Every Kickstarter project wants to meet its fundraising goal. But a new study suggests that raising a ton of money doesn’t predict how much success a crowdfunding project will ultimately find.
Researchers at North Carolina State University found that the number of people who supported a project on Kickstarter — rather than how much money the project raked in — was the real indicator of whether a product would succeed.
The study, published this month in the journal Research Policy, followed 1,000 successful Kickstarter campaigns in technology, product design, hardware and video games. All participants who responded raised at least $10,000 from an average of 1,078 backers.
“The first key finding was that the amount of money a crowdfunding entrepreneur raised was inconsequential to their product’s ultimate success in the market,” lead researcher Michael Stanko said in a statement.
For one, raising a lot more money didn’t make founders any more likely to meet their goals for sales or profit once they entered the marketplace. That was because the difference in funding wasn’t enough to help founders spend more on advertising or do anything else that would actually translate into more sales.
Beyond that, raising extra money indicated that founders started to lose focus and stop innovating on bigger ideas. Faced with the pressure of a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, founders started to get slightly overwhelmed.
The only factor that actually indicated how successful a product would be when it moved beyond Kickstarter? How many backers it had.
Another study this year found that crowdfunding did help founders in parts of the country besides New York and Silicon Valley nab funding from venture capitalists.
So don’t sweat it if your big idea doesn’t meet its Kickstarter fundraising goal. It’s all about exposure — to more backers, and to the big money paying attention.