The Profound Impact of Launch Day Timing on Kickstarter

23 March 2020 | 13 Comments

Does the day of the week impact your spending habits?

Specifically in regards to crowdfunding, this is a question that researcher Jun Yang is trying to answer. Jun and her coauthors have been studying millions of data points from Kickstarter as they prepare a paper focusing on some statistical anomalies. Jun works at Indiana University, but she’s visiting Washington University in St. Louis this semester, so we’ve been chatting about Kickstarter, creators, and backers.

I’ve explored launch day timing in several articles over the years, including this one in February about the “payday effect” (another article impacted by Jun’s findings). In my first article about the best day of the week to launch a project (2013), I wrote, “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.”

In my more recent article about days of the week (2018), I explored the increasing number of tabletop games that were launched on Tuesday. I proposed that more creators launch on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday if Tuesday continued to be flooded with projects.

But enough with the theories–let’s talk data! This first chart shows number of game-related projects launched on each day of the week (blue bars) and their success rate (orange trendline). While this data is just for the first half of 2019, it echoes the data for all games projects for 2017-2019.

If day of the week didn’t have an impact on project success, we would see a flat trendline (regardless of the number of projects launched that day). But that’s not the case–Tuesday launches were significantly more successful than any other day of the week.

What about overfunding? Does launch day matter for whether a project barely meets its funding goal (100%) versus raising a lot more?

Again, the data seems to indicate that game projects launched on Tuesdays typically overfund by more than projects launched on other days (though there isn’t a huge difference in overfunding between projects launched on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday).

What’s going on here? Well, let’s first mention a few types of bias that might impact this data. There are lots of different types of creators out there. Some creators extensively research Kickstarter before they launch–they back and study other projects, they read blogs like this and books like mine, and they join  crowdfunding-related Facebook groups to learn from others. Those creators are probably more likely to launch on Tuesday because of the advice they read, and on average they’re also more likely to be successful because of the time and effort they’ve put into planning for their project.

Also, as Jun mentioned to me, if you’re a game creator reading this post right now (hi!), you’re probably even more likely to launch on a Tuesday in the future. This may further flood Tuesday launches, which may eventually reduce the chances of success for all Tuesday game launches.

If you’re curious about all projects–not just games–here are the two corresponding graphs:

Tuesday is still the best for both (remember to focus on the orange trendline), but the gap between Tuesday and the next best day isn’t as wide as it is for games: There’s a 13-point gap for the success rate for games versus a 4-point gap for all projects. In fact, if we removed game projects from the equation, that trendline might flatten out quite a bit.

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Here’s the deal: Over the history of modern media, certain days of the week have been “claimed” by various industries for new launches. Movies, for example, are typically released in theaters on Friday. Video games are now often released on Friday too. (However, big movies and big video games typically avoid launching on the same exact day.)

Perhaps Tuesday is simply the day that people expect new tabletop games to launch on Kickstarter. The data seems to indicate that despite nearly double the number of Tuesday game launches compared to the next closest day, they’re still significantly more likely to fund. Our backers have spoken.

What do you think about this data? And if you’d like to weigh in as a backer, would you prefer if more or less game projects launched on Tuesday?

Thanks to Jun Yang, Jinglin Jiang, Li Liao, Regan Stevenson, and Zhengwei Wang of Indiana University and Tsinghua University for working on this paper (“Round Funding Period Heuristics and Kickstarter Campaign Success) and for sharing the results! I look forward to posting more data like this in the future.

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Leave a Comment

13 Comments on “The Profound Impact of Launch Day Timing on Kickstarter

  1. Love how you mentioned that on tuesday also more informed creators (probably better prepared ones) launched as it first came to my mind. :)
    Still it seems Tuesday rocks.
    I wonder how a study for the ending day would look like as it is the second big backer spike.

  2. Aghh…I’m planning on launching July 1st, which I initially thought was the perfect day because it’s the first of the month AND it’s a Wednesday – my logic being it avoids the Tuesday rush but still picks up some Tuesday stragglers.

    Now I’m not sure! Monday looks like the better second choice, though not by much, but the 30th feels like an awkward launch day. “July 1” is easier to remember, and feels cleaner somehow.

    Which is more important? The first of the month, or Tuesday?

  3. A lot of video games are still released on Tuesdays. The Friday release seems to have come about as a way to attract people to preordering giving them 4 days of early access, as well as maybe softening the initial server load as many games are online these days and creating a “staggering” of players. I think Tuesdays are still the main release day due to sound scan data showing that media still sells better on tuesdays when released. Tuesdays are definitely the day video games get big updates. From what I have heard from a gamestop manager Tuesday release sales numbers help stores know how many games to order for a restock on the weekend as well and when they dont release on tuesday it can cause problems for stock. My guess is that isn’t your big triple A titles though.

  4. I voted less, but that’s more a matter of personal taste because I don’t like scrolling down Kickstarter to find new projects.

    Aside from the research effect (which I think has a large impact) I would be curious as to how spending levels of campaigns break down in relation to a Tuesday launch. As has been mentioned, many of the big boys such as CMON tend to launch on a Tuesday and I wonder if because of that smaller campaigns have a better chance of funding on other days, because of the comparison. I realise it would be extremely tough to get the numbers, but it would be interesting to see if the funding percentage of campaigns that spent less on their campaigns follow the same trends.

  5. Hey Jamey. Thanks for sharing. As a creator, we’ve picked the middle of a light work week usually because it’s been easiest for us to manage/respond to while at a desk vs. being at home where family obligations require more attention.

    I’d be curious about a few things in the data if you/Jun have the ability to look deeper.

    1) Is day ending correlated to the results you’re seeing for launch date. For example, a 31-day project starting on a Tuesday and ending on a Friday might help you catch a pay-day cycle for people and sway them to back your project.

    2) Does the day of the week that the project got funded have a more equal distribution?

    3) What day of the week has gotten the most pledge $’s vs. the # of successful projects?

    4) Has anybody done detailed backer surveys on where/how people pledged that you could overlay to this same time period? I’m sure that I’ve seen some in the past, but it would be interesting to cross-reference things like the method of people pledging (mobile, desktop, etc.), where they were (at home, at work, etc.), and how frequently people pledge (i.e. Perhaps Tuesday is the day of the week that superbackers have become habituated to look for new games, and thus they overindex on Tuesday projects).

  6. Great article, Jamey! Haven’t written here in a while!

    I agree with the Tuesday flood, and tend to avoid it. Tend. I prefer launching on a Monday, but contain as many Tuesdays as possible during the campaign. CmoN or another big Kickstarter company brings backers to visit the platfform on Tuesdays, so more eyes on all projects , especially if you have a lookalike project (see “also back …”)

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