Indiegogo Or Kickstarter? Where Does Your Project Have The Best Shot At Success?

Only 9.3% of projects on Indiegogo get funded, compared to 44% on Kickstarter--but both crowdfunding platforms have merits.

According to a new independent analysis of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the two major crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter is (still) kicking Indiegogo's ass. Forty-four percent of projects on Kickstarter get fully funded, compared to only 9.3% on the older, larger, less popular crowdfunding platform. (Indiegogo disputes these numbers, but wouldn't provide alternate figures to Fast Company).
Moreover, while more than half of Kickstarter campaigns reach over 20% of their goal, about 80% of Indiegogo projects stop at 25% of the goal or lower. And Kickstarter has more web traffic, even though Indiegogo has more projects.

But before you pull your Indiegogo campaign, consider that it's not necessarily about winners and losers. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have staked out complementary pieces of the $5.1 billion crowdfunding industry, which is growing in importance as a means to enable innovation of all kinds. So how do you know for which platform your campaign is best suited?

Kickstarter: Let The Cream Rise To The Top

Kickstarter is focused on "creative projects" that must fit one of 13 specific categories: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. Its team screens all projects to make sure they meet these guidelines. It is known for squeamishness about sex. Its list of banned categories of projects has grown over time, and can seem nitpicky: No self-help material or advice; no offensive material (hate speech, etc.); pornographic material; political material. No genetically modified organisms. And no bath products.

Kickstarter's most famous rule, and the one that probably accounts for its high success rate, is all or nothing. If a project fails to reach its goal, the founders get $0. This motivates anyone who starts a project to set realistic goals and work hard to meet them.

Indiegogo: Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom

In stark contrast, Indiegogo lets anyone, in over 200 countries, post a project--whether you're Sherry Konkus of Owosso MI trying to buy your first concert grand harp, or the $32 million Ubuntu smartphone project.

You also can keep the money you raise even if you don't make the goal, though Indiegogo keeps a bigger cut of unsuccessful projects.

Bottom Line: When To Gogo, When To Kick It

If you're starting a business, building an app, funding a charity project, making herbal soaps, or equipping your 5,000-person-capacity orgy dome for Burning Man, then Indiegogo is your only option. Unless, of course, you want to go it alone with new direct crowdfunding apps.

If you have a truly creative project, and you want to shoot for higher visibility, Kickstarter is worth a try.

Update: this post has been updated to reflect Indiegogo's response.

[Image: Flickr user Sheila Sund]

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