Understanding the Costs of Running a Kickstarter Campaign: A Comprehensive Guide with Real-Life Examples

Marek Ciesla
2 min readMar 8, 2024

Launching a Kickstarter campaign is an adventure filled with excitement and challenges. As one of the most common inquiries, I’m often asked, “How much does it cost to run a Kickstarter campaign?” The answer isn’t straightforward, as it varies based on several factors, including services used and the nature of the project. However, some general estimates include:

  • $5,000 — $25,000 for Asset Creation: This covers the production of your promotional content, including videos, photos, and written material. For instance, Pebble Time, a smartwatch project, invested in high-quality video production that helped them raise a staggering $20 million.
  • $5,000 — $25,000 for Prelaunch Activities: Building up a few thousand leads before officially launching on Kickstarter is crucial. The Coolest Cooler campaign, for example, created buzz well before the launch, contributing to its $13 million success.
  • $0 — $15,000 on Earned Media (PR): Depending on your ability to catch the media’s eye, you might spend nothing or invest in getting the word out. Exploding Kittens, a card game, leveraged viral social media promotion, significantly reducing their need for a PR budget.
  • 10% of Total Advertising Spend: You’ll likely allocate this to various advertising platforms to drive traffic to your Kickstarter page.
  • 5% Commission for Ad Management: If you hire experts to manage your ad campaigns, they’ll take a commission from your advertising spend.

Besides these costs, there are other essential factors to consider when preparing for your Kickstarter journey:

  • Understanding Your Audience: You must research and comprehend your target demographic’s preferences, which involves conducting surveys, gathering feedback, and analyzing data.
  • Crafting a Compelling Message: Effective storytelling, emotional appeal, and highlighting your product's unique features and benefits are crucial. I often use the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework to craft such narratives.
  • Timing Your Campaign: Align your Kickstarter campaign with market seasonality. For example, smart bike light might be unveiled at cycling conventions, with flyers containing a QR code that directs to the prelaunch site.
  • Real-Life Example: The Oculus Rift VR headset campaign strategically aligned its Kickstarter with the rising interest in virtual reality, contributing to its overwhelming success.

To wrap it up, envision your Kickstarter campaign as an investment in the long-term triumph of your product or service. With meticulous planning, persuasive communication, and a targeted strategy, your Kickstarter can create a buzz, build momentum, and propel sales and growth.

Remember, success stories like the E-Paper Watch, which evolved into the Pebble Technology Corporation, are testaments to the power of a well-executed Kickstarter campaign.

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Marek Ciesla

Entrepreneur, Founder of Woolet co ., ALLCinema (allplayer, catzilla/allbenchmark), MIMIGroup, and Thorskan 3D. MBA Oxford Brooks — Intermittent Fasting 101