With the help of Ethan Mollick, professor at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, Pi crunched the numbers to help identify some of the factors that correlate heavily with successfully funded Kickstarter projects.
And while of course there's no guarantee of success, Pi thinks some of these findings could help potential projects meet their fundraising goals. Here are a few of her most interesting findings:
1. Set the Right Goals
Of projects that fund successfully, 25% were funded at 3% or less over their goal, and 50% raised only 10% over their goal. That means that if your project does reach its goal, it will most likely do so just barely. At the same time, however, the success rate declines as goal size increases.
- Takeaway: Set a realistic funding goal from the outset. Because even successful projects rarely overdeliver, you need to make sure your funding goal is sufficient to complete your project. But don't be greedy: The more you ask for, the less likely it is you'll meet your goal.
2. Know Your Time Frame
For an average $10,000 project, a 30-day project has a 35% chance of success, while a 60-day project has a 29% chance of success.
- Takeaway: Resist the urge to lengthen your campaign duration.
3. Know Who Your Friends Are
The number of Facebook friends you have makes a difference. For a $10,000 project, if you only have 10 Facebook friends, you've got a 9% chance of reaching your goal; even having 100 Facebook friends brings only a 20% shot at success. Having 1,000 Facebook friends means more than a 40% chance of succeeding.
- Takeaway: Cultivate a rich social network to help you reach goals.
Pi's analysis also noted that projects "featured" on Kickstarter have an 89% chance of being successful, compared to a 30% chance for projects not featured. According to Kickstarter, the staff members who decide which projects get highlighted look for projects that "use the system creatively, have compelling videos and rewards, and have a nice head of momentum behind them." But neither Kickstarter nor Pi could offer any more specific tips for potential fundraisers hoping to get featured.
Pi did say, however, that she believes that many project creators focus too much effort on creating the "perfect" campaign instead of first building a strong following.
"For me, it's akin to putting together a great dinner party with no guest list," she said in an email. "I think that any future Kickstarter, myself included, would do well to focus first on pre-launch activities such as generating buzz and cultivating a following as part of a long-term plan of attack."