Kickstats: What’s the Best Time of Day to Launch?

Photo by Yours Truly 😉

Introduction

So we know the best day to launch on Kickstarter, but what about the best time? That’s what we’re tackling in this post. So let’s get to it!

Arguments

Many people think the time you launch your Kickstarter campaign should focus around America’s Eastern Time Zone. What that means is that they usually recommend launching around 12:00 pm EST. I think catering to that time zone makes sense, since the majority of Kickstarter backers come from the US, and the majority of the US lives in that time zone, or one hour off from that.

The main question I have, however, is: “Why noon?”

Well, the thought is that it hits both coasts of the US at optimal times. For the West Coast, the project launches just as they’re getting up or starting work. For the East Coast, it launches right at the beginning of their lunch breaks. Either way, your project will hopefully be right at the top of the “Recently Launched” section when they view Kickstarter.

I think it’s worth considering alternative times, however. I’ve known quite a few people who go to work early so they can start the day slowly: drink some coffee, answer emails, browse the internet, etc. They don’t really start getting into their work until a little later in the morning, and then they do more of a “working lunch”. If you launched at noon, they might completely miss you!

And what about the people that don’t work your standard desk job? Many of them start and end work later in the day. Their peak time might be noon, but maybe not, it’s hard to say.

Then, of course, there’s international creators, which are an entirely different story. A large chunk of your early backers will be friends and family, and typically that means people in your own time zone. So for international creators, maybe it would be better to cater the launch to your own time zone rather than to the US? Or maybe it doesn’t really matter either way.

Perhaps the data can help us figure out an answer.

Analysis

As always, let’s first look at the raw numbers.

According to the raw numbers, 10:00 – not noon – is the best time to launch on Kickstarter. Of course, by now we should all know that raw numbers are often misleading. So let’s take a look at some possible confounding variables.

Lurking Variables

Guaranteed Successes

Much like with the best day to launch, mega campaigns seem to love launching at 11:00 am, give or take an hour. The trouble is that those campaigns could launch at 2:00 am and still fund within minutes! The fact that they favor the late morning so much only makes that time look better than it actually is. So we’ll definitely need to account for that.

Guaranteed Failures

Late morning also seems to have a lower number of Kickstarter campaigns that are virtually guaranteed to fail. Since these campaigns would likely have failed to fund no matter what time of day they launched, we should account for them as well.

In case you’re thinking that late morning has fewer guaranteed failures precisely because it’s a better time to launch, my response is that you might be right. However, I personally believe it’s because creators that do their research tend to launch around 11:00 (due to heeding conventional wisdom), which pushes down the number of poorly-researched campaigns relative to the whole. So it’s not as much that there are fewer low-end campaigns, but that there are more decent campaigns which are crowding that time of day.

I could be wrong, but that’s my thoughts on it, and I think it’s a reasonable enough view to try adjusting for it.

First-Time Creators

Another common variable we account for is percentage of first-time creators. Since first-timers have lower success rates than their veteran counterparts, it makes sense that we’d want to see if they cluster around any particular time of day.

And it looks like mid-day campaigns tend to have fewer first-time creators than Kickstarter campaigns that launch at other times of the day. I’m not exactly sure why that would be, but we should account for it either way.

Tabletop Game Campaigns

As we’ve mentioned several times before, success rates vary widely between categories. Unfortunately, there are just too many campaigns to be able to account for all of them. One that we can account for, however, is Tabletop Games. Since the Tabletop Games category is the largest and among the most successful categories on Kickstarter, it would be wise to see if they favor any particular time of day as well.

Tabletop Games also seem to favor late-morning launches, although there are also a decent amount launching early morning as well. Either way, the difference between morning and evening is more than enough to suggest that we should account for this too.

US-Based Campaigns

Lastly, we can’t possibly do this analysis justice without considering that the majority of campaigns come from the US. If we say that a particular time of day in the Eastern Time Zone is best to launch, it could just be because a huge number of campaigns happen to come from that time zone. So let’s see how much the US favors particular times of days.

Not surprisingly, US-based campaigns greatly favor certain times of day. Since the US is such a large contributor to Kickstarter campaigns, we need to level the playing field for international campaigns.

Results

That was a good number of possible confounding variables we identified. Let’s see how accounting for them changed our results.

It looks like early- to mid-morning takes the lead, regardless of where you’re from! Campaigns that launch between 7:00 am and 10:59 am (EST) tend to see better results. I’m also a bit surprised that that time range is recognizably better than noon, which is the time that conventional wisdom says you should launch.

Although 7:00 am appears to be the best, it’s important to note that the confidence interval for that time (the purple shaded region) overlaps the intervals for 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00, so we cannot say with confidence that it is better than those times. We can, however, say that it’s better than pretty much another other time of day.

So, my official recommendation is to launch your Kickstarter campaign between 7:00 am and 10:59 am Eastern Standard Time.

What do you think?

Did these results surprise you? What do you think of the jump from 6:00 am to 7:00? Do you think there’s any other factors that might be affecting the analysis? Let me know in the comments!

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