Crowdfunding Website Comparison 2017: Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo

A crowdfunding marketing expert perspective on what platform is better.

The two main crowdfunding platforms have been around for just under a decade, with Indiegogo (2008) first and Kickstarter (2009) following shortly thereafter. On the surface, most would assume the platforms are very much the same, in concept they are but in nearly every aspect they’ve evolved through the years to be much different.

There’s a long list of differentiators between both platforms and a simple search of Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo will highlight everything from fees, to funding duration, to all or nothing vs. flexible funding, etc. Below you’ll find a few lesser known differences that will help you better decide which crowdfunding platform is right for you.


Campaign Review Approval Process

The most significant differentiator impacting everything going forward from launch to backer fulfillment is the 2-3 day Kickstarter Review for projects involving “manufacturing and distributing” of something “complex” where they require to “show backers a prototype” without using “photorealistic renderings”. With Indiegogo, simple enter name, banking, address and press live.


Platform Back-End

Think of iOS (Kickstarter) versus Android (Indiegogo) and you’ll get a good idea of the open/closed relationship of each. With Indiegogo, you can use their public API, receive real-time backer information, insert analytics, tracking and conversion pixels and much more.

With Kickstarter it is possible to achieve what is native to Indiegogo but much more complex to and likely requires a marketing expert, as you only have the ability to insert a Google Analytics tracking ID. Just recently Kickstarter did unveil Custom Referral Tags which is a welcomed and added plus in helping better understand your campaigning efforts but it is still far from what Indiegogo allows and the information a crowdfunding marketing expert hopes for.


Funding Success Rates

Comparing crowdfunding stats is difficult, Indiegogo does not disclose while Kickstarter Stats are open to the public and boast an overall success rate of 35.72%.

Kickstarter is king when it comes to the most-funded campaigns of all time with their top ten campaigns totaling $108,866,609 while Indiegogo’s total $43,256,927. Kickstarter’s top ten most-funded stats are attractive with an average funding amount of $10,886,660 for a top ten most-funded project, but do put into perspective that campaigns raising $100,000+ are in the top 1% of all campaigns launched with those raising $1,000,000+ in the top .06% of the 339,075 launched.

From personal experience of launching roughly 200-250 campaigns with Agency 2.0, Kickstarter is a much harder platform to initially become successful on but if/when you do become “popular” via their algorithm, organic pledges will likely pour in from repeat backers (31% of 12,406,560 total backers) and their loyal superbackers who’ve pledged to 25+ projects.


Backer Refund Policy

Both platforms have recently addressed the refund policy and have taken different approaches, with Indiegogo most recently updating their policy.

In short, Indiegogo has a refund eligibility process with a 10 day window for InDemand and anytime before the campaigns deadline funding ends. With Kickstarter, your credit card is not charged until the end of the campaign and only if the project reaches it's funding goal, allowing backers to cancel a pledge at anytime and refunds can be issued within 14 days of the funding deadline.


Platform Structure

The differentiators on the business side of these platforms couldn't be further apart with Kickstarter stating “we are not a store” but “a way for creators and audiences to work together to make things”, while Indiegogo has shaped up over the years to be exactly opposite with it’s Shipping Now button introduced in 2015 and their InDemand feature to continue raising money indefinitely after deadline funding expires.


In summary, there is a long list of differentiators between Kickstarter and Indiegogo with no solid answer to what crowdfunding platform is better. Both are similar in concept but very unique in their strengths and how they can be leveraged to each individual campaign. Only after a thorough review in the inner details of each project can you assess what platform is right for you.

In order to determine which is better for your upcoming crowdfunding campaign, visit the Kickstarter Handbook, the Indiegogo Help Center or contact a crowdfunding expert to help you better understand the difference and make the best decision for your project.