Statistics from the Tuscany Kickstarter Project

1 May 2014 | 44 Comments

Just like I did for Euphoria last July, I’m here with full statistics from the Tuscany Kickstarter campaign. My hope is that you will find these statistics useful when planning your Kickstarter project. Please keep in mind that these totals are probably going to be very different from a first-time campaign, but the percentages might still apply. Also, I’ll dig deeper into the numbers in the commentary after each graphic–while hard data is helpful, it can also be misleading.

Let’s start off with a quick overview of the final numbers from Tuscany, according to Kickstarter:

Tuscany_overview

In comparison, Euphoria raised $309,495 (2,063% of the goal) from 4,765 backers in the same amount of time. So the total funding went up, largely because the key entry point for Tuscany was $79 or $99 (both of which gave backers Viticulture and Tuscany since Viticulture is needed to play the Tuscany expansion pack), whereas the price points for Euphoria were $49 and $59. The average pledge amount for Tuscany was $103, while the average for Euphoria was $65.

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Next I’d like to share some overall backer data by location. I’m able to offer this for the majority of backers because I sent out the backer survey on the same night that the Tuscany campaign ended. Generally I would discourage doing that, but I like to start working with that data right away. It’s been 3 weeks since the campaign ended, and out of 4,333 backers, only 38 remain who haven’t filled out the survey.

Also, I let backers continue to add onto their pledge at Kickstarter prices through the end of April (yesterday), and I also let non-backers pre-order the limited editions of the games at higher prices through that date. All of that data is included in the chart below.

Tuscany_shipping_data

I compiled this a little differently than Euphoria because there were a lot more options on Tuscany–it’s simpler to calculate the total pledge amount.

If you compare these to the Euphoria stats, you can see some key differences. The first is the number of backers in Asia. For Euphoria, the total percentage of backers in Asia was 1%. It’s up to 4.5% for Tuscany, which I correlate to the decrease in cost for shipping to Asia thanks to 4px (see this post about shipping).

I also have a new arrangement with a fulfillment company in Australia that helped me dropped the shipping price there, increasing the percentage of backers in Australia/New Zealand from 1.15% to 3.39%. I’ll write more about that after I can truly vouch for it, but I’m confident it will work smoothly.

The percentage of backers in Western EU went down from 12.59% to 8.9%. Again, I attribute to shipping costs. Shipping to the EU for Euphoria was “free,” but in reality, I should have charged a little bit for backers not in Great Britain and Germany. I did that for Tuscany, and the numbers went down. That’s a bit of a dramatic drop for $9 in shipping and no customs costs–perhaps I spoiled those backers the first time around. :)

At the bottom of the chart you can see a comparison in number of backers in the US, Canada, and other international locations between Viticulture, Euphoria, and Tuscany. I’m glad to see that we continue to trend towards a 50/50 split between the US and the rest of the world–shipping makes a big difference. Perhaps if our games were more language-independent, we might attract even more international backers.

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Thanks to Kicktraq, we have some great daily data to share:

Tuscany_Kicktraq

This data is really interesting to me because it shows a new type of bell curve: It’s heavily weighted towards the front of the project because we had such a huge outpouring of support on Day 1. I’d much rather have backers support the project from Day 1 instead of waiting for the reminder e-mail at the tail end of the project, but it’s good to know that we should expect lower numbers of backers in the final 48 hours.

I think this data also shows that we probably could have run a shorter campaign. Based on the flow of the project (surveys, updates, etc), I think it could have been a 3-week campaign instead of a 4-week process. We might explore that in the future. I would continue to recommend 30-40 day campaigns for first-time creators, because it’s going to be quite a learning process.

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Tuscany_videoOur Euphoria project video had 19,235 plays, with 43.34% of those plays completed. Tuscany’s video had a significant decrease in plays, as well as a decrease in plays completed (which is a shame, because my cat has an awesome cameo at the end).

So what’s going on here? I think part of it is that Euphoria tells a story, and it was a brand-new commodity. A lot of people know what Viticulture is and they know who we are, so they didn’t need to watch a video to back the project.

But I do wonder if there’s something else in play here. The video was short–just over 2 minutes–which I think is the right length. Any ideas on why the video stats were down?

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Tuscany_backer_originsI didn’t do this for Euphoria, but I asked Tuscany backers to share with me their connection to Stonemaier Games. The results are really interesting to me, and I appreciate that so many backers took the time to answer this question.

Notable is that there are a large number of return backers. This is a good thing–it tells me that our backers/customers are happy with their Stonemaier Games experience, and they’re returning for more.

It’s also great to see that there are quite a few backers who backer the project partially based on reputation even though they haven’t backed our projects in the past. And it’s equally good to see that we’re still attracting new backers who had never heard of us before.

Last, it means a lot to me personally that people who have found value in my Kickstarter Lessons blog or my consultation decided to support the project in some way. As you know, this is all free content, but it takes a lot of time to write three entries a week, so seeing some level of reciprocation was nice to see.

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Last we have Kickstarter’s breakdown of where backers came from. I’ll highlight some key points/contrasts here, and you can see the full chart below that. Note that all rows highlighted in green cite Kickstarter as the primary referrer:

  • For Euphoria, approximately 66% of backers discovered the project through Kickstarter. For Tuscany, that number dropped to 48%. That’s a very, very good thing–that means that we are less reliant on Kickstarter as a marketing platform than ever before (unlike our first two projects, Kickstarter never mentioned Tuscany in any of their publications or staff/featured lists).
  • I waited a little over 2 weeks into the Tuscany campaign before I put any advertising on Board Game Geek (BGG). Up until that point, exactly 179 people backed Tuscany after clicking through the Tuscany page on BGG (i.e., not advertising) for a total of about $18,000 in funding. Then I launched an ad on BGG for $700 and attracted the other $12,500 in funding. That’s a great return on investment.
  • An increasingly important site you should be aware of is Shut Up & Sit Down. Though we didn’t ask for it, SUSD reviewed Viticulture during the Tuscany campaign, resulting in $5,841 in pledges. That’s significant. It also happens to be a great website. As I mentioned before, Kicktraq is also a major site for Kickstarter discovery–many would say that it’s actually easier to find Kickstarter projects on Kicktraq than on Kickstarter.
  • It’s hard to find the impact of Tuscany’s prototype reviewers on the campaign, but I’m confident that quite a few backers discovered Tuscany through those reviewers or at least were able to make an informed decision thanks to those reviewers. Third party reviewers are incredibly important to the Kickstarter ecosystem.
  • Last, the Miniature Market line item is intriguing to me. Miniature Market is an online retailer located in St. Louis, and they’re one of the bigger online retailers (their Alexa ranking is 129,890, compared to Cool Stuff’s 64,415 or BGG’s 4,788 [the lower, the better]). We had a big ad on their homepage for most of the campaign, so I’m a little surprised that it only brought in 15 backers based on the Kickstarter data.

Tuscany_full_stats

 

If you have any questions about this data, feel free to ask. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this data, and if you’re a project creator, feel free to compare these percentages to your project if it might help other creators.

44 Comments on “Statistics from the Tuscany Kickstarter Project

  1. I was just looking over your Kicktraq data yesterday. I guess I should have waited a day. It’s interesting to see the dip in pledges in the middle of the week and the up-turns nearer the weekends. I compared your campaign with several others last night and they were all the same. I was a bit insecure about the Wednesday activity on my project. :-)

    1. That’s a keen observation. I actually expected the opposite–I thought we’d see a dip on the weekends since people are busier then. As a result, I tried to launch new initiatives right before the weekend (like the BGG ad or a reason to upgrade a pledge).

      1. I think Sunday is actually one of the busiest days on Kickstarter, as far as pledging is concerned, based on the data I have from the campaigns I’ve run.

  2. Maybe your data is skewed a bit then? Hm. Regardless, I think the weekend is the right time for the pushes. People might be more busy, but they also have more personal time to spend on social media sharing your project.

  3. Hi Jamey,

    You stated ‘the lower the better’ when talking about the Alexa ratings but Miniature Market’s rating is the highest of the three quoted?

    Personally speaking, if I was looking at an online retailer, I’d be thinking about games already available, rather than those to pre-order. Perhaps that’s a factor in the low conversion rate from their website?

    1. Phil: That’s correct. But there are almost a billion websites, so 129k is pretty darn good. :) I think you might be right about people’s motivations when visiting online retailers, hence the low conversion rate.

  4. Chiming in as a new backer who hadn’t known about the Euphoria KS and bought that game mid-Tuscany, it was Rahdo’s gameplay video that sold me. As a wine enthusiast, the theme already intrigued me but seeing gameplay is what gets me to back a game. That you and the Stonemeier ambassadors made the overall experience so great was a wonderful bonus. Now having backed over 30 projects, I can say with confidence that your attention to detail and transparency with the backers are the gold standard for Kickstarter.

    1. Thanks for your input and compliments, Ian. This was the first prototype I’ve sent to Rahdo, and I really appreciate him sharing his enthusiasm for Tuscany with people (even though he didn’t exactly play it like I hope people will play it!)

  5. Regarding the project video, it’s something I watch more and more rarely as a campaign backer. I’ll invariably watch it for a first-time project creator, but if it’s for a project from a creator with whom I’m already familiar, and I’m already interested in the game based off the campaign page itself, there’s a decent chance I’ll skip the video altogether.

      1. I used a professional model and production company the second time around and kept it around the 2-minute mark, but didn’t notice an increase in percentage of completed plays. I’ve also been informally keeping tabs through a lot of the Kickstarter communities and the general consensus seems to be that the project video is less vital than it used to be, at least for tabletop campaigns. The more important video to focus on is the gameplay video.

        Again, no hard data other than various project creators I know reporting a drop in overall video plays, so this is anecdotal. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the video statistics for all tabletop campaigns.

        Some backers take the initial video seriously and as the main pitch, though, so it’s still worth putting forth your best foot forward.

  6. “I think it could have been a 3-week campaign instead of a 4-week process. We might explore that in the future. I would continue to recommend 30-40 day campaigns for first-time creators, because it’s going to be quite a learning process.”

    I think that it’s a natural progression that the more well known any company is, the shorter the campaigns can be. At first, you need a little longer to be sure to get the attention of as many people as possible, but once you’ve had a couple of successes already, the majority of those interested will find about it through newsletters/bgg/etc anyway.

    Scale of the project is important too. A big fat miniatures game that costs $100 needs a longer period so people can prepare from a money point of view. $40 however, and it’s only the ‘Do they know about it’ that’s important.

    Just a few thoughts =) To be honest I think you could do a 3 day campaign and have all the success you need, so long as you market it well before the launch (Theoretically, as I don’t really think something that short is a good idea ^^).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris. I think that’s an excellent assessment of project length. The upcoming Treasure Chest campaign will be a short one–around 2 weeks–so we’ll definitely test these waters to see how it works out.

    2. Yeah a 30-day project pretty much guarantees (for people paid monthly) that the pledge will come out of the following month’s pay check, if you see the project on launch. Which gives time to put the money aside.

  7. Totally agree with Nicholas. I am watching less and less videos as all the info is alredy available on text. Only relevant information on the video is if you want to know the creator or if there is more art showed there than in the proyect page, wich I guess is not the idea.

  8. I will only watch videos on KS from first time creators to see how “legitimate” things look. I’ll never watch videos on BGG. They are such a huge time sink. Just give me the info in text please, so I can scan it at leisure and decide for myself how much time to spend reading. With videos, you’re forced to sit through X amount of time before you can decide whether you’ll get anything out of it. The whole “Video Review” thing obviously works for many people, but my time is limited and valuable, so they are a no go for me.

  9. Despite their recent heavy emphasis on board gaming, Miniature Market’s gaming core audience has always been miniatures players first. Their customer base seems to be growing and diversifying though as they have a really wide selection of gaming products, and they have the biggest discounts that attract heavy boardgame buyers. I’ve gotten nothing but great service form them and am switching over to them from CoolStuff for most of my purchases.

    1. Zenmaster: I agree with you–I rarely watch project videos. As for Miniature Market, that’s a good point about miniatures (after all, it’s in their name). They did have a prominent mention of Tuscany in their e-newsletter, which could have brought in a number of backers that Kickstarter can’t track. I’m quite happy that they’re located locally!

  10. I rarely watch the intro videos any more. Echoing Nicholas, once a person is familiar with Kickstarter and has backed a few projects, the video becomes one of the least important aspects of the campaign. I will occasionally watch a gameplay video, but that is only if it is for an unknown game that I haven’t seen pitched anywhere and the play style isn’t clearly defined on the campaign page.

    For people new to Kickstarter or those who haven’t backed a lot of projects, I think the video can be important. But for me, I skip to about the middle of the page, looking for the first real images of components. I want to know how finished the game looks; how polished it seems. Then, if the game has my interest, I look at the stretch goals. And last, I look at the pledge levels. All of these have to line up or at least make sense to me. Of the last ten projects I backed, I only watched 2 of the intro videos.

    Regarding intro videos, I actually find myself watching them a lot more for campaigns that I know are going to fail. Guess I’m just curious where their head was.

    1. That’s an interesting analysis about the last 10 projects you backed. That sounds in line with the way I approach projects too. For some reason I’m finding myself watching project videos only if I think they will immerse me in the theme deeper than the content on the project page. In those regards, I particularly like the video for the Banner Saga.

    2. I’ve been wondering about this for a while too as I rarely watch intro videos anymore.

      I had been thinking about making the intro video a brief thematic intro (15 – 20 seconds) followed by a gameplay teaser (2 mins?).

      Now I’m worried many people will just assume its yet another intro to my dream video and skip it altogether.

      I guess you could have the vid say [your game name]: Theme & Gameplay Teaser or something?

      Anyone seen good example of this?

  11. I somehow stumbled upon a review for Viticulture, which “happened” to show up during the Tuscany KS. After reading some reviews of Viticulture and seeing the care towards Tuscany, backing was an easy decision. Since then I’ve gone to back a dozen more projects (and decided against many, many more). I think the main questions I ask now when deciding whether to pledge or not are:

    – does this project look polished? I don’t expect completion, but if it looks like a high school hobby I probably won’t back
    – does the creator effectively communicate? Kickstarter is inherently about risk, but if I have to guess if the game is fun or relevant to my interests then I’ll just wait to see if they’re successful and read reviews later. I also think clarity in presentation belies organization in thought and process, but that might just be an internal bias.
    – what am I getting and at what cost? The only remaining question is value and I prefer add-ons or better components that improve my gameplay, but if the art is really interesting I might spring for frameable prints (the Pocono Playing Cards come to mind for this).

    Jamie, I appreciate all of the posts and lessons learned. The Girl and I write and illustrate children’s books and we toy with doing a KS of our own, but more than anything the knowledge appeals to the logistics/number-cruncher in me.

  12. Remember “Lies. Damned Lies and Statistics” My first thought on the percentage drop in the EU is that the increase in percentage from Asia and Australia have to come from somewhere. Percentages are a zero sum game in this instance. You only get 100% to work with. Every increase causes a decrease somewhere else. Did the actual numbers of EU backers go down?

    1. You can compare the stats to those for Euphoria (though it’s not an exact comparison, given that both projects had different numbers of backers). Backer totals on Tuscany as compared to Euphoria went down for Great Britain, down for Germany, way down for Western EU, and slightly down for Central EU.

  13. Hey Jamey!

    In terms of how long your project is, I thought you might be interested in a campaign I saw and backed for Dig Down Dwarf. He ran a 16 day campaign where you could get the game at $16, so he used it as a bit of a hook. But the numbers he drew and the constant support with the crazy end surge was just incredible, and had over 1002% funding.

    I’m wondering if the super long campaigns are as necessary, maybe at a minimum for smaller games like this with a bit of a resume. The very limited time there was to pledge I think brought a lot more people in instead of them saying “It has 30 days to go, it can wait” and forgetting about it and it was able to hit stretch goals faster and keep the momentum and excitement up a lot because of it.

    What do you think?

    1. Eric: Thanks for your comment. I think there were a lot of factors beyond the short campaign that played into the success of Dig Down Dwarf, but I agree with your observation that a shorter campaign might prompt backers to act right away instead of wait. I only encourage this for repeat creators, not first-timers, as a first-time creator really needs that extra time to learn the ropes (I continue to learn every time I run a project too, but I think each campaign gets a little more refined than the next).

  14. Thanks yet again for sharing these ever useful stats Jamey.

    All up you have nearly 9% of backers from Western Europe.

    I’m wondering if you can share a more specific breakdown of backer numbers / percentages from countries in Western Europe that are not the Great Britain or Germany.

    I think it would be interesting data for KS project managers to see the stats for Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries etc.

    I imagine the degrees of comfort playing english only KS games varies across these countries along with the market size.

    1. Kim: Thanks for your question. For Tuscany, here are the number of backers for those countries:

      Spain: 27
      Portugal: 9
      France: 60
      Italy: 40
      Greece: 6
      Netherlands: 62
      Belgium: 50
      Denmark: 34
      Finland: 21
      Sweden: 46

      1. Thanks Jamey,

        Here are those raw numbers for Western European backers (with Great Britain and Germany included), converted to percentages and ranked highest to lowest if anyone needs them:

        Great Britain: 314 / 7.2%
        Germany: 293 / 6.7%
        Netherlands: 62 / 1.4%
        France: 60 / 1.4%
        Belgium: 50 / 1.2%
        Sweden: 46 / 1%
        Italy: 40 / .9%
        Denmark: 34 / .7%
        Spain: 27 / .6%
        Finland: 21 / .5%
        Portugal: 9 / .2%
        Greece: 6 / .1%

        Based on these figures and your Central and non EU Europe stats we can assume all other European countries are fractions of 1 percent.

  15. Hey Jamey! Thank you so much for all the advice! I really appreciate you taking time to share all of your learnings and important lessons for Kickstarter! :)

    I have a question, I’m using 4px for shipping my board game too. Which is better to use, DHL or Fedex? And were there any other hidden fees aside from the raw numbers they give? I was talking to 4px, and they have additional fees such as Fuel Surcharge for shipping, so I’m kinda worried if those hidden costs in shipping will bloat the shipping cost overall.

    1. Hi Charles, thanks for your question. For 4px, the best courier really depends on the location and the package weight. I found it somewhat difficult to determine this (the site is in Chinese), so I relied on their customer service to help determine the best method for each destination. There might be hidden fees, but you can get them out in the open up front by asking for exact, all-inclusive quotes. I can’t say that they’re the easiest to work with due to the language barrier, so it’s good that you’ve already started communicating with them to get a feel for that.

  16. Jamey, maybe i’ve missed this in previous blogs, but I can’t seem to recall reading it or finding it anywhere. How many retail copy orders of Tuscany did you receive while running your Kickstarter campaign? I know you specifically posted for retailers to contact you, I’m just wondering about the volume at which you received as “pre-orders”.

    Also, how many retail orders have you received since the funding completed. I’m just looking for some estimates on the percentage of retail orders you’re seeing over backed project orders.

    1. Jared: So the question is, how many copies of Tuscany did retailers order at a bulk discount during the Tuscany campaign? (The second question about retail orders after the campaign doesn’t really apply–we don’t sell Kickstarter copies after the campaign, so at that point retailers just wait to order when the game is released). The answer to the first question is around 1300 copies.

  17. Sorry for not being more clear in my second post Jamey. I was wondering after the Kickstarter campaign was released, and you were/are selling the retail version of the game now, how many you have sold, and how many you still have stock to sell.

    I am trying to estimate how many copies of the game you’ve had ordered directly from Kickstarter, and how many copies you’re ordering/producing after the campaign for retail sales.

    I have heard from retailers that sometimes games get the majority of their orders from Kickstarter, and then only a small amount of additional sales come from retailers buying more copies.

    In the event someone were to have a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign like Tuscany, how many additional copies they should anticipate being ordered for retail sales basically so they don’t “run out” of copies and have to put in another large bulk order, and just plan ahead basically.

    I know that’s not an exact science, but that’s why I was trying to get those numbers from you to look at percentages. Hopefully this was better elaborated than the last post. Sorry Again.

    1. Jared: Thanks for the clarification. We are still accepting pre-orders for Tuscany through our website, but they’re just pre-orders (we don’t have any in stock yet). The vast majority were ordered through Kickstarter, but I’m ordering a bunch more to sell to retailers when the game is released in November.

      I’m going to dig deeper into that assertion from retailers; I suspect it isn’t true for high quality games. Even a super successful project on Kickstarter may only reach a few thousand backers; compare that to the millions of gamers worldwide.

      It’s really hard to anticipate distributor and retailer demand post Kickstarter. Perhaps it’s better to speak in actual numbers here. For Euphoria, 5700 units were allocated to Kickstarter backers, and we ordered another 3300 units for distributors and retailers.

      As you said, though, this isn’t an exact science. You’ll be limited by your budget, and your decision will be based on how risk averse you are. Obviously ordering more copies will reduce your manufacturing cost per unit, so that’s a big factor.

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