When to Use Kickstarter When to Use Indiegogo

When to Use Kickstarter & When to Use Indiegogo

No matter where you go – Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, GoFundMe, or somewhere else – one thing is clear. Crowdfunding is growing by leaps and bounds.

In North America alone, $17.2 billion was generated through crowdfunding campaigns in the year 2020. That’s up 33.7% from the year prior. Also in 2020 – the middle of a pandemic – almost 6.5 million crowdfunding campaigns were launched.

For many startups, the question is no longer “should we launch a crowdfunding campaign” but rather “where should we launch our crowdfunding campaign?”

And that’s a good question. One that’s often answered by defaulting to Kickstarter, because it is the most popular crowdfunding platform.

But what about Indiegogo?

The plain fact is that some products do really well on Kickstarter, and others do really well on Indiegogo. Each website has a dedicated community of people willing to back crowdfunding projects. Each website is capable of helping crowdfunders succeed.

But some products are just a better match for one platform over the other. Here’s how you can make your choice between Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Kickstarter is Best for Games, Film, Art, Publishing, and Design

Kickstarter is increasingly leaning into its artsy side. It is the go-to destination for film and video, music, and games. The figures are staggering.

  • 33,135 Music projects funded
  • 30,110 Film & Video projects funded
  • 29,390 Games projects funded
  • 21,481 Art projects funded
  • 20,016 Publishing projects funded
  • 19,299 Design projects funded

And if you’re launching a board game, we’ll make this article really short: choose Kickstarter. Period. It is rapidly becoming the de facto publishing house of choice for the industry.

This isn’t to say that Kickstarter isn’t a good place for other types of projects too. But they do have a decisive advantage when it comes to games and art.

Kickstarter projects sample
Kickstarter projects sample

Indiegogo is Best for Technology, Fitness, Outdoor, and Home

If Kickstarter is the art student, Indiegogo is the tech geek. Indiegogo is well known for its Technology, Fitness, Outdoor, and Home projects. In particular, Indiegogo’s equivalent of “Kickstarter board games” is “Indiegogo electric bikes.”

If you’re creating a technical gadget like a laptop, gadget, or home automation device, Indiegogo is the place to go.

Indiegogo projects sample
Indiegogo projects sample

Kickstarter is All-or-Nothing, Indiegogo is Flexible

Kickstarter is a generally more favorable environment for most kinds of products, with exceptions where Indiegogo really succeeds. However, there is a major difference between how Kickstarter and Indiegogo distribute funds that may sway your decision.

Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. If you do not reach your goal, you get nothing and your backers spend nothing. It prevents your and your backers from being on the hook if you don’t have enough money to actually make the product.

Indiegogo, on the other hand, has both all-or-nothing and flexible funding options. In the latter, you can opt to still receive funds even if you only partially meet your goal. This can be very useful in cases where partial funding would still be useful.

Kickstarter Success Rates are Higher, Indiegogo is More Open

As many as 37.7% of Kickstarter campaigns succeed. Only 17-18% of Indiegogo campaigns do the same.

On the surface, this statistic would suggest that using Kickstarter gives you higher chances of success. This is largely true, but again, heavily dependent upon the category of product that you are crowdfunding. Some things on Indiegogo overperform, and some things on Kickstarter underperform. It’s important to know which is which.

Another thing to consider is that Kickstarter must review each project before it goes live. Indiegogo does not. That means lower quality projects can slip past the Indiegogo radar and pull the average down. (But it should be noted as well that the lack of curation can also scare backers away from Indiegogo.)

Even with this in mind, it should be noted that while odds of success on Kickstarter are higher, failure on Indiegogo can still result in some partial funding if the flexible funding option is used. That may skew your decision.

Kickstarter Has No Pledge Manager, Indiegogo Has InDemand

Pledge managers help crowdfunders bridge the gap between their campaign and eCommerce. They can do this by using a third-party system like BackerKit or CrowdOx to collect shipping fees, upsell and cross-sell, and take late pledges.

Kickstarter has no built-in pledge manager. You are forced to find third-party software. Indiegogo, however, does have a built-in pledge manager. It’s called InDemand and Indiegogo campaigners can seamlessly transition from campaign to pledge manager by using it.

The convenience of being able to go straight from campaign to pledge manager is a point for Indiegogo. But it should also be noted that it is possible – and, in fact, common – to start on Kickstarter and to transition to Indiegogo InDemand after the campaign on Kickstarter done!

Final Thoughts

Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have well-established communities, and both can be a great place to launch your crowdfunding campaign.

The most important thing to consider is: “what kind of product am I selling?” Games, film, art, publishing, and design do really well on Kickstarter. Technology, fitness, outdoor, and home do really well on Indiegogo.

After considering product category, it’s a matter of subtleties. What’s more important: higher chances of success or openness? Does flexible funding move the needle? What about the ease of transitioning into a post-campaign pledge manager?

These questions will help you determine whether Kickstarter or Indiegogo is right for you and your business.
But no matter what you choose – good luck! Let us know if you need any help shipping orders.