Apr 042012


If you’re lucky, your kickstarter campaign will have a day like our most recent Tuesday.

This is the sort of day that “isn’t supposed to happen” in the normal life-cycle of a main sequence kickstarter. Many kickstarters start out with a big opening-day spike that can play out over about three days, then they level off for most of the campaign, then they see a big spike on the final three days.

While we’ve had a good track record so far of upward movement on our graph, the kind of spike we had on April 3rd — at the start of the third week — is more of a rarity, unless something comes along that really points a lot of traffic your way (celebrity shout-outs, for example, or strong coverage on a popular media site). All in all, it was the second strongest day in our campaign, full stop, even including the first three days.

Date Backers Backer Gain Pledges Pledge Gain
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 159 159  $6,442.00  $6,442.00
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 221 62  $9,130.00  $2,688.00
Thursday, March 22, 2012 297 76  $11,674.00  $2,544.00
Friday, March 23, 2012 344 47  $13,009.00  $1,335.00
Saturday, March 24, 2012 373 29  $13,955.00  $946.00
Sunday, March 25, 2012 402 29  $14,632.00  $677.00
Monday, March 26, 2012 427 25  $15,315.00  $683.00
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 472 45  $16,335.00  $1,020.00
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 492 20  $17,120.00  $785.00
Thursday, March 29, 2012 518 26  $18,085.00  $965.00
Friday, March 30, 2012 533 15  $18,640.00  $555.00
Saturday, March 31, 2012 556 23  $19,453.00  $813.00
Sunday, April 01, 2012 575 19  $19,828.00  $375.00
Monday, April 02, 2012 629 54  $21,007.00  $1,179.00
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 706 77  $24,120.00  $3,113.00


So what happened here?

Aside from the graph you see to the right, the Kickstarter dashboard does not provide a sort of day-to-day data breakdown, particularly of traffic sources. (I’m tempted to contact them & ask for it, but that might be best done after it’s all over.) You can see, tho, that starting the day before, we were already beginning to see an uptick. Just not one on the scale that occurred.

A few notions of what MIGHT have happened come to mind:

  • PAX factor: I’m speaking on the Kickstarter panel at PAX East, and that got us on a nifty promo page on the Kickstarter site of the projects of various participants in the PAX East Kickstarter presence.
  • We started showing up on the website’s front page in the fiction category.
  • New sample chapter came out, on Tuesday.
  • We did our weekly update, on Tuesday, announcing new stretch goals involving Harry Connolly and Stephen Blackmoore. (You can see from the above data that we tend to have an update-day bump.)
  • We broke $20,000 on Monday, making C. E. Murphy’s novel a certainty, and improving the value proposition of our $10 tier.
  • Folks (Including TV/Film writer John Rogers, of Leverage) backed us and tweeted about it.
  • We busted the 600 backer mark (now past 700), so there’s some sheer critical mass of numbers potentially going on.
  • Some folks got their paychecks at the end of the month, so they were able to make some financial commitments starting Monday.
  • Mild increase of the supply of our higher-dollar-value upper tiers.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s a lot of aggregate factors, and it’s entirely possible that our spike came from all of them rather than any particular one.

Luckily, a few days ago I took a snapshot of our usage data, so I can run a comparison to see where the “deltas” are. Here’s the usage data after our banner Tuesday:

Referrer Type # of Pledges % of Dollars Dollars Pledged
Direct traffic (no referrer information) External 158 22.37% $5,429.50
Twitter External 96 20.51% $4,979
Popular (Discover) Kickstarter 63 7.15% $1,734
Search Kickstarter 55 7.31% $1,775.01
superexplosive.com External 37 3.4% $825
Facebook External 35 6.06% $1,470
google.com External 28 2.36% $572
plus.url.google.com External 22 2.58% $625
Kickstarter user profiles Kickstarter 18 2.76% $670
Embedded widget Kickstarter 18 1.66% $402
A project’s backer confirmation page Kickstarter 15 2.25% $545
deadlyfredly.com External 13 2.48% $603
Friend backing email Kickstarter 12 1.48% $360
Fiction (Discover) Kickstarter 11 1.1% $266
Kickstarter homepage Kickstarter 11 0.8% $195
atomic-robo.com External 11 0.7% $170
mail.yahoo.com External 10 1.88% $455
jim-butcher.com External 9 1.59% $385
rpgkickstarters.tumblr.com External 7 0.58% $140
faterpg.com External 6 0.74% $180
forum.rpg.net External 5 0.43% $105
Activity feed Kickstarter 4 1.24% $300
evilhat.com External 4 0.27% $65
la-noir.blogspot.com External 4 0.16% $40
cemurphy.net External 3 0.21% $50


So where were the gains? Here:

Referrer Type Gain % of Gain
Direct traffic (no referrer information) External +45 31.9%
Twitter External +17 12.1%
Search Kickstarter +16 11.3%
Popular (Discover) Kickstarter +14 9.9%
Kickstarter homepage Kickstarter +11 7.8%
Facebook External +8 5.7%
google.com External +6 4.3%
evilhat.com External +4 2.8%
la-noir.blogspot.com External +4 2.8%
Fiction (Discover) Kickstarter +3 2.1%
plus.url.google.com External +2 1.4%
Kickstarter user profiles Kickstarter +2 1.4%
Embedded widget Kickstarter +2 1.4%
A project’s backer confirmation page Kickstarter +2 1.4%
rpgkickstarters.tumblr.com External +2 1.4%
superexplosive.com External +1 0.7%
deadlyfredly.com External +1 0.7%
atomic-robo.com External +1 0.7%
Friend backing email Kickstarter +0 0.0%
mail.yahoo.com External +0 0.0%
jim-butcher.com External +0 0.0%
faterpg.com External +0 0.0%
forum.rpg.net External +0 0.0%
Activity feed Kickstarter +0 0.0%
cemurphy.net External +0 0.0%


Nearly a full third of our source data remains mysterious, due to no referrer information coming along to the party. Another third (at least) of our traffic came from the sum total of all the various ways Kickstarter has provided to drive people to our project. The remainder is a spread of all the various other ways we’ve reached out, both directly and through our talented pool of authors.

Ultimately, this doesn’t answer the question “where’d it come from?” so much as to say, “Yep, it is the aggregation of many smaller streams, and a sort of critical mass of several factors at once.”

I’ll take it!


  5 Responses to “Kickstarter: The Spike”

  1. This: We broke $20,000 on Monday, making C. E. Murphy’s novel a certainty, and improving the value proposition of our $10 tier.

    I can’t be the only one who turned around and tweeted to a slew of friends about the ridiculous value of this tier. This includes friends outside the typical likes-pulp, played-SotC circle, i.e., pretty much anyone with an e-reader.

    You could probably get some correlation on this by checking if the e-book tier had a bigger spike than typical (as a ratio, of course; I imagine most of the bakers are at that level anyway just by virtue of the price point).

    • Our last two days definitely featured a lot of gains at both the $10 and $25 reward tiers. So we’re certainly creating an incentive for the value of a low buy-in.

  2. Anecdote /= datapoint:
    On Tuesday I listened on my iPhone to both That’s How We Roll and The Podge Cast where you talked about Dinocalypse. I didn’t even wait until I got back to my computer to pledge on Kickstarter. I couldn’t pass up 5 PDFs for a $10! 

  3. I’m curious to see what happens after your PAX panel this weekend.

  4. I’m just staring in stunned disbelief, thinking this is going to be the best $25 I’ve spent this year.

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