Kickstarter Lesson #21: Kicktraq

14 March 2013 | 7 Comments

Many of you have heard of Kicktraq and know all about it. If so, this post might not add much value. But I don’t want to assume that everyone knows about Kicktraq–honestly, probably only a small percentage of people do. (That in itself is a good reminder for all of use Kickstarter creators–don’t assume that your backers know Kickstarter terminology, resources, and etiquette as well as you do.)

Kicktraq is the brainchild of Adam Clark, who happens to be on Stonemaier Games’ advisory board (I asked him if we could occasionally pick his brain, because if he’s brilliant enough to come up with Kicktraq, his is a brain worth picking). Kicktraq creates a graph for every Kickstarter project based the growth and evolution of other projects to predict how well every project will do. The graph is free, easy to embed, and surprisingly accurate.

Adam did something really cool with Kicktraq in that he designed it so you never actually have to go to Kicktraq’s website. You can install a Kicktraq plugin on any browser (search your browser’s plugin/extension list) so that when you go to a project page on Kickstarter, the graph will automatically appear on the page. It will completely change the way you look at Kickstarter.

Based on what I heard on Richard Bliss’ “Funding the Dream” podcast, the earliest time you can look at a Kicktraq chart and get an accurate read is about 9 days into a project. It makes sense–projects often either start slow or with a huge influx of backers, then they slowly creep up day by day, level out, or occasionally have big jumps. Day 9 gives you clarity on the true trend.

For example, the Veronica Mars movie project that launched last night has already raised more than $3 million. Kicktraq predicts the project will end up making a total of $49 million over the next month. Clearly that won’t happen. But check back on day 9 and you’ll see a very accurate projection.

That’s something to keep in mind when you’re looking at your own project’s Kicktraq. I would almost recommend not looking at it at all, because at times it’ll look like your project is going to make a BILLION DOLLARS. Especially early on. Also, if your project is doing well, you can’t just sit back and assume it’s going to continue doing well. The success of Kickstarter projects is directly correlated to the amount of work you put into them. There is no coasting. If you go a few days with no backers, look at Kicktraq then to inspire yourself to get back to work.

If you’re reading post in a feed, pop on over to the real website, because we just launched the redesigned site today. Let me know what you think. And if there are any uses of Kickstarter I’m forgetting, feel free to comment on them as well.

Next: The Money-Back Guarantee and Trust


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7 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #21: Kicktraq

  1. Thank you for the succinct summary Adam and Jamey. Admittedly, Kicktraq was one of the last things I have researched in the last two years of prepping for my kickstarter campaign, but you both provide important numbers for the industry and the Kickstarter community, even if during the campaign the focus should be on the individuals.

    In some ways, I think Kicktraq plays a bigger role for industry analysts and publishers visioning for future projects, as the creator of the campaign has to much skin in the game to analyze the numbers objectively without having memories of the campaign biasing their interpretation.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. So, what is the advantage of using kicktraq? It never gave me useful, actionable information, it just made me overconfident at the beginning, nervous in the middle, and then at the end it was just not telling me anything kickstarter didn’t.

    What have you gotten out of it?

    1. Thomas: That’s a good question. For the most part, I just think it’s important for project creators to be aware of it. But I also found it very helpful to make sure my projects were on the trajectory I wanted them to be on. Kicktraq ended up be startlingly accurate for Euphoria based on its projection on Day 9 of the project.

    2. Thomas,

      From a project owner’s perspective, the most efficient use of Kicktraq is pre-campaign for research. That effort will pay off in spades. Things like finding out about who’s writing about similar projects, or typical funding ranges and success/fail ratios can tell you a lot if you’re campaign could be asking too much.

      During the campaign, if vast changes worry you, please don’t check Kicktraq everyday. It’s not an effective tool to manage stress and worry, it is however a good tool to get a sense of the direction of the campaign at any given moment. It’s also a great tool for your backers to help advocate for your project, especially things like the mini chart which gives them all a daily goal to try and reach to get you every closer to the final finish line.

      If you’re looking for a crystal ball, don’t bother with the trend chart, it’s a straight linear trajectory and it’s too volatile and most project owners put way too much emphasis on what it shows. However, if you want a chart to give you more of that, check the projection cone after day 6. It’s a much better indicator for actual projections of a range.

      The other per-day charts like comments per day, pledges per day, backers per day — give you a much better sense of things as a project owner. However, crowdfunding can be wildly unpredictable, and just as you don’t check a windsock for what the weather may be like tomorrow, it does give you the direction the wind is blowing today and helps you see the impact of events like reviews, articles, posts on BGG, etc.

      Also, send us your news! The best thing we do for folks is getting eyeballs on your project. The best way for us to do that is for you to tell us who is writing about you as soon as you come across a link. We also aggregate lots of data to potential backers that also are passionate about tracking things.

      Hope that helps!
      – Adam

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