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Want a successful Kickstarter? Pay attention to these key trends

The road to bringing your dreams to life in the 21st century is generally paved with crowdfunding backers. In the digital age, platforms like Kickstarter have made it easier than ever to attain that first dose of capital needed to bring your grand concepts to fruition and to market, and in its six short years of existence, the public-benefit corporation has racked up some pretty impressive statistics. According to its own statistics, more than $2 billion have been pledged to Kickstarter projects, successfully funding 98,161 ideas. But as monumental as that sounds, these successes represent just 37 percent of all Kickstarters. So what is separating the funded from the failures?

The experts at Today’s Coaching delved a bit deeper into Kickstarter data and discovered a few key trends that seem consistent across well-funded projects. By analyzing 205,000 Kickstarter project (77,000 successful and 128,000 unsuccessful), the team came across a number of commonalities that just may help you create (and successfully fund) the next million-dollar idea.

Differences between Kickstarter wins and losses manifest themselves at the onset of the process. Interestingly enough, projects that sought to raise around $10,000 were best funded. Conversely, those that hoped to raise more money from the outset often fell significantly short of their goals. The lesson here, Today’s Coaching says, is to be realistic with funding expectations. “Asking for too much money may be seen as a sign that you don’t know what you’re doing,” the group writes. “Make sure the features you’re offering are on par with similar projects and that the rewards will be enticing to backers.”

Related: Kickstarter says only 9 percent of projects don’t work out

Another key aspect of successful projects was their popularity on social media, particularly Facebook. Funded projects were shared 3.5 times more frequently than their non-funded counterparts, and Today’s Coaching recommends “A high-quality demonstration video or infographic” to set your project apart. And if your project falls in the rather broad category of “technology” or the slightly more specific “games,” you can expect social media users to go pretty crazy over your ideas.

Curiously enough, when examining the 10 most successful categories within Kickstarter, it was the arts that far and away performed best. Dance, Indie Rock, Theater, Classical Music, Anthologies, and Country & Folk all had over 60 percent of their projects funded. In fact, all but two (tabletop games and DIY electronics) of the top 10 most popular projects lie in the arts sphere.

But when it comes to the most-funded categories, the suspects are more predictable. 3D printing and Wearables take the cake, with a median of $57,600 and $57,200 respectively for successful projects. Surprisingly, restaurants and footwear also break into the top 10 here.

So what does the worst on Kickstarter? In terms of percentage of successful projects within categories, you may want to avoid apps, food trucks, woodworking, and apparel. And while restaurants tend to raise a lot of money, they’re not often that successful.

And if you’re looking to crochet, make stationary, pottery, or anything more Etsy-like, don’t count on backers shelling out much cash on your behalf.

So there you have it — the do’s and don’ts of Kickstarter in a nutshell. May the new year bring some new funding to your (new or old) ideas.