UPDATED to 2020:
No two crowdfunding websites were created equal, but Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe have certainly risen to the top. These 3 are streets ahead of the thousands of other active crowdfunding platforms currently littering the web.
Gofundme is a platform for personal fundraising — not a topic we tend to cover — so that just leaves intrepid fundraisers with the artistic and commercial focus of Indiegogo vs Kickstarter.
But which one will it be? Which one should you choose? Indiegogo vs Kickstarter?
Each has its positives and negatives. And depending on the kind of product you’re planning on launching, you may opt for one or the other.
Read on to discover how they rank according to 15 metrics we’ve analyzed. From their page builders, to the maximum duration of the campaigns, their analytics, their fees, and much more!
Initially focused exclusively on independent films (hence the name) Indiegogo started accepting projects from any category a year after its launch. Established to provide more opportunities to backers than Kickstarter, Indiegogo is usually perceived as a less strict and more flexible platform.
It is available in over 230 countries and provides more categories (28 vs Kickstarter’s 15). It also gives backers control over whether they want fixed (all or nothing) or flexible (creator gets whatever amount they collect) models.
Indiegogo has successfully launched over 800,000 ideas with its 9-million-strong community. At any given point it has around 1,200 live campaigns and 1,800 InDemand campaigns (Kickstarter has 3,000+). It also isn’t all that fussed with metrics (you’ll struggle to find the kind of statistical data Kickstarter is happy to publish), but you will come across the odd estimate or three.
In 2015, Indiegogo separated its personal and cause campaigns into a new platform Indiegogo Live, which later was renamed Generosity. Later on, Generosity was sold to GoFundMe, making it a personal fundraising giant.
If Kickstarter reckons around 36% of its campaigners are successful, then the digital world puts Indiegogo’s success rate somewhere between 17-18%. It sounds terrible, but it does have a few other things going for it. Its flexible funding scheme allows you to get the funding without necessarily reaching your goals, plus, from experience we’ve seen their customer support to be pretty approachable and helpful — something that can’t be said of Kickstarter.
Add to that the fact that pledges are non-refundable, so the creator knows exactly how much they’ve raised (Kickstarter campaigns tend to drop 3-4% of backers — more on this later), and Indiegogo starts to look like a very attractive option.
So, chances are you’ve heard about Kickstarter. You probably have a pretty good handle on the basic pros and cons of this platform as well, but in the interests of being thorough, let’s cover all our bases and start at the beginning.
Today, crowdfunding is mostly synonymous with Kickstarter. It’s the biggest crowdfunding platform there is. It’s also got a bunch of metrics that are happy to sing its praises. Kickstarter campaigns have already raised nearly $5 billion. It’s hosted over 180,000 successful projects, and has a total of nearly 18 million backers — of which one-third support multiple campaigns.
Over 400 campaigns have broken the $1-million mark. And a further 6,500 campaigns have raised over $100k. Need I go on?
This crowdfunding goliath boasts 15 campaign categories. Film and video, music, and games are the most popular types of campaigns, but design and technology have really picked up in recent years, and are exciting more and more backers. These last three are also the most funded categories on the site (as a side note, Wednesday afternoon is the time when most backers put their hands in their pockets).
Impressed yet? Well, you might be a little less so when you learn that all those impressive stats only account for 37.7% of all Kickstarter campaigns. The rest — over 60% — fail to achieve their goals.
But don’t get disheartened, Kickstarter still has a few aces up its sleeve.
With a reputation for launching whacky, innovative and downright marvelous ideas, Kickstarter gets a fair bit of coverage from the media and bloggers. One well-placed article could win you a place in that top 37%.
Of course, there are a hundred other tiny differences to consider.
Rather than rattle off a list, our clever infographics guys whipped up a table to help you distinguish the differences between the two. As a successful crowdfunding marketing expert, I marked my preferences in the boxes in green.
I jest. Of course, I’m going to rattle off a list! How else will you work out which crowdfunding platform is right for your venture?
First off, Kickstarter has certain rules you aren’t advised to pass by, as staff will manually review whether you comply with these or not. So there are 4 main rules you need to stick to:
At first, Kickstarter was available only in the US, then it enlarged its borders to include Canada, the UK, and Australia. Now, it is available in 22 countries: US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, and Japan.
By available, we don’t mean backers from other countries can’t support your campaign. But that you, as a creator, need to be in one of those 22 countries.
So, you’re from one of those 22 countries, and you match the first 4 criteria — creating your project on Kickstarter should be easy, right?
The platform is very strict with its selection process. You will also have to match a bunch of other requirements. Let’s have a deeper look at them:
People under age may also register a project on Kickstarter, but only under the guidance of an adult or a parent who can verify the identity and banking information, and assume responsibility from beginning to end.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming any of these aren’t strictly enforced.
A recent project offering a laser shaving experience was suspended from Kickstarter (no tangible product) after already raising more than $4 million. In response, the project creators registered the project on Indiegogo (which has no such rules) and collected the required amount (admittedly a lot less than $4million).
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo have guidelines for creators that shed more light on the types of projects they’ll accept. Either way, Indiegogo is more open to discussion and allowing projects that are forbidden on Kickstarter.
And while Indiegogo won this point in previous years, as it used to be available nearly everywhere (officially in 224 countries), missing out maybe a couple of villages in Siberia, it has recently followed in Kickstarter’s footsteps. Indiegogo backtracked their international availability, and limited themselves to just 21 countries.
These are US, UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong (China campaigns may be eligible), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Similarly, Indiegogo has its own requirements:
However, remember that even if you’re not from one of those lucky 22 countries, you might be able to incorporate your company in the US through their payment processor’s service, Stripe Atlas.
Either way, the 2 platforms tie in their registration capabilities — or restrictions. One point each!
The finished Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaign pages may look pretty similar, but the tools both platforms provide to make your vision a reality are vastly different.
Kickstarter has a very limited page builder. You only get 2 styles, Header and Paragraph. And they’re both always left-aligned. Indiegogo, on the other hand, has many more styles and even lets you write basic HTML/CSS!
Both offer bullet points, but Indiegogo also has numbering.
And while both allow you to upload images and gifs, they do it slightly differently. Once uploaded, Kickstarter doesn’t let you change an image — you have to delete it and reupload a new one. With Indiegogo, you can just double-click it and select a new one. However, it is much easier to upload gifs to Kickstarter. It’s just the same as a regular image! In Indiegogo, you need to dive into the HTML to add a self-hosted (or giphy-hosted) <img>-tagged gif.
Indiegogo carries its image-candy into its perks — each perk can have an image. Kickstarter rewards are just a bland block of text — so think hard about presenting your rewards well on the campaign page itself!
Likewise, Indiegogo also allows you more freedom when choosing the external images — Facebook share image, thumbnail, card image, etc. — while Kickstarter just offers the thumbnail.
And finally, the options for updates follow the same pattern. Kickstarter provides the same lacking interface as it does for the campaign page. Indiegogo’s is slightly different to its campaign page editor, but it likewise offers a boatload of additional functionality.
Without a doubt. Point to Indiegogo!
Kickstarter uses its own video hosting service, Indiegogo uses YouTube and Vimeo.
While there are some pros and cons to having your own video hosting service, one thing is certain — YouTube is the second biggest search engine there is and provides great marketing opportunities to attract new users. So that’s two birds with one stone since more views on your YouTube video mean higher rankings on YouTube while your campaign runs on Indiegogo.
If you have an audience who will share your video and comment like crazy then even better. If not, it might be worth asking everyone you know to comment on your video, because Indiegogo will show off all those interactions on your crowdfunding page, and no comments is hardly an incentive for backers.
Here’s a formula for creating the best Kickstarter (or Indiegogo) videos.
This point goes to Indiegogo, hands down!
Indiegogo has imposed a limit of 20 reward levels, Kickstarter hasn’t — at least not for the first 50 we’ve tried! 20 reward levels might be more than enough to attract your backers in most cases, but if you want to organize something creative (who knows), it’s always nice to have the freedom to do so.
Kickstarter also doesn’t let you hide old perks. This means that new potential backers will see every single pricing change in the past (but not in the future, of course). Whenever they arrive at your campaign, it will always look like they’re getting the most expensive version!
Another feature Kickstarter doesn’t have, compared to Indiegogo, is the wonderful Secret Perk. With these, you can create tailored perks to send to influencers, or via your direct sales channels. This works great if you want to incentivize your subscribers and provide them with additional limited benefits.
Indiegogo takes this one step further with add-ons. As the name suggests, these perks can be added to any other perk, and combined to give the backers more freedom in choosing the package they want.
One thing Kickstarter does have that Indiegogo doesn’t, is the timed perk. When creating a perk, you can select the start and end dates for it and it will automatically lock when it’s crossed. This is perfect for creating super early bird deals that are only live for the initial 24 hours, for example.
Kickstarter charges all backers at the end of the crowdfunding campaign if the goal is reached, so backers show a pledging intent rather than a pledge and are only charged when the campaign reaches its goal. This means they can change their mind anytime right up until the end of the campaign and cancel the pledge. This translates to an average 5-10% drop in backers for most campaigns.
By comparison, Indiegogo charges the backers instantly. Indiegogo offers so much more that I’d give them 5 extra points, but for the sake of consistency: 1 more point to the pink giant!
Learn how to create better rewards here.
And for a great automation tool, that manages all your rewards on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo, check out Perkfection. Maintaining a constantly limited supply of rewards can increase conversion rates by up to 30%! And for most of crowdfunding’s existence, creators would do that by hand — constantly monitoring their quantities, and adding more when supplies ran low.
But if you run out — let’s face it, you have to sleep sometime — you could lose out on hundreds of new conversions. So, rather than wasting your time constantly monitoring and updating your rewards, Perkfection lets you setup your desired limits and automates your reward topups!
Keeping in touch with your backers is one of crowdfunding’s most important factors. This differentiating feature — compared to typical e-commerce — is one of the things that brings superbackers back time and again.
This connection is generally managed through updates, publicly displayed on the crowdfunding page, messages, and comments.
Both platforms offer the same features, but Kickstarter has a few cards up its sleeve. With Kickstarter, you can save your updates as drafts, and return to them later. And when you send out messages (i.e. emails), they’re not sent for 30 minutes. This might sound like a disadvantage, but it’s really not. How many times have you pressed send, only to realize you misspelled your product’s primary benefit? Or have the old, more affordable price listed? Oh no!
With Indiegogo, on the other hand, emails are sent immediately. And there’s no way to save your updates as a draft. Sure, you could just save them in Google Docs, and copy them over when they’re ready — but we appreciate this added functionality.
Edit it, format it just right, and then send it out whenever you’re ready. Just like we’re sending out our first point Kickstarter’s way!
You can also use tools like CrossProm to work together with other campaigners to cross-promote each others’ campaigns in your updates.
Pico’s Kickstarter campaign made an extra $50,000 through CrossProm, that it would have otherwise missed out on. And doing so is 100% free, and really easy — just find yourself a campaign with something in common, partner up and start sharing your audiences and successes!
CrossProm only works on Kickstarter, as Indiegogo doesn’t like cross promotions on their platform. It’s just as well that we gave Kickstarter the point!
Both platforms allow you to run campaigns between 1 and 60 days long. However, both platforms recommend keeping your campaign length below 30-40 days. The longer it goes, the less urgency your backers feel.
Another similarity they share is the ability to extend your campaign length. Although you can’t surpass 60 days from launch, if you started out with a 30-day campaign, and realized you won’t be hitting your goals on day 29, just open up your campaign editor and extend it by another 30 days (or less).
You can only do this once on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so use your chance wisely.
One benefit Indiegogo offers is the possibility of going to InDemand, and extending your campaign indefinitely. This works for campaigns that you start on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, although the platform fees will be slightly higher if you’re joining from the competition…
It’s a tie! One point to each.
Unique monthly visits show how much traffic these sites get, and it’s an important factor to consider — without visitors, there are no backers.
This statistic is one of ours (calculated from official figures and estimates) and suggests that Indiegogo gets an average of 12 million unique visitors a month. By contrast, Kickstarter attracts between 27-28 million (around 2.3 times as much).
Before I award the point, however, let’s consider this: more traffic isn’t necessarily the best way to go. Each platform has its own categorical strengths. For example, Indiegogo has a thriving technology community while Kickstarter’s gaming community is formidable.
At the end of the day, however, Kickstarter’s massive organic traffic can really help your campaign get going. And if you get a little popular, Kickstarter will start featuring you higher and higher in its search results, bringing you thousands of new potential superbackers looking for the next best thing.
Kickstarter wins in most cases. Point taken!
Similarly, the media loves Kickstarter, so it does get way more coverage than Indiegogo.
The reason for this infatuation is Kickstarter’s strict quality-controlled image. They deliver higher quality products so journalists don’t have to wade through campaign after campaign of rubbish to find a story.
This means that on Kickstarter, your campaign has more opportunities to garner a bit of press coverage (discover some tools that will ease your work during your Crowdfunding PR efforts). If you’re doing PR, your project also stands more chances of getting a positive response from journalists if it’s on Kickstarter.
Big advantage. And one point to Kickstarter.
Remarketing (or Retargeting) is a powerful tool to target your ads (e.g. Facebook ads) to visitors who have already visited your website.
It works by inserting a pixel code into your webpage, where it detects all the visitors and creates an audience of people who visited the specified webpage. You can then show them a separate ad campaign that answers their doubts, gives them additional information, and warms them up further to ensure a conversion. It’s also a powerful tool to discover new audiences, by building lookalikes.
Indiegogo allows campaigners to insert the pixel code and create a Remarketing audience, while Kickstarter doesn’t. Point to Indiegogo!
Back in 2011, Kickstarter released a new Project Dashboard which gives campaigners access to a more powerful analytics system. It shows lots of important stats regarding the campaign.
The first feature is the funding graph to keep you in the loop of what’s going on in the project’s totals.
The biggest — most influential change — Kickstarter released is referrals. Have you heard of them?
Referrals are personalized links that let you define custom audiences and see where backers are coming from. Maybe they saw your Facebook Ad or a blog post. Either way, now you can differentiate them from those who just discovered your campaign page while browsing around Kickstarter. This is a piece of hyper valuable information that’s possible to quantify thanks to referrals.
Though Indiegogo announced its analytics dashboard much later, the long wait was compensated by a series of cool improvements. One of those updates was that since 2013 campaigners can integrate their Google Analytics accounts with their Indiegogo campaigns.
It allows you to monitor traffic in real-time directly from Google Analytics. This definitely makes it easier to hit two birds with one stone. And as Indiegogo’s video hosting is Youtube or Vimeo-based, viewers from those giant video platforms often slide over to the campaign page, impacting your campaign’s reach and awareness.
Nevertheless, Kickstarter wins this point.
Indiegogo provides contact information for backers the moment they hit the “pay” button.
Kickstarter waits until you reach your goal, so you’ll have to conduct a survey and ask your backers to provide you with their contact information if you want any feedback before the campaign closes.
Indiegogo, you win again, my friend!
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo have advanced FAQs.
Any problem or question you might have while running your campaign, is presented in detail on both platforms. And you don’t even have to be logged in to pass on your question to one of their agents. You can easily get your question answered as a guest.
However, none has got 24/7 or telephone support. This often leaves both backers and campaigners on their own in case of urgent questions.
When you do get an answer, however, Indiegogo’s is usually better. Kickstarter is happy just copy-pasting sections of their guidelines in their first few responses, without really analyzing your request as an individual.
Really, they both need to wake up and start doing a better job at responding to their backers and creators. They’re both equally bad at this.
Probably the biggest difference between the two platforms is their approach to money and when you get it.
Kickstarter releases funds only after the campaign reaches its funding goal. Indiegogo provides you with an opportunity to choose between receiving funding as it comes in, or waiting to see if you hit your target. However, Indiegogo also holds onto Reserve Funds in case they need to make refunds.
So you won’t receive that last 5% until you deliver your product to your backers.
As a campaigner, it is much less risky to go with flexible funding (i.e. getting funds immediately), but don’t forget that you have to deliver on your promises, regardless of what you raise.
From a backers standpoint, fixed funding (all or nothing) is way more attractive and comes with a lot less risk, so bear that in mind when making your decision.
But Indiegogo does offer both options, so it gets extra credit for that. As long as you can manage delivery without that final 5%.
Before, there were two types of Indiegogo fees: 4% if you reached your goal and 9% if you didn’t (in case of flexible funding). So what percentage does Indiegogo take now?
They changed their approach in July 2015 and now Indiegogo percentage matches Kickstarter’s flat 5% rate whether you reach your goal or not.
For personal fundraising projects, on the other hand, Indiegogo has no fees — but since we’re not focusing on personal financing, no preferences for this one.
But when you take into account the above 5% that Indiegogo withholds until the campaign’s delivery… Kickstarter has the edge here, again!
For a while, Indiegogo was getting quite a lot of attention for freezing business accounts.
The platform was using Paypal to process payments from backers. And it’s not a secret that Paypal doesn’t like to accept funds for products that are still in the middle of production. That was one of the reasons that prompted Indiegogo to start supporting Stripe for payment processing.
Kickstarter understood the advantages of Stripe over Paypal earlier than Indiegogo. Stripe was far more accommodating. It actually does seem to grasp crowdfunding a bit better. Thus, Indiegogo removed Paypal and left Stripe as the only option to process payments for crowdfunding campaigns on the platform.
Besides platform fees, note that you’ll also have to pay a small fee to the payment processor. This fee depends on where you are, but is usually a nominal amount plus around 2-3%. For both platforms.
Seems like it’s another tie.
An Indiegogo innovation, the In-Demand option allows campaigns to continue collecting funding after their campaign ends (providing you’ve achieved your goal). It’s a move that sees Indiegogo transformed into a marketplace, where you can have your page and enjoy getting funds for your perks. You can also place a project on Indiegogo’s In-Demand after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter has a couple of other features, like Projects We Love. Here, staff members manually pick the projects they like, giving more credibility to the project and a boost in views. One of the staff picked projects then becomes the Project of the Day and gets featured on the front page, so that’s yet more traffic. In 2016 Kickstarter introduced a feature called Kickstarter Live where creators can engage with their backers in a real-time video streaming. They have since removed this feature however. Feel free to explore the other options of Indiegogo vs Kickstarter in our chart.
That was close! Have you been keeping track?
Kickstarter’s score tallies up to 9… and Indiegogo’s? 10!
So what does that mean?
I should point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean the crowdfunding goliath is the worse option. There are plenty of areas where Kickstarter is miles ahead, meaning the best option really does depend on your campaign.
It’s also worth noting that the culture of the different crowdfunding platforms varies somewhat, so it’s important to clearly understand your audience. If they’re more likely to opt for one platform over another, then you need to take that into consideration. Familiarity breeds confidence and makes visitors more open to pledging.
So how do you know which platform is likely to be a better match for your audience? Generally speaking, you’ll tend to find more artists, musicians, filmmakers, geeks and techy gadget makers on Kickstarter. You’ll see more small businesses, controversial ideas, NGOs and mass manufacturing at Indiegogo. And if you own a Fortune 500 company, go with Indiegogo. It even has a special service catering to big brands.
The demographics between the platforms also vary. Maybe surprisingly, Indiegogo has a more female-friendly audience.
Either way, I want to extend a congratulatory note to both of them. In 2019, they finally updated their mobile versions!
Indiegogo’s mobile website is better, it shows a carousel of the rewards first, and always features a buy now button, fixed at the bottom that takes you back to the carousel. Kickstarter used to take you directly to the rewards, now it shows the campaign page as well, and a button that takes you to the rewards page/tab.
We analyzed the monthly data of top 500 projects across two platforms in December 2016 and here’s what we got. Although Kickstarter benefits from 2.3 times more traffic than Indiegogo, the total money raised by the top 500 projects within one month is only 1.4 times as high as in Indiegogo.
In fact, top 500 projects in Kickstarter received $103.3 mln. while top 500 projects in Indiegogo raised $71.7 mln.
If you own a Fortune 500 company, go with Indiegogo. It even has a special service catering to big brands.
The lion’s share in Indiegogo’s funding of the top 500 projects was driven by Technology and Design categories. For analysis we combined these two categories as it’s only the marketing tactics of creators that decide which category to go with. Design and Technology categories within the top 500 projects in Indiegogo raised $60.4 mln. or 84% of the monthly platform’s funding.
While Kickstarter’s similar campaigns raised $58.5 mln. or only 57% of the total funding. Where the rest of the funding went in Kickstarter? I hear you asking. Of course games! Tabletop and Video Game categories within the top 500 campaigns of the platform raised $32.6 mln. or about 32% of the total amount.
For the last comparison, we decided to compare the number of projects that crossed the $1 Million mark on both platforms. As of December of 2016, 18 projects on Kickstarter and 16 projects on Indiegogo crossed the $1 Million mark. The record-breaking project was the tabletop game Kingdom Death, which raised more than $12 mln.
One of our recent campaigns, Bristly Dog Toothbrush raised $466,000 on Kickstarter and another $534,000 on Indiegogo InDemand, becoming the most funded dog campaign in crowdfunding history with $1,000,833 in total.
We will write a detailed case study comparing two platforms with the same project, but for now, if you ask to name three things we liked the most, it would be:
We still love them both and hate their analytics dashboards.
So, before you decide which platform to choose, carefully examine your project’s category, marketing strategy, costs, appropriate funding schemes and goals.