How are Kickstarter Perks Really Distributed?

    One of the biggest issues with crowdfunding in general is that so many of our best practices and truisms are based on observation. But the thing with observation is that it’s bound by biases and small sample sizes and all sorts of other problems.

    Add to that an influx of “experts” entering the spere to tell you how you should do things and what you get is a lot of really bad information. Even the accurate information is “bad”, as it hasn’t been properly vetted.

    It’s kind of ridiculously stupid, especially when you consider just how vital this advice is to how we get our films made.

    Even the campaigns that people talk about as being good campaigns aren’t that good. Hell, a lot of them are pretty terrible.

    So what I wanted to get was more information. It’s one thing to have 20 campaigns and figure out how you should plan your perks. But wouldn’t it be better to have 100? Or 500? Or all of them?

    So, with help from Steve Harshfield, I’ve been entering Kickstarter campaigns into a form, logging every successful campaign from November 2011 until 2 days ago (also, there’s September of 2011), so see what really makes them tick.

    Here’s some numbers. It should update as more are added. Perks are grouped, when needed, into the correct bin (i.e. $25 perks include anything in the $20-$35 range).

    Early thoughts:

    + Documentaries don’t draw better than Narrative films. On the contrary, they do worse.

    + Is it easier to attract backers if your film is in the can? Not really.

    + The most popular perk level is clearly $25, right? Wrong. The most popular perk level is the DVD. When the DVD is, say, at $50, the spike in the graph is at $50, almost without fail.

    + The $750 perk is dead. So dead.

    + Campaigns that don’t offer a single digit perk actually raise slightly less money than those that do, but they average 24 fewer backers. So by starting at $10, you’re pretty much telling 24 people you don’t want them around.

    + If you’re thinking, “We need $20k, but we want to make sure we don’t come up empty, so we’ll ask for $10k and try to go way over…”, it isn’t going to work. You’ll almost always end up below $12k.

    At some point, I’m going to log more of these, but this should at least give you a better starting point for your next campaign.