Tableau Dataviz: Kickstarter

Jul 2012

Tableau Dataviz: Kickstarter

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Kickstarter has been making waves in recent months as the premier place for crowd funding.  Projects range from big to small, from purely entertainment to potentially life changing. There’s a lot to love about this dream factory.

However, there’s been controversy as well.  All projects are not always what they appear and some remain skeptical that lofty claims will not match what is delivered.  On top of that, Kickstarter is far from a “for sure” thing, leaving many dreamers to find alternative funding when they fail to gather the attention of the crowds.  In an effort to provide greater transparency and insight, Kickstarter has released data that is updated daily regarding the many campaigns that have been run on the site.

The stats as released are in 3 simple, but separate text tables.  This is how we find most data on-site with clients, available, but in a poor format for generating insight.  Looking at even one category requires opening up the 3 tables and scrolling around to do the comparison.  To improve it, we had to do some data preparation and use the data reshaping tool before unleashing Tableau on it.  We pulled the data into Excel, normalized the field values (putting them all in dollars instead of in thousands or millions), and transformed into a format that would be easier to utilize in Tableau.  In the end, we ended up with two datasets (one overview and one with details about success or failure) and used data blending to combine them.

Hopefully this Viz helps you gain a little bit of insight into how Kickstarter works and whether or not that project you’re eyeing (or launching) will pull through:


July 19, 2012


Great work on this

Great work on this visualization. The timing is great as I've been explaining Kickstarter and crowd sourcing and have also started dabbling with Tableau. Your finished graphic is much better than I could have hoped for in my first attempt.

I wonder if you can pull non static data. Can you call the data directly from the Kickstarter site to have this automatically update? For example the total number of projects is called on the site with the following. Can you design the Tableau to pull data from the website and automatically update itself?


July 19, 2012


Would love to

Thanks for the feedback! Updating it regularly has been something I've definitely mulled over. It wouldn't be too difficult to screen scrape Kickstarter's data page (, but the problem would be getting that to Tableau Public. Unlike a private Tableau Server, there's no way that we can schedule a refresh of the extract or the automatic publishing of the report file. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but probably a lot more work and hacking then a blog post warrants. If Kickstarter ever shows interest, though, we'll see what we can do! :)