Kickstarter Lesson #33: The Final 48 Hours

25 April 2013 | 6 Comments

compoundedAh, the final 48 hours of a Kickstarter campaign. Those magical, legendary hours when a flood of backers realizes how awesome your project is. You’ve heard the stories about those hours: A campaign goes from 50% funded to 200% overfunded. A campaign earns $30,000 over a weekend. A campaign doubles their backers over two days.

Well, I’m hear to tell you that the final 48 hours can indeed be magical and legendary…if you do a few things right. But just like any other element of a Kickstarter project, you can’t just sit back and watch the backers roll in. A lot of hard work and key decisions go into ending strong.

The reason the final 48 hours matters is because anyone who clicked the “Remind Me” button on your project page will receive a reminder e-mail from Kickstarter with exactly 2 days to go in your project. This is a great piece of functionality, but remember that getting a backer to pledge even $1 earlier in the campaign is MUCH better than getting a backer to come back in the final 48 hours. If a backer pledges to you project on Day 1, you have 20-40 days to engage and connect with that backer. Not so much if they wait until the final day or two.

My point is, don’t rely on the final 48 hours. Every aspect of your project should be geared towards getting backers to support the project early in the campaign, not late.

There are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance to convert those “Remind Me” potential backers into financial backers after they get the reminder e-mail from Kickstarter. Some of these methods were demonstrated by the Storm Hollow campaign (nearly $40,000 raised in the final 2 days), Dungeon Roll (nearly $100,000 raises in the final 2 days), and Compounded ($40,000 raised in the final 2 days). Myth, which just ended the other day, raised over $500,000 in the final 48 hours.

  • Be fully funded: When a backer gets the reminder e-mail, they’re going to see a limited amount of information (as seen in the image on this post). There’s nothing more compelling than seeing that a project is already fully funded and that a ton of people have already backed it. When you see that, you think, “Wow, I must be missing out on something–I need to check this out.” That’s the whole point–you want people to click through that link to see what they’ve been missing.
  • Polished project page: When people click over to see your project, they should not see some bloated project page. This should be the very best version of your project page. You get one final sales pitch, and here’s your chance. You’ll probably want to rearrange your project page so the stretch goals are at the top and a few of the most compelling reasons to back the project are right below that. This is your last chance to make a first impression.
  • Stretch goals: Unlocked stretch goals are one of the top reasons that backers support a project in the final 48 hours. Remember, many of these people saw your project when it was in its infancy–they saw the basic version of what they might get. If they check back at the end of the project and see how much stuff they’re going to get at the same price, there’s a very good chance they’ll support the project. At the same time, you should have at least one stretch goal that you have yet to meet–that gives backers a sense of community and camaraderie as they band together in the final hours to try to reach it.
  • Be available and responsive: If possible, the only thing you should do for the final 48 hours of your campaign is to work on your campaign. Be there for every comment, every discussion thread. Send out multiple updates. Thank backers one by one as they pledge. Also, make sure this isn’t something you wait to do until the final 48 hours. If I arrive at a project page and only see 4 updates and 11 comments over the course of the project, I’m not going to be enthused about the creator’s ability to interact and engage. So this is something you need to demonstrate over the course of the project, and you can kick it into high gear at the end.

Good luck making your final 48 hours some of the most memorable hours of your Kickstarter campaign!

Next: The Final Hour

I would also recommend reading this data-driven post by Jeff Cornelius of the League of Gamemakers about the influx of backers (or lack thereof) during the final 48 hours of a Kickstarter campaign.

6 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #33: The Final 48 Hours

  1. Hello! I was wondering if you would be willing to change the name of this article; it’s essentially a guide on milking more money out of an already successful project, and is of almost no use to someone who’s been struggling throughout their project and is just looking for advice on how to meet their goal. It’s basically saying, “if you’ve done well, continue to do well” rather than, “this is what you should do in the final forty-eight hours”, which is what I was looking for.

    1. Chesu: Thanks for your comment. I have a few different responses, but the first is that I appreciate the reminder that I need to write more about struggling projects. Over 50% of Kickstarter projects fail, so I need to keep that in mind as I write these Kickstarter Lessons.

      Second, since we’re talking about semantics, I don’t think “milking more money” is the best way to look at successful projects at any time during a campaign. When a project overfunds, it’s not like ever dollar over the funding goal is extra money that they project creator is squeezing out of old and new backers. Those funds go towards making the project even more awesome for everyone. I know it may not be fun for you to look at successful projects when yours is struggling to fund, but I would recommend that you dig deeper into why you cast those projects in a negative light (the word “milking” has a negative connotation).

      Third, you’re absolutely correct that it really helps if you’ve already funded your project when you go into the final 48 hours. As I wrote in the update above, people want to be a part of a success, so if a project hasn’t funded by the time backers get the 48-hour reminder e-mail, their perception will be impacted. The takeaway here is that you want to do everything in your power to fund the project–even if you barely reach the goal–BEFORE that email goes out.

      Fourth, my remaining points apply to projects that have and have not funded by the time you reach the final 48 hours. Polished project page? Absolutely. This is even MORE important for a project that hasn’t funded, because there’s a good chance that something on your project page (whether it’s the wording, visuals, video, or reward levels) that hasn’t been good enough for people to back it. Here’s your chance to fix that. Stretch goals? Definitely. Even if a project hasn’t funded, people don’t just want to reach the goal–they want more! They want a reason to share the project with others. For a project that hasn’t funded by that point, you might even realign one of those stretch goals with the funding goal and promote that realignment on the main project image: “Now with twice the dice!” Do something eye-catching and exciting. As for being available and responsive, of course that applies to both funded and unfunded projects. Why wouldn’t it?

      My point is that the title of this post is applicable to all types of projects. There isn’t a magic button that turns an unfunded project into a funded one, but if you look at all of the Kickstarter Lessons that precede this one on my master list (https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/), you’ll see that there are a ton of things you can do to help your project along the way. Good luck!

  2. Jamey,

    I was amazed by the burst of backers I recieved 30 minutes ago and once again, you were the only one to explain the situation. Does this really take 2 days? I’m getting like 1 backer / minute. I’m really shocked.

    Thank you

  3. A lot of people return to check out the project in the last 48 hours. If you’ve done your job well and maintained the project page to be ready for those backers (and it sounds like you have), there’s a good chance they’ll back it at this point. The final few hours will likely be quite intense, so make sure you can be by the computer talking to backers during that time.

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