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Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark? Comparing Crowdfunding Platform Success Rates When It Comes to Film Projects

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | feelingsoblahg.blogspot.com August 16, 2013 at 1:18PM

Filmmakers have a growing number of choices when deciding which crowdfunding platform, if any, to use. We were curious to see how the different platforms compared, and so when an Indiegogo search tool that allowed one to search for how well projects do was pointed out by Adrianne Jeffries in her piece for the Verge, we decided to see how film projects panned out on three different platforms.
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Filmmakers have a growing number of choices when deciding which crowdfunding platform, if any, to use.  We were curious to see how the different platforms compared, and so when an Indiegogo launched a search tool that allows you to see project performance (as pointed out by Adrianne Jeffries in her piece for the Verge), we decided to see how film projects panned out on three different platforms.

The headline for Jeffries' piece, "Indie no-go: only one in ten projects gets fully funded on Kickstarter's biggest rival," forgets that many project creators go to Indiegogo because they don't know what a good goal is for their campaign. Indiegogo's model allows for project creators to take home money no matter how much they raise.

While Jeffries estimates that less than 10% on Indiegogo make their goal, it's not easy to get an exact number. The number is definitely below 13.68%, as that's the portion of film projects that make at least 75% of their goal.

READ MORE: Are You Really Ready to Crowdfund? Here Are 8 Tips from Filmmakers Who've Been There

Earlier this week, Kickstarter's success rate was 39.91%. It's hard to say the exact difference, but one element that probably explains a lot is the psychological pressure that an all-or-nothing model puts on both creators and backers. If the creator takes home money no matter what, what's the reason to stress out and bang down all possible doors? Creators, like the actor Shemar Moore, sometimes go to Indiegogo after they realized that their Kickstarter goal is not reasonable.

It should be noted that for all-or-nothing campaigns on all platforms, once 20% of the goal is raised, a great number of projects raise their goal. This may not be fully attributable to the pressure on backers to donate; as we reported after an anonymous survey to people who have run or watch closely crowdfunding campaigns, many creators arrange for donors to send them over the top should they be far away from making their goal.

Below are success numbers from Indiegogo, Kickstarter and new entry Seed & Spark. Let us know in the comments what you notice and what questions these numbers leave you.

INDIEGOGO (extracted from a search on August 7, using a previous version of this search engine page, which has now been changed to make it impossible to search specifically for projects that have not raised more than 50% of their goal.)

Indiegogo allows projects to choose between flex funding and fixed funding.  The creator gets to keep donations no matter what when they choose the Flex Funding option; however, creators must make their goal to receive their donations if they choose the Fixed Funding option.  Indiegogo takes 4% if the project makes a goal, no matter what.  If a Flex Funding project doesn't make its goal, though, Indiegogo takes 9%. 

Total:  25934 projects

0-25%: 18587 (71.67%)
25-50%: 2534 (9.77%)
50-75%: 1266 (4.88%)
75-100+%: 3547 (13.68%)

Flex Funding

Total: 25465 projects

0-25%: 18232 (71.60%)
25-50%: 2534 (9.95%)
50-75%: 1266 (4.97%)
75-100+%: 3433 (13.48%)

Fixed Funding

Total: 469 projects

0-25%: 355 (75.69%)
25-50%: 0 (0%)
50-75%: 0 (0%)
75-100+%: 114 (24.31%)

KICKSTARTER (extracted from this page on August 14)

All Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing.  Kickstarter takes 5% of donations if the project succeeds.

Total: 27787 projects

0%: 3476 (12.5%)
1-20%: 10631 (38.29%)
21-40%:  1755 (6.3%)
41-60%:  569 (2.05%)
61-80%: 185 (.67%)
81-99%:  80 (.29%)
100+%:  11091 (39.91%)

SEED & SPARK (as of August 15, from Seed & Spark founder Emily Best)

Seed & Spark allows creators to ask for in-kind donations or rentals in addition to cash donations.  Projects must raise 80% of their goal, though, in order to receive their funds. Seed & Spark takes a 5% fee from successful campaigns.

Total: 38 projects

0-25%: 13 (34.21%)
25-50%: 1 (2.63%)
50-79%: 0 (0%)
80-100+%: 24 (63.16%), with 10 raising above 100%

Of those who made their goal, the average raised is 91% of ask. 

13 of the 24 successful projects took an average of 21% loans of goods and services. 

This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit: Crowdfunding, Kickstarter , IndieGoGo , Seed&Spark