Timing

Notice the liberal use of “try”s in this section. That’s because timing is not that important. Great projects will get funded any time of the year. These suggestions may not sync up with your planned schedule, but remember, you don’t have to launch today. The caveat is that if everyone starts following these specific timing suggestions, other days / times might become more advantageous because of the lack of competition.


Estimate your shipping date

An example schedule:

- The campaign should take around 35 days for first timers and 15-25 days for serial creators, depending on the scale of your project. A longer campaign does not equal more success. 15 - 35 days is plenty to get the word out. Also, the shorter the campaign, the sooner you can ship.

- Integrating the ideas from backers and finalising the designs can take around 1 month, also depending on scale. Receiving the funds from Kickstarter takes around 2 weeks, but that’s included in this period.

- The back-and-forth between the factory until you get a preview sample you are satisfied with can take 2-3 months, depending on your product and how far you live from the factory

- Tooling for the factory can take 4-6 weeks, depending how custom your product is. Many factories have to design the tools that mould the plastic components.

- Production time depends on the complexity of your product and the availability of the factory (factories make a bunch of stuff and have to find time for your product). Let’s say it takes 1.5 months.

- Freight shipping time depends on a lot of things. A China-US example: Travel time would be around 20 days to the west coast (after which the cargo is put on freight trains) and around 38 days for the east coast. There’s more to it than that, however. As someone put it: When your game arrives at port in China, it will not ship right away. These companies keep costs down by consolidating shipments within the same containers (see The Wire, Season 2). So don’t be surprised if your pallets sit on the boat for a few weeks. Also, when they arrive at port in the US, allow for about a week for the games to pass customs. Sometimes it’ll happen much faster than that, but prepare for the worst. I also found a tip for adding a 2 week padding for customs, so let’s go with 38 days and 2 x 2 weeks at the ports, coming out to a little over 2.25 months

- Shipping to individual backers from the warehouse takes about 1 week

This example comes out to around 11 months using worst case scenarios so we have ample buffer for delays. This estimate is incredibly rough and the estimate for your might come out to be very different.

Account for Chinese holidays

That's because they can be two weeks long. Naturally this only applies if you manufacture in China. Note that this is missing from the example above.
Holidays and observances in China in 2020
Public holidays in China - Wikipedia

Try to launch on 12 PM EST

That hits everyone in the UK / Euro zones when they’re just getting home from work and gets all the early risers in the west who’re going to work or have been at work being bored and surfing.

Since the majority of your backers are going to be from the US, even if you are a European creator, it makes sense to launch according to Eastern Standard Time (EST).

As someone put it, The key is that you want as many people as possible to see your project on the Recently Launched section of Kickstarter.

Try to launch at the start of the week

One study shows that revenue generated from online shopping is the most on Monday. The same study also shows that the second most lucrative day is Sunday.

Another school of thought is that people tend to have more downtime at work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after catching up with work on Monday and scrambling to finish all their work on Friday. That means if you start on Tuesday, you can ride the whole 3-day period where people may pay more attention to stuff other than work.

These can change from industry to industry and you may have more specific knowledge about yours.

Try to launch on a payday

Even though backer credit cards aren’t charged until the campaign is over, people still feel a little wealthier on payday, so plan on launching your project around the 1st or 15th of the month. More on that here: The Astounding Payday Effect on Kickstarter

Try to launch between March and October

Kickstarter revenue breakdowns point to a period between March and October where the number of successful Kickstarter campaigns are higher.

Avoid launching on the same day as a similar product

You will cannibalise each other's sales and one (possibly both) of you will suffer.
For board game creators, you can take part in Jamey Stegmaier's initiative of putting your launch date in this Google Sheet and checking other projects around that day to make sure you don't conflict. This way we all benefit. Kickstarter Launch and End Dates 2.0

Mind the season

Thinking about your product's seasonality might also be worth it. Problems your seasonal product solves are more apparent in the given season. People are more receptive to a new kind of fan in the heat of summer.

Try to deliver in the same year

No matter how far it actually is, seeing next year as the shipping date seems further away and may deter some backers.

End on a favorable day

You’re going to get an influx of backers in the final 48 hours (this isn’t a given, but if your project has evolved over time and looks fantastic by the end, many of the people that clicked the Remind Me button will be compelled to join in the fun at the end), so the timing for this is key.

Again, it can’t hurt to aim for payday.

Another option is to end at or around 11:59pm EST on Thursday. The reasoning is mostly the same as with the start date.

Or, it might be more important to end when people are home.

Do NOT ship in November or December

November and December are undesirable for a number of reasons, all of them related to the holidays:

-  The volume of shipments is exponentially higher during December. Ports are crowded, customs are backlogged, fulfillment companies are swamped. The chance of delay is far greater.

-  If you promise to deliver by Christmas and your shipment gets delayed (it probably will), you will ruin Christmas.

-  A lot of people travel over the holidays and cannot receive your package.

-  If you are shipping to retail stores, your packages need to arrive way before Christmas so that people have a chance to buy it.

-  It's more likely for your package to be damaged or stolen. Couriers and fulfillment companies have a lot on their plate and may not do justice for your packages in handling them. Apparently, the sight of a lot of unattended boxes also grows the appetite of porch pirates.

BOARD GAMES Be mindful of events and conventions

Do not launch or end during big events and conventions, where a big part of your target audience might be occupied otherwise. Or... do the opposite and organise a launch / end party at the convention.

Order shipping boxes before production

If you are doing manual fulfillment it will take a long time to assemble all of those shipping boxes, so order them well in advance so you can have them assembled before your product is manufactured.

Offer scheduled delays

If you simply cannot avoid shipping during the holidays, first, stop and please think about your life choices. Then reschedule your campaign. Barring that, you can offer a delayed shipment. Provide backers a checkbox in the post-campaign survey (more on that later) where they can signal that they won't be home during the holidays and instead would like to get their packages in January. You can then send those packages in a second wave of shipments.

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