorder icon icon-reorder icon--reply.kds icon icon--reply icon icon--reply icon--reward.kds icon icon--reward.sm.kds icon icon--reward icon icon--save icon icon--save icon--saved icon icon--saved icon--search.kds icon icon--search icon icon--search icon--section-break icon icon--section-break icon--sentiment-neutral-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-neutral.kds icon icon--sentiment-satisfied-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-satisfied.kds icon icon--sentiment-unsatisfied-filled.kds icon icon--sentiment-unsatisfied.kds icon icon--settings.kds icon icon--shipping.kds icon icon--show.kds icon icon--small-k icon icon--sound-hi icon icon--sound-hi icon--sound-lo icon icon--sound-lo icon--sound-mute icon icon--sound-mute icon--spinner.kds icon icon--star-outline icon Star Outline icon--star.kds icon icon--star.sm.kds icon icon--star icon icon--star icon--stopwatch.kds icon icon--subtitles-captions icon icon--subtitles-captions icon--success.kds icon icon--success.sm.kds icon icon--survey-multiple-choice.kds icon icon--survey-open-text.kds icon icon--survey-single-choice.kds icon icon--survey.kds icon icon--tax-documents.kds icon icon--text-bold icon icon--text-bold icon--text-bullet icon icon--text-bullet icon--text-italic icon icon--text-italic icon--textalign-centered icon icon--textalign-centered icon--textalign-right icon icon--textalign-right icon--thumbs-down icon icon--thumbs-down icon--thumbs-up icon icon--thumbs-up icon--thumbsdown-outline icon icon--thumbsdown-outline icon--thumbsup-outline icon icon--thumbsup-outline icon--timeline-to-do.kds icon icon--trash.kds icon icon--trash icon icon--trash icon--tumblr icon icon--tumblr icon--twitter icon icon--twitter icon--unlink.kds icon icon--unlink icon Artboard icon--unlock icon icon--unlock icon--unlocked.kds icon icon--unlocked.sm.kds icon icon--update-freeform-round icon icon--update-freeform-round icon--update-freeform icon icon--update-freeform icon--update-pinned icon Artboard icon--update-qa-round icon icon--update-qa-round icon--update-qa icon icon--update-qa icon--upload.kds icon icon--upload icon icon--upload icon--video.kds icon icon--video icon icon--video icon--volume-down.kds icon icon--volume-up.kds icon icon--warning.kds icon icon--warning.sm.kds icon icon--warning icon icon--witchstarter icon icon--youtube icon icon--youtube icon--zine-quest icon icon-imagealign-center icon icon-imagealign-center icon-imagealign-left icon icon-imagealign-left icon-imagealign-right icon icon-imagealign-right info icon Combined Shape Copy instagram icon instagram copy kickstarter icon Artboard Copy 5 leaf icon leaf lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb link icon Combined Shape Copy 8 loading-spin icon lock icon Combined Shape Copy 4 mail icon Combined Shape map-pin icon Fill 1 menu icon Group message icon Fill 1 Copy 12 mobile icon Page 1 Copy 2 pause icon pause copy pencil icon Combined Shape Copy 3 pin icon Combined Shape Copy 11 pinterest icon pinterest play icon play copy plus-human icon icon--plus-human plus icon Fill 1 Copy 7 question icon Combined Shape Copy 14 search icon Fill 1 Copy 11 shapeshift icon share icon Fill 1 Copy slash icon solid-arrow icon solid-arrow sound-hi icon Combined Shape sound-lo icon Combined Shape sound-mute icon Combined Shape star icon Fill 1 Copy 2 stopwatch icon Group 2 thumbs-up icon Shape tools icon Shape trash icon Combined Shape tumblr icon tumblr copy twitter icon twitter copy user icon Artboard Copy 10 volume-up icon Artboard Copy 9 warning icon Combined Shape Copy 10 write icon Artboard Copy 11 x icon Fill 1 Copy 4 youtube icon Combined Shape