Kickstats: Where Do Backers Come From?

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Introduction

One important piece to planning a Kickstarter campaign is predicting where your backers will likely come from. And I don’t mean what social media site – I mean what region of the world.

Why is It Important?

There are several reasons why it’s useful to know what countries your backers are coming from, but for a quick example, I’ll focus on shipping costs.

Since Kickstarter still counts shipping costs toward your overall funding goal (as of May 2020), not accounting for those costs can really mess up your finances. For instance, shipping a small card game within the US might cost around $8. Shipping that same game to Europe, however, will cost $23, nearly 3 times as much!

So let’s set up an example of how this might play out. For simplicity, let’s pretend that Kickstarter fees, payment processing fees, sales tax, marketing costs, etc don’t exist (what a wonderful world that would be!). You’ve done your homework and know it will cost $5,000 to manufacture your game. To reach that goal, you decide on a base pledge amount (the lowest pledge amount to get 1 copy of the game) of $20. At that price, you’ll need 250 backers to reach $5,000 in funding.

(250 backers) * ($20 pledge) = $5,000

But, you know that shipping is included when calculating your goal, so you increase it to $7,000.

(250 backers) * ($20 pledge + $8 shipping) = $7,000

So now you’re good to go, right? Not so fast – you’re assuming that shipping will be $8 no matter where you’re shipping to. What if 50 of your backers come from Europe? Setting your goal to $7,000 will make you $750 short!

(200 US backers) * ($20 pledge + $8 shipping) + (50 European backers) * ($20 pledge + $23 shipping) = $7,750

The trouble is, you don’t know how many European backers you’ll get, and then of course you have to think about backers from Canada, Japan, Australia, etc, and all of these places have different shipping costs! If you don’t at least have a reasonable estimate of this distribution you could overestimate, making your funding goal too high, or even worse, make it too low and possibly not be able to fulfill.

That’s just one reason why it’s crucial to get a good estimate for where your backers will come from.

Where Do Backers Come From?

The best way to estimate where your backers will come from is to look at other projects that are similar to yours. That information can be found in the “Community” tab of any finished campaign that had at least 10 backers. Of course, it can be tedious to do all that, so I’d like to help you out by at least giving you a general idea. Here’s a quick breakdown of where backers come from for all Kickstarter campaigns that launched and finished year-to-date (about 6800 projects).

From the above chart we can see that, on the whole, the US makes up the vast majority of backers. That percentage, however, is likely to vary quite widely based on the country of the project itself.

To help get a bit more accurate numbers, let’s break out backer counts by project country. Below is a chart showing percentage of backers by region for the top 10 most popular countries based on projects launched.

I’m Using a Distributor and/or Pledge Manager

After reading all this, you might be thinking “I’ll be using a global distributor and/or a pledge manager, so this doesn’t really apply to me.” Well, that may be true for shipping, since you can charge it separately from the original Kickstarter goal, but there are other reasons why predicting the locations of backers could be useful. For instance, what time of the day you should launch, what day of the week you should launch, or knowing what holidays to avoid are very likely dependent on what part of the world your backers are coming from. If you get a good grasp on this, then you’re already ahead of the game.

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