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How to research Kickstarter campaigns

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Whether you’re planning to be successful on Kickstarter or any other endeavor, it’s crucial that you research other individuals who have been successful in the same arena and what elements contributed to their success.

By researching similar Kickstarter campaigns using the steps below, you can determine the best source of pledges for your category, where you should concentrate your PR efforts, and how to best allocate your marketing budget.

Below I will analyze the Mogics Light – A Revolutionary Multi-functional Light campaign, which has shown more of a linear pledge growth model over the span of 60 days (talk about maintaining momentum!).

1. Use Kicktraq and Bitly to get an initial overview of the campaign’s analytics.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend installing the Kicktraq chrome app, which will allow you to quickly view analytics for any campaign that you come across on Kickstarter.

Mogics Light – Linear Growth Trend

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This information will give you a benchmark for your Kickstarter efforts. It seems like there was a big rush towards the end of the campaign and steady progress each day throughout the duration of the 60 days. There was an average pledge of about $1,000 per day and an average of 3 new comments added per day.

Next, you can take a look at the Bitly analytics for the Kickstarter short link by clicking the twitter share button on the project page, getting the short link, and then adding a “+” to the end, which yields “http://kck.st/1dJk91x+“.

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This information will give you an idea of where the traffic for a campaign came from and from which locations around the world.

2. Use Google To Find The PR They Attracted

By typing the title of the Kickstarter campaign into google and filtering by content type and time, you can create a media list of all the websites that a campaign managed to get on. You will also discover if the creator did any forum promotion or posted on any social bookmarking websites. I decided to search by the “custom range” of Feb 15th, 2014 to May 1, 2014 (two days after they ended).

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I’ve included some of the publications below that my search yielded.

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/mogics-light

http://innovation.uk.msn.com/tomorrow/best-new-inventions-for-march?page=5

http://www.meecouk.co.uk/news-overview.php?news_id=181

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/mogics-multi-functional-light-video-24-03-2014/

3. Research Social Sharing for the Campaign

Using KickTraq, you can get an idea of how many social shares this campaign got just from the social sharing widgets. You can also compare this to the data from the Bitly analytics in step #1.

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It shows this campaign got 407 Facebook likes and one tweet directly from the social sharing widgets. You can now try putting the campaign’s keywords into twitter advanced search and see what kind of Twitter response they received (who tweeted, how often during the campaign, etc).

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You could also put in the exact phrase “I just backed Mogics Light – A Revolutionary Multi-functional Light on…” to see which twitter accounts backed the campaign. I have blotted out the accounts for privacy purposes in the screenshot below.

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You can also check out the creator’s Facebook profile and, if the profile is public, see how frequently they were promoting the product.

4. Look Through Their Backers and Comments

By looking through their backers, you can get a sense of how many first-time Kickstarter backers they drove to the project vs. Kickstarter veterans that likely found from them from Kickstarter itself. From first glance below, it seems like they have a lot of traffic from the repeat-backer Kickstarter community. I have blotted out names/profile pictures for privacy reasons.

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As you can see, many of these backers have backed more than 20 projects. The information above will also give you a clue as to which physical demographics their backers come from. If you wanted to do a thorough job, you could copy all this information and paste it into a spreadsheet to get a complete rundown.

I’ve included an example below. It might take a few hours to sort all of the backers, but it will give you a complete picture of their campaign. Again, I have blotted out names and profile images, though this information is publicly available.

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I would also recommend looking through the campaign’s comments section, FAQ, and most popular reward tiers. This will give you an indication of what types of questions you need to anticipate, along with what the Kickstarter community actually liked about the project or video.

It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised the number of people who also miss going through the updates section, which basically functions as a blog for the campaign. You can get a sense of how the creator adapted throughout the campaign and whether or not they decided to implement stretch goals.

5. Reach Out to the Creator!

Finally, you can always reach out to the creator to gain insight into their video views, video play completion rate, and pledge sources. You could also ask whether or not they’re planning to write a Kickstarter post-mortem like these campaigns.

In addition, you could invite them to do an AMA on our forum, as we always invite successful creators to kick it forward by providing tips and advice to up-and-coming creators.

My Question for You

Did you find this post to be helpful? Let me know in a comment below.

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  • SaltyPepper Studios

    Wow, great tips! I just discovered Kicktraq which is a very useful site and tool! I will definitely take your advice to heart!

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the tips are helpful!

  • Rachel Valentine

    You always have great articles, but I just found this one extremely informative and useful to research successful campaigns in an attempt to learn their tactics. Thanks!

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks! The idea is to get a complete view of the campaign via real-time conversations (twitter), PR (google), backer conversations (comments), and consumer behavior (bitly/kicktraq). Happy to hear it’s an actionable article.

  • David Rivas

    This is a great article, I will use this information for my new startup.

    • CrowdCrux

      What’s your new startup? 😀 awesome to hear it’s helpful.

  • Anuj Kulkarni

    Hey Salvador, Have been a fan of your posts here. Our first campaign didn’t take off quite well. We set unrealistic goals and couldn’t back it up with enough marketing efforts. This article helped us analyze what went wrong and where we could improve. Now we are planning to relaunch the campaign. Thanks for the article!

  • Clif Chambliss

    Thanks Salvador. I picked up some new ways to search and analyze our campaign.

    We are hitting that mid 7-21 day lull in the middle of our campaign.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/594946424/glomtom-ergonomic-pad-will-level-up-your-gaming-ex/?ref=kicktraq

    I’ll be here a lot this week.

    Clif @8bitBass @glomtom

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad there were some practical/useful tips in the article. Hope it helps you get past your lull.

  • Hey Salvador,

    Thanks for this. Yeah, 13 days left and the pledges have died down rather alarmingly – Family and friends sharing like mad, but not many conversions to pledges. I love Klicktraq, great tip, thanks. I am now going to check out other projects similar to ours and see if I can figure out where their backing came from, and see if we can adapt our campaign to benefit from the information I come up with.

    Cheers

    Pierre

    • CrowdCrux

      Sounds like a good plan to me. Also be sure to check out which reward tiers were most popular in their projects and how many people pledged at those tiers.

  • Cool

    Hey Sal,
    Just re-read this article. We’re really at a low and can’t seem to get any traction. Have check out campaigns similar to ours but most were unsuccessful. Back to the drawing board and trying to get more press. Maybe our campaign needs something that I’m missing.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/versi/kitchen-workstation-in-bamboo-smart-assistant-and

    Cheers

    • CrowdCrux

      Have you considered reaching out to the ones that were successful to see if there is something they did that you can replicate?

  • Very helpful, Sal, as your other articles on KS campaigns have been. So far, our campaign seems to be in alignment with what you’re recommending. As with other commenters, we are slowing in the middle, but using PR to try and keep the backers coming in: http://bit.ly/rsskickstarter