Survey: Kickstarter Backers

Perhaps the biggest advantage of bringing your project to a crowdfunding platform is the vibrant community of people on the lookout for the next best thing to support.

Although raising money is the main goal for the majority of campaign creators on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, receiving feedback from early adopters will give you the chance to shape your product in a way that fits market demand.

As a result, after running a crowdfunding campaign, you will have a much better idea about the features your potential customers are looking for.

The Kickstarter’s community comprises over 12 million backers, out of whom 3.8 million have supported more than a single campaign. Approximately thirty-six thousand people pledged on more than fifty projects.

Serial backers support a campaign in numerous ways: besides pledging more money, they increase the value of the supported campaigns by offering comments and by sharing the projects on their social media networks. Return backers have donated more than 65 percent of the total Kickstarter funds.

We interviewed fifty serial backers and asked their opinion about the projects they have encountered. Here is a snapshot of our respondents: 20 percent has backed over 100 projects, 74 percent - between 10 and 100 projects, and 6 percent - between five and ten projects.

These Are Some of Our Findings

•   For approximately 65 percent of serial backers, crowdfunding websites are the main source of information about new projects; for 26 percent, social media plays this role.

•   As far as the primary reasons behind backers’ support of particular projects, 78 percent responded that they wished to participate in the creation of something “cool,” and 52 percent reported that they needed the product itself.

    37 percent admitted that they were looking to get the product at a deep discount compared to its future retail price. Thirty-three percent wanted exclusivity or simply to be the first to receive the product before it is available to everyone else.

    The total surpasses 100 percent because participants were given the ability to choose up to three answers.

•   When asked about their refusal to back a project, or their reason for canceling a pledge, 67 percent mentioned a lack of emotional connection to the project, 62 percent said that they didn’t believe the project was legitimate, and another 62 percent - that they were not satisfied by the creator’s history on Kickstarter.

    Moreover, 51 percent mentioned that they changed their opinion after reading the creator’s replies to comments posted on the campaign’s page, which failed to generate sufficient trust in their ability to go all the way through with production. The total surpasses 100 percent because participants were given an option to choose up to three answers.

•    When asked about the project description, about 98 percent responded that they commonly feel the creators did not offer adequate information about the product. A mere 29 percent thought that descriptions were too long or too technically complicated. The total surpasses 100 percent because participants were given the ability to choose up to three answers.

•   More than half of the backers (52 percent) are adamant that other people didn’t influence their decision to pledge. Simultaneously, 41 percent reported being keener to back projects that had been covered by the media. 

    13 percent were influenced by the crowdfunding website’s featured projects, and 24 percent only followed their friends in backing.

    Only two respondents reported a celebrity endorsement as a good reason to back a project. The total number surpasses 100 percent because participants were given the ability to choose up to three answers.

•   After examining the backers’ geographical preconceptions, we found that although more than 50 percent reported not caring where the creator came from, 24 percent admitted to hesitate or outright refuse to support Asia-originating projects (China excluded), while 32.5 percent specifically declined to support campaigns from China.

    Since our sample comprised crowdfunding enthusiasts, it is only natural to see 28 percent of them visit Kickstarter website numerous times a day, and about 33 percent checking the site multiple times per week. 22 percent got on the site to look at projects at least once a week.


While many of the backers watch for and prefer good publicity, it is encouraging in terms of making backers want to support a project, that the media itself don’t seem to play a major role in helping new campaigns being discovered.

So, relying on publicity alone to get lots of pledges is a strategic mistake. Social media looks like it will continue to be a better place to get the attention of serial backers.  

As far as motivation is concerned, serial backers seem to be more driven by their emotions rather than their logic. Supporting a cool project or helping a person out means more to them than saving money or getting a product that solved their problems.

Almost 9 percent of the survey’s participants said that they see backing crowdfunding projects as a fun way to spend their money.

This point is a crucial element: serial backers don’t give away their trust easily. Due to a large number of projects whose creators failed to pull through or delivery was tremendously delayed, people who visit your page are interested in seeing the way you communicate with your backers, and how well you know your niche.

It matters to the backers now, whether you are thoughtful towards your prospective customers when you reply to them. Many creators fall into the trap of private responses. If you do that, you risk losing large numbers of potential backers.

Thus, take every aspect of your campaign preparation seriously. Make sure that your project’s page looks professional. Use many images and reply to comments in a timely and courteous fashion.

Ensure that you can deliver a great-quality product without delays, to make your backers happy.