KEY IDEA: Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, but Kickstarter has the advantage across more key metrics.
Crowdfunding has become more and more popular over the last decade.
But while the term ‘crowdfunding’ has become synonymous with Kickstarter, there are plenty of other platforms for you to choose from.
While a number of pretenders lay claim to the crown, the debate between the best crowdfunding platforms ultimately comes down to Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
At first glance they seem alike.
Both provide an online marketplace for you to crowdfund and both take 5% of your campaign earnings. But that’s not looking at the bigger picture. When breaking down each key metric, these two platforms have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
It’s no surprise the internet is full of articles comparing Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but the majority of these avoid making a judgement, ultimately ending with “you decide which crowdfunding platform you like best”.
That won’t be happening here. We’ll tell you which platform is best suited to your funding goals (and how to ensure you reach them).
Let’s break down the round-by-round analysis of Kickstarter and Indiegogo and crown a winner.
Let the battle begin!
Round #1 – Site Traffic
Round one is underway and Kickstarter is hot out of the blocks with considerably more site traffic than Indiegogo.
Neither crowdfunding platform releases official site traffic data, but it’s estimated that Kickstarter receives roughly 25 to 27 million site visitors monthly, while Indiegogo receives around 12 million. This’s a considerable difference.
Regardless of exact figures, Kickstarter receives 2-3x more site traffic than Indiegogo – and more traffic means more backers.
60% to 70% of crowdfunding typically comes from the organic community on a crowdfunding platform, so no matter how excited your friends and family get, you need a thriving crowdfunding platform to help get you over the line.
Round #1: Kickstarter. Site traffic means more potential backers. Easy decision.
Round #2 – Platform Fees
Money matters, so you’ll want to keep campaign fees as low as possible.
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo take a cut of the total funds you raise, as well as a processing fee per pledge – with almost identical fee structures.
Both crowdfunding platforms also set their maximum funding duration at 60 days (though Kickstarter recommends setting a 30 day limit for the best chance of success).
You won’t have to pay just to play though, as there are zero upfront fees to launch a campaign on either platform. Once you get going both Kickstarter and Indiegogo charge a flat 5% fee on all funds raised for your campaign.
As both Kickstarter and Indiegogo use Stripe to handle their payment processing, there’s a further cost of 3% in payment processing fees.
Round #2: Tie. With a 5% fee on both platforms, this round is impossible to split.
Round #3 – Payment Model
One of the key differences between Kickstarter and Indiegogo is their policies towards campaign funding.
Kickstarter offers just one funding model – All or Nothing (AoN).
That means you don’t receive your pledges unless your fundraising goal is reached. In this way your backers aren’t giving you money – they’re pledging it. If you don’t reach your total, you don’t receive a cent of the pledges promised.
Indiegogo offers two funding models, so there’s more flexibility.
The first option is fixed funding. This is like Kickstarter’s All or Nothing model. You set a target and receive the total funds when the target is reached (minus platform and payment processing fees).
The second option is a flexible funding model. Choosing this model lets you keep any money raised, even if you don’t reach your target. This means you could raise $15,000 of a $20,000 target and still keep the money.
Flexible funding can be a helpful safety net if:
- your product is niche
- you don’t have a large audience
- you need time to build your momentum but would benefit from funds towards your creative project
It’s worth remembering that a flexible funding model is appealing to creators, but can be a turn-off for backers. Fixed funding provides peace of mind for backers who know they’ll either receive a reward as part of a successful campaign, or get their investment back.
Round #3: Tie . AoN funding has its advantages as does a flexible model, so this round is shared.
Round #4 – Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are vital when promoting a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Indiegogo allows you to insert code, in the form of Facebook Pixel, to target people who visited your campaign page but weren’t ready to pledge (which will be the majority of people).
Kickstarter doesn’t allow the use of Facebook Pixel, but with multiple re-targeting tools available online, and the ability to get creative with Google Analytics to unlock conversion tracking, this isn’t a deal breaker.
From generating pre-launch buzz to driving pledges across the life of your campaign, Facebook ads are part of a successful promotional push. By targeting a custom audience on Facebook you can narrow your message and connect with the people most likely to back your project.
The cost-per-lead (CPL) across both Kickstarter and Indiegogo is around $1.50 on average (though this will vary based on your audience, industry and paid social experience). But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The figure that matters more is your conversion rate. Affordable leads are worthless if your conversion rate is through the floor.
Kickstarter has the slight edge here with a track record of higher converting Facebook Ads. It’s always beneficial to choose the platform with lower costs-per-lead and higher ROI.
Round #3: Kickstarter. Facebook ads don’t convert as well on Indiegogo compared to Kickstarter.
Round #5 – Customer Support
When something goes wrong with your campaign, you want access to support. The same could be said when you’re looking for help with your promotion or just after some basic FAQS.
Support is vital if you want to avoid any hiccups along the way.
In this category, Indiegogo has the edge.
Kickstarter support is more difficult to reach than their counterparts at Indiegogo. So if something goes wrong, creators AND backers can find themselves on their own.
In contrast, Indiegogo has built a strong reputation for swift and accessible support. Offering a large team of support staff, creators using Indiegogo have help at hand when they need it.
Round #4: Indiegogo. If something goes wrong it’s worthwhile having support.
Round #6 – Project Registration
Your choice of crowdfunding platform may come down to the product you’re looking to fund.
Indiegogo is more relaxed with the campaign types you can create, with 24 in total – including charity which is not permitted on Kickstarter. Whereas Kickstarter has a strict set of categories, 15 in total, so there’s more rules for your product to adhere to.
Alongside these categories, Kickstarter has a strict registration policy and a team of staff who enforce their rules, which can be summed up simply as:
- no charities
- no personal projects (you must have something to share)
- a working prototype of your product.
In contrast, Indiegogo won’t ask you for a working prototype and is generally seen as a more flexible platform in that regard.
Round #5: Tie. It all comes down to the product you’re promoting, so this round is a tie.
Round #7 – Rewards
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to offer rewards as incentives for backers to make pledges. These allow creators to share small pieces of the project, without giving away the farm.
These rewards might be:
- One-of-a-kind experiences
- Limited edition creations
- Electronic versions of a finished project
- Finished versions of the project
Indiegogo caps rewards at 20, which sounds like a lot. So there’s still a high level of creative freedom there.
Kickstarter, on the other hand, offers up to 50 reward levels. It’s never a bad thing to have options though, so the ability to create up to 50 unique reward tiers gives Kickstarter the edge here.
Round #6: Kickstarter. More reward levels give you greater flexibility and more ways to attract pledges.
Round #8 – Reputation
Perception is reality.
If the majority of people view a crowdfunding platform as being higher quality, the digital word of mouth spreads quickly.
Kickstarter has roughly 3x the Twitter followers of Indiegogo and around 4x the number of monthly searches on Google, giving Kickstarter the considerable advantage in this regard.
One of the successes fueling Kickstarter’s reputation is their quality control. With strict rules informing who can launch a campaign and what products can seek funding, Kickstarter creates a buffer against scam artists.
Backers know that Kickstarter only allows the best of the best on their platform, so they make pledges with more confidence knowing their money will be looked after. Appearing on Kickstarter gives a boost of credibility that’s straight up hard to beat.
With 36% of Kickstarter campaigns reaching their funding goal compared to the 17-18% seen on Indiegogo, the proof is in the pudding* (*pudding = numbers).
Round #7: Kickstarter. You want to be where people feel safest with their money, and Kickstarter has priceless credibility.
And the winner is…
While Indiegogo provides a solid alternative crowdfunding platform with excellent support and a helpful flexible funding model, Kickstarter outperforms Indiegogo on almost every measurable metric.
Of course the nature of your project will determine which platform you choose, with Indiegogo offering more categories and more flexibility with the type of projects allowed.
You can’t turn down more traffic, a higher success rate and priceless brand name recognition though. Launching your campaign on Kickstarter, and tapping into the proven promotional success of Facebook Ads, means you’re more likely to kick your goals.
Kickstarter is synonymous with crowdfunding for a reason.
Once you know how to leverage Kickstarter’s extensive list of features and built-in advantages, you’ll be set up for success.
Don’t go without unlocking the secrets of a $100,000 Kickstarter campaign. Click here for an instant boost to your next project.