Kickstarter vs Indiegogo

If I’m crowdfunding a project for the first time, should I go with Kickstarter or Indiegogo?

This is a commonly asked question. I had to grapple too with this question at my ex-company when we were preparing to launch a crowd funding campaign. Of all crowd-funding platforms out there, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are two very lucrative platforms, but it can sometimes be tough to decide between them both.

The answer as to which platform to use, is found in your crowd funding objectives. We figured out our objectives by answering these three key questions:

1.Do we want to take a risk with our project funding goals, or play it safe?
2.How fast do we need to get the project to the market?
3.What category does our project fall under?

Once you’ve figured out your objectives, here are three of the most important differences you’ll need to know.

1. Kickstarter’s risky. Indiegogo’s much safer.

What I recommend: If you’re the cautious type, go for Indiegogo. But if you’re a risk-taker, Kickstarter is for you.

This is the most well-known difference between Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Kickstarter runs on an All or Nothing model: you get to keep the money only if you meet your funding goal, while you still get the to keep whatever small portions you raise on Indiegogo Flexible Funding even if you can’t meet the goal. The caveat to this is that Indiegogo takes a bigger 9% cut on projects that don’t meet their funding target.

Another reason why Indiegogo goes down well with you if you are the cautious type, is that Indiegogo allows a campaign extension of up till 60 days as a once off. This is great for people who are just starting out with crowd-funding, as the longer duration buys you more time to build up your fan base and generate awareness of your project. Just make sure that each day you’re reaching out to new people to spread awareness.

Kickstarter, on the other hand recommends a funding period of no longer than 30 days. This of course will work only if you already have a large fan base, have generated huge awareness, or have a project that’s so interesting it gets viral (like in the case of Potato Salad). That said, Kickstarter has a very much larger audience, and projects that do get off the group, REALLY do get funded. The top 10 most funded projects on Kickstarter have raised at least $3 million each, while on Indiegogo, the average stands only at about $1.3 million.

As the old saying goes: the greater the risk, the greater the reward.

2. Kickstarter has geographical restrictions. IndieGoGo doesn’t.

What I recommend: If you need to take your project quickly to the market, IndieGoGo is the fastest way. If you can wait out the hassle of the verification process, then choose Kickstarter.

By any chance, if you are from these five countries: U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, creating a Kickstarter campaign is a relative breeze. But if you’re not from any of these countries, well you’re in for a rocky start, though it can be overcome.

This is because Kickstarter requires project creators to verify their identity via a Amazon Payments business account, a process which can take up to seven days. And the restrictions kick in here, because you’ll need to have a US address and bank account to qualify for Amazon Payments.

The alternative, of course, would be to register your Kickstarter project under a US citizen’s name instead, and have him or her set up an Amazon Payments account for you. That’s assuming you have a friend or a contact who is a US citizen, and is willing to help you out.

Indiegogo, on the other hand, is really welcoming and comfortable. There are no country restrictions, and no Amazon Payments required to setup a project. Anyone can set up a Indiegogo project, so long as you have a verified PayPal account. The caveat though, is that some PayPal accounts in certain countries may not receive payments. At the time of this writing, India, Egypt, Turkey and Brazil are not able to receive PayPal payments.

3. Kickstarter has higher traffic visibility than Indiegogo for certain categories of projects

What I recommend: If your project qualifies under these categories, choose Kickstarter for higher visibility.

Is your project a creative one that falls under any of the following fifteen categories: Art, Comics, Crafts, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Games, Journalism, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, or Theater? If it does, then Kickstarter is the better way to shoot for higher visibility! At over 13 million monthly uniques (Source: Quantcast), there are no lack of eyeballs.

One strong point about Kickstarter, is that it very dedicated to ensuring only quality projects get listed on its platform. It even has a team that screens all projects to meet its guidelines! Along with its guidelines is an ever growing list of banned project categories that include genetically modified organisms, self-help material, and even ‘seduction guides’.

Because Kickstarter is synonymous with quality projects, it is also able to attract a bigger base of viewers to its website. That’s not to suggest that projects on Indiegogo are any lesser in quality. It actually has its fair share of high quality projects such as the Canary, KREYOS, Solar Roadways that have done exceedingly well. It is just that Indiegogo does not review projects before they go live due to its liberal view on crowd-funding, and it has a broader category of projects.

However, regardless whether you choose Kickstarter or Indiegogo, project visibility is more about having a good marketing launch plan for your project. If you cannot even drive initial traffic from your own network, it doesn’t matter which platform you use, because your project will never move up the category rankings.

But assuming you’ve managed to gain some traction, then the difference between Kickstarter or Indiegogo becomes clear: Kickstarter offers higher visibility for your project.

And hopefully, with these three differences that you now know, you’ll be in a better position to choose between Kickstarter or Indiegogo for your project.

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