I’m Excited About BackerTracker

5 April 2019 | 21 Comments

A few days ago I learned from creator Gil Hova about a Kickstarter tool that I had never heard of. It’s run by BackerKit, and it’s called BackerTracker.

The basic idea is that you can look up any Kickstarter project and see a fairly accurate trendline as to the total amount the project will raise by the end of the campaign.

BackerTracker’s trendline seem to be based on a wealth of data and a core understanding that the first few days of a Kickstarter campaign aren’t indicative of all other days. This helps a creator have realistic expectations about their projects. In fact, whenever I launched Kickstarter projects, I would disable my Kicktraq Chrome extension during the campaign, as it was giving me delusions of grandeur.

Accurate trend tools also prevent backers from dismissing a project if the trendline makes it seem like the project will vastly overfund (“They must not need my help.”) I could also see it helping on projects that are trending towards successfully funding despite a slower start.

If you use Chrome, I highly recommend installing the BackerTracker extension. While I will certainly continue to use Kicktraq’s website, the precision of the BackerTracker trendline is more compelling for me.

For example, below you’ll see the current Kicktraq chart for the Tantrum House season 6 campaign. It’s showing that the campaign is trending towards $68,135 because of the strong launch day.

Since the first day, however, the campaign has raised about $2k, $1k, and another $2k. That’s still great, though it means that Kickstraq’s $68,135 trend is likely off by a significant amount. It’s much more likely that the BackerTracker trend of $25,668 will be close to the final amount, as shown below:

As both Kicktraq and BackerTracker will probably point out, trends are not predictions. But that doesn’t stop creators or backers from treating them as such. That’s why I’m advocating the use of BackerTracker today.

Are there other reasons why you think accuracy matters to creators and backers in regards to statistical tools like these? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

[Update: Alert reader Ivo mentioned another service called BiggerCake that I also hadn’t heard of. They actually do make a prediction about the campaign results, and they also offer a Chrome extension.]

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21 Comments on “I’m Excited About BackerTracker

  1. Great post as always, Jamey!

    Another alternative is http://www.tabletopanalytics.com. I registered to have marked/saved campaigns, total sum of creators’ backers and funds, the only thing is it started at a later date so the deep numbers are from 2017 and up. Also its Dashboard hit me like a rock; didn’t know Solo anc Coop counted as a mechanic, but they are favored in Kickstarter platform.

  2. A game I designed is currently on Kickstarter in its second day of the campaign. The difference between the Kicktraq projection and the BackerTracker projection is so enormous I’m inclined to simply ignore both. Kicktraq feels much more off the mark than BackerTracker, as I have no delusion of reaching that number, but BackerTracker also feels very conservative based my past experiences. I do feel that having both is interesting, but not meaningful.

    1. I don’t think you’re going to get useful data after one day from most tools! After 3 days, BackerTracker should be in the ballpark, and after a week, it’ll be pretty solid (with the caveat that it’s extrapolating from data, not predicting the future).

      Congrats on Papillon’s success, by the way! I saw the prototype when I was in San Francisco, and it looks as gorgeous as I was hoping.

  3. After many attempts of creating a simple accurate formula, I was successful. I’ve tested it on old projects and new projects, it is fairly accurate for a ballpark figure. It just needs 2 pieces of data.
    The amount raised on day 1 and day 2 (which can found on kicktraq).

    Here is my formula:
    Result A = Day#1 + Day#2 + Day#2
    Total = Result A x 2

    Lets try it on Scythe:

    573,236 + 159,339 + 159,339 = 891,914

    891,914 x 2 = 1,783,828

    Prediction: $1,783,828
    Actual: $1,810,295

  4. I recently started using Bigger Cake and it’s certainly been interesting to see how trends inform funding. Maybe I’ll give this one a spin and compare. would love to hear your thoughts on Bigger Cake by comparison to all the above listed options.

  5. Thanks for the shout-out, Jamey! BackerTracker was a huge help to me during High Rise as well. About 3 days into the campaign, it had us pegged at finishing at about $52k, and that trend estimate didn’t waver all that much. And we did finish right around that funding level. I also had good experience with its trending estimates during my previous Bad Medicine campaign, so I feel like I can trust BackerTracker (with the understanding that it can only extrapolate data, not tell the future).

    I found its data useful in other ways. There was one point, mid-campaign, where I noticed my BackerTracker trending very close to $50k. That spurred me to add some new campaign pledge levels, which brought the trend back to $52k. So I found its data not only accurate, but actionable!

    One more note: KickTraq is still extremely useful at knowing what’s hot on Kickstarter now, and their advertising platform is very, very good. The last thing I want to do is throw shade on them! My hope is that they can use all the data they’ve accumulated to make KickTraq’s trending estimates closer to BackerTracker’s in terms of reliability.

  6. I used this article to compare Tsukuyumi, which is already running for over 2 weeks, with the 3 mentioned platforms, which is currently at 410K.

    Quite interesting that all have different results.

    Trending 602K (493K – 711K)
    https://www.backerkit.com/projects/152730994/tsukuyumi-full-moon-down

    Trending 513K, Projection 454K – 519K
    https://www.kicktraq.com/projects/152730994/tsukuyumi-full-moon-down/#chart-exp-projection

    Prediction 491K
    https://www.biggercake.com/projects/152730994/tsukuyumi-full-moon-down

    The Mentioned (Day1+2*Day2)*2 = 397.812
    So this is lower than the current pledge amount.

    My own Guessing Method is 3*(Day1+Day2) = 459.321
    which is in the range of the low projection from kickstarter

    My own guessing method is based on the observation that most crowdfunding has a bathtub curve
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve
    So my assumption is that they gather 1/3 in the first days, 1/3 in the last days and 1/3 inbetween.

    1. I’m sure with 1 or 2 weeks of data the others are much better than mine. Mine is only useful after just 2 days of data to give a reasonable and conservative estimate. The others tend to be way off with just 2 or 3 days data and get better as the weeks pass.

      I like how your formula is quicker, works out at 1.7m for Scythe. I will test it out on some more historical projects and switch to your formula if it’s more accurate. Thanks.

  7. I’ve used BackerTracker for a while. I like it during a campaign, but after a campaign ends you no longer get to see your progress vs the model. The model disappears from the graphs. So it is much less useful after the campaign ends. It just show you what you already know.

    One advantage of Kicktraq is that it allows you to see the trending line even after a campaign is over. That’s nice when you want to review older Kickstarter data.

    Kicktraq is using linear extrapolation for their trend. That’s a really bad way of looking at the campaign unless you are about 50% of the way through. BackerTracker is clearly using a model that factors in the Big 1st 48 and Last 48 hours of a campaign. No surprise that it will be better.

    The suggestion of Bigger Cake looks interesting. Unfortunately it appears my older campaigns aren’t on Better Cake so I can’t compare them to the others. But, I’ll keep this one in mind for my next campaign.

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