3 Simple Ways To Rank Higher on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is loved by creators and backers alike because it provides the tools to raise funds and connects people looking for the next new thing with creators.

It’s no secret that many creators still favor launching on Kickstarter over other platforms because of Kickstarter’s traffic. Kickstarter draws in millions of unique visitors every month, so getting a slice of that traffic can greatly benefit your campaign.

But making sure Kickstarter drives traffic to your particular project can be challenging. We’ve seen more than enough examples of creators who just launch a project without much preparation, hoping for Kickstarter to drive all their sales, and the project falling flat on its face.

Luckily, there are tangible things you can do to rank higher on Kickstarter, like having a strong pre-launch game. But pre-launch alone is not all you can do, in this post, you’ll learn from YG Crowdfunding’s founder, who also used to work at Kickstarter, what you can do to rank higher in the Kickstarter algorithm.

How Kickstarter promotes projects

Before diving into the algorithm and how to optimize your project for maximal exposure, it’s important to understand the different ways in which Kickstarter promotes projects.

First, there is editorial promotion, which means, ways in which your project gets promoted by the team at Kickstarter, without the algorithm being involved.

This includes being awarded the “Project We Love” badge, and receiving a placement in one of Kickstarter’s newsletters.

Both these forms of promotion are completely at the discretion of Kickstarter staff and are based on their preference for a project they see on the site. A great way to make your project more eligible for editorial promotion is often overlooked, yet is extremely simple. On Kickstarter.com/honest, you can find clear guidelines on how to talk about your project, which greatly increases your chances of receiving editorial promotion.

The algorithm explained

Now that you know how editorial promotion works, let’s take a look at how the algorithm works.

The first thing to note is that an algorithm factors in multiple metrics, and this may be a moving target. Doing the things outlined in this blog post will not guarantee success, and you should never fully rely on Kickstarter to drive all your traffic.

In fact, Kickstarter’s algorithm doesn’t drive traffic, it amplifies it!

This means you need to light the fire yourself, Kickstarter will only pour rocket fuel on it, but a project with 0 traffic or transactions will not magically receive backers from Kickstarter. 

#1: Get fully funded in the first 24 hours

One important metric for every campaign is whether or not it reaches its funding goal within the first 24 hours.

Not only does this give a strong signal to future backers that this campaign is something not to miss out on, but the Kickstarter algorithm also looks at this as a weighting factor.

Botany is an example of a game that funded quickly.
Botany is an example of a game that funded quickly.

Campaigns that reach their funding goal in the first 24 hours typically see increased visibility and traffic from Kickstarter for the remainder of their campaign.

#2: Video through plays

Your campaign video is an important marketing asset, but not just because of the video content.

Once your campaign is live, Kickstarter measures how many people complete your video and watch to the end, this is called through plays.

Projects that have a video with a high percentage of through plays are seen as good projects and get boosted as a result. 

That’s why you want to make sure your video is no longer than 2 minutes, as videos longer than that get dramatically fewer people watching it till the end, which can negatively impact your Kickstarter algorithm score.

#3: Transaction frequency

There is a common misconception that the more you raise on Kickstarter, the more Kickstarter will promote your project.

And although it’s an understandable theory, it’s not completely true. The absolute number of funds raised does not impact your ranking, but rather, the number of pledges does.

Kickstarter is a great platform for projects of any size, and it does not prioritize projects that raise large sums of money. To keep things fair for smaller projects, or those with rewards that have lower prices, Kickstarter looks at the frequency with which you receive pledges.

That means that having a lower-tiered reward, for example, a sticker pack can be a great way to increase your frequency!

Final Thoughts

Kickstarter can be a huge driver of traffic for your campaign when you play your cards right, but don’t rely on it completely!

As you can see from these tips, you need to bring traffic to get traffic. Only campaigns with strong performance out the gate will benefit from Kickstarter’s reach. Think of Kickstarter as a way to amplify your campaign, but don’t expect Kickstarter to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Need help with your Kickstarter marketing and ensuring a strong launch? Feel free to schedule a meeting with me so we can review your strategy together. 

George Lam is the founder of YG Crowdfunding and former Kickstarter outreach lead. He and his team have helped hundreds of creators raise millions of dollars across the games and hardware categories on Kickstarter.

You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.

You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.

But how do you ship it?

We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.