Kickstarter Lesson #9: Timing and Length

7 February 2013 | 54 Comments

We’re going to talk about timing here so you can plan ahead for the project, but it’s important to note that after Kickstarter has approved your campaign, you can adjust the length and then launch it whenever you want. So you’re not locked into anything based on when you submit your project for approval.

Time of Year

I’ve been watching Kickstarter for about three years, and I don’t think the success of projects are tied to the time of the year at all. Maybe your particular project is, but it’s very rare.

Much more important than the timing of the Kickstarter campaign is the timing of the manufacturing and fulfillment process. Do you want your backers to get their rewards by a certain date? Christmas is the big one, but your project might be tied to some other holiday or event. Make sure that you leave some buffer room for manufacturing and shipping so you can follow through on your promise.

Also, consider your personal schedule. I wouldn’t recommend doing order fulfillment yourself, but if you’re going to do that, figure out a time when you aren’t needed at work, and then plan backwards from there. Always add buffer time on each stage–for the graphic design, the art, the manufacturing, the shipping–don’t be greedy about time, but incorporate worst case scenarios into your estimate so that you can put the most accurate date on your rewards.

Project Launch

Time of Month

Even though backer credit cards aren’t charged until the campaign is over, people still feel a little wealthier on payday, so plan on launching your project around the 1st or 15th of the month.

Day of the Week

I’ve seen various opinions on this, but here’s mine: launch on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I’m sure this changes from industry to industry, but my perception of those days is that people have some downtime at work after catching up on accumulated tasks on Monday and frantically finishing all their work on Friday.

Time of Day

Launch in the morning, but remember that morning for you is not morning for everyone. The key is that you want as many people as possible to see your project on the “Recently Launched” section of Kickstarter. So if your main audience is in the US, I would aim for a 10:00 or 11:00 am EST launch time. Maybe even noon. That way you’re getting people on the east coast during their lunch break, people on the west coast while they’re eating oatmeal at their desks, and people in St. Louis (that’s me!) who are having their mid-morning snacks. (I’m starting to wonder if all I think people do at work is eat. I think I do more than that…)

Also, this is big: Take the day off work! Trust me, you aren’t going to be able to focus on anything but Kickstarter on launch day. I’ll talk more about this later, but leave time to thank your early adopter backers (I believe in thanking ALL backers individually, but the very least you can do is thank those first few people).

Project End

Time of Month

You’re going to get an influx of backers in the final 48 hours (this isn’t a given, but if your project has evolved over time and looks fantastic by the end, many of the people that clicked the “Remind Me” button will be compelled to join in the fun at the end), so the timing for this is key. Again, it can’t hurt to aim for payday. But I think it’s more important that you pick a day when people are likely to be home.

That said, this is where you’ll choose the length of your project. Here’s my take:

  • timingIf you are a first-time project creator, run a 35-day campaign. That gives more people a chance to discover your project, and more time for you to get it right. You’ll need the extra time.
  • If this isn’t your first rodeo, run a 25-30 day campaign. You’ve probably honed your skills and are more prepared this time around, so you can shave off a week from your first project. Hopefully you’ll still capture the majority of people who want to support you, and by saving a week on the project, that’s one week you’ll save on production. My only hesitation with this timeframe is that you really don’t know what types of unexpected press you’ll get during your campaign. A local magazine may want to run an article about you, but if your project isn’t long enough, you might not make their production schedule. So gauge that based on how much work you do in advance of the project to spread the word.
  • If you’re a serial creator with a built-in fanbase, run a 15-25 day campaign. That’s a pretty broad range, but it depends largely on the type of project and how completed it is. If it’s 85% complete and you’re looking for lots of feedback, run a 25-day campaign. If the product is finalized, aim for 15-20 days. For an established creator, the vast majority of existing fans will know about the campaign on the first day. You want to leave it open for new fans to discover it, but most of the hype surrounding the project will hit in the first few days instead of being spread out over the campaign like other projects.

Day of the Week/Time of Day

Personally, I had Viticulture end on a Sunday at midnight, and I think it was the right call. I think that some projects–even very successful projects–end quietly. That wasn’t the case with Viticulture, and I hope it’s not the case with yours. I think a lot of people were actually hanging out on the Kickstarter page, commenting and watching the numbers rise in the final hour. There was a true sense of community and camaraderie around it, and that’s not going to be possible if your project ends on a work day or a Friday/Saturday night. Maybe there’s a weekday night that could work, but I don’t think most people are doing anything on Sunday night.


As you can tell, this isn’t an exact science, and it doesn’t need to be. These are just a few things to consider. If you put yourself in the shoes of a backer, try to figure out when they are most likely to discover your project or be there at the end. Make it about them and you’ll do just fine.

If you have any thoughts on timing, I’d love to hear them. Can you think of any projects that started or ended at a particularly effective time?

Also see my KS Lesson about coordinating staggered launch and end dates for tabletop projects.

Also see this retrospective entry about my Tuscany Kickstarter campaign for notes on this subject.

One more: There’s a great, data-driven post from Got Genius Games about this subject here.

Up Next: Kickstarter Lesson #10: The Taste Test

Leave a Comment

54 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #9: Timing and Length

  1. Excellent read. I did notice campaigns ending on Sunday and assuming most people are home on this day i do think it’s a good decision.

    I just want to add that lately, I’ve seen some creators saying they are having difficulties with funding just because their campaign is at the same time with some of the big publishers.

    I don’t know if this should be another thing to concider when deciding on the time for launch. Would be good to hear some thoughts on this.

  2. I wanted to ask how you feel about launching on a Tuesday for a smaller project? It seems that Tuesday has become the accepted “best day to launch”, thanks in part to posts like this, but I repeatedly see good small projects that would do really well on quieter days like Friday being squashed out by the big launches on a Tuesday. What value do you think there might be to being a big fish in a small pond?

      1. I started at the first article and I’m working my way forward, so I’ll get there. What is annoying is that now I’ve got to go back over to check all my comments for your comments because your comments were going to my spam folder. I’ll catch you up eventually.

  3. “If you are a first-time project creator, run a 35-day campaign”

    This was very good advice. I don’t know if I’m going to need the extra week in the end, but I feel calmer knowing how much time is still left.

  4. I’ve been wondering a great deal about which month would be the best to launch. I was hoping to find a “Stats say that ____ month is the best to launch your campaign in” kind of response, but of course things aren’t that cut and dry.

    I’ve seen some research from ICO Partners ( ) that showed there was always more funding in the second half of the year compared to the first.

    I think I will be ready to launch my campaign first of next year, but contemplating pushing a few months to be in the second half of the year in hopes of attracting more backers. Would love to hear your thoughts Jamey. Thanks!

      1. Why is that? And is December really THAT bad? We are currently preparing the launch of a campaign for a Christmas-themed horror movie on December 1, and it would feel kind of weird to push it back to January, when no one is going to be in a „festive“ mood anymore… Also, I would tend to think that close to and shortly after Christmas, potential backers would have free time and money on their hands?

        1. You’re certainly welcome to try! The problem with December campaigns is that it’s a time of year when people spend money on things they can receive (and give) within a few weeks of making their pledge–they’re not thinking about the far future.

          1. Thanks for your reply. Well, I guess we’ll have to take that risk and see what happens. And at least our campaign will not end in December but in January, maybe that will help ;)

          2. Just a quick update, our DEATHCEMBER December campaign did in fact pull through, it just finished this Tuesday night with about 109%… but it was a hard ride, that’s for sure 😄

            Anyway, thanks a LOT for all your valuable input, it certainly helped us enormously in our first-ever Kickstarter campaign!

            In case you want to have a look:

  5. As we plan on launching our Kickstater for Kingdoms Lawn Game in July and ending in August, I’d love to hear thoughts about launching a few days after the 4th of July? I worry that people may be out at the Lake, or out-of-town, or have lighter wallets to spend on Kickstarter campaigns after buying fireworks, food, etc. for a 4th of July party.

    On the other end, what are your thoughts about ending a campaign a few days after GENCON? My wife and I had intentions on attending this year’s GENCON, but the funding is just not in the budget for the space required to play Kingdoms Lawn Game. And after reading Gut Shot Games experience with HEAD hunters game at GENCON, I’m not sure a booth would be worth the investment.

    We have considered advertising at GENCON, such as a program book ad or signage, but not sure of the return on investment.

    So, should we end our campaign a few weeks before GENCON or try and create buzz at GENCON to feed the campaign? Thanks everyone

    – Denny

    1. Denny: Thanks for your question. First, I like that you’re launching during the summer, as that’s when people are most likely to be thinking about lawn games. In that regard, launching a few days after July 4 seems very clever. I would definitely choose that over a date that corresponds with Gen Con.

      1. Thanks for the input Jamey. We decided to launch in the summer after reading about the “Coolest Cooler” and their experience with launching in the summer vs the winter. As you mentioned, summer is the time when people are thinking about/playing lawn games.

        Now, here’s an interesting question? Should I try and launch the game in the tabletop category of Kickstarter- which is larger and has more traffic? In many ways, I consider Kingdoms Lawn Game to be a table-top game variant for the outdoors, or as one person said last week, this is lawn “RISK”!

  6. Jamey, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, being in Australia. My game’s largest audience is going to be in the US, but my biggest fans are in the AU.

    So 12noon EST means 2am my time. Which is great for that initial US burst, but no good for getting my biggest fans active early. One of the other creators suggested 6am EST, to get my fans involved at 8pm my time, and make sure when the US woke up and saw my project, it would already have a bunch of funding.

    Still weighing up the options, but I suspect it will take much more reading. I would love to hear your and others’ opinions on this dilemma though.

  7. I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending-part of kickstarters. You recommend people to try to aim near payday – but different countries has different paydays and different systems to – some get weekly pay, some monthly and so on.
    Would you say it is important to look up paydays for different countries before deciding on end-date? Should the 7-day-window kickstarter offers to complete transactions be taking into account when considering best end-date?
    I hava (as a backer) used it at times (many American projects tend do end 6-9 days before my paycheck) to be able to back some really interesting projects I wouldn’t otherwise afford but are people using/aware of it put into a bigger perspective or does a miss of pay-day-date by 2-3 days result in a lot of drop-outs?

    1. Jessica: That’s a good point about how different countries have different paydays. Given that you can’t meet that demand for every country, I would suggest just using US paydays (US backers will likely be at least 50% of your backer base if you’re in the US).

      “Should the 7-day-window kickstarter offers to complete transactions be taking into account when considering best end-date?” –Perhaps, but it doesn’t really matter much, because most people use a credit card on Kickstarter, not liquid cash (like a debit card). It’s more of a psychological thing–you feel rich when you get paid.

  8. I back and look at Kickstarter a lot. When I get the newsletter links or someone sends me a link to a game, I often throw on the 48 hour reminder if I don’t have time to check it out. I do most everything through my work email as it’s easiest to keep up and not miss anything. The job is mostly M-F 8-5. The problem I run into is when projects end on Sunday. I get the reminder late on Friday and if I’m not on email over the weekend, I don’t see the reminder until Monday when it’s too late. I’m definitely creating my own problem here but I have a feeling others might be in the same boat. Thanks.

  9. Hi Juma: Good question. It was due to other reasons–there was a game convention a few days later over the weekend when a number of gamers would be busy. Basically, we wanted to choose a time when as many people as possible would be available to pledge.

  10. Hey Jamey,

    thank you for your awesome insights. The Euphoria KS was later than this article, and ended on a Thursday. Did you change your mind about ending on a Sunday or was it due to other reasons? During our “Pretty Ugly Card Game” KS weekends were much slower than weekdays …

    Thank you and greetings from Berlin,

    1. Nicole–Thanks for your thoughts. I could see that holidays could impact the momentum of a project, especially at the very beginning or the end. I would actually think that having a holiday in the middle of a campaign wouldn’t make that big of a difference in the long run–that’s a pretty normal time for pledges to slow down a bit.

  11. Love your Kickstarter topics on the blog, very nice….
    I’m fairly long in my campaign development (about 14-21 days from launch I believe). But still, it’s so nice to get inputs and feel you’re not the only one with those thoughts :D

    Keep up the fantastic work,

    Best regards Emil, SunTzuGames

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