Recurring vs One-Off Influencer Marketing Campaigns: What Brands Need to Know

Aug 3, 2020 | Advice for Brands, Q+A with K

Do recurring Influencer Marketing campaigns perform better? The Ultimate Question.
To unravel some of the questions and confusion about whether a one-time or recurring campaign model is right for you, we will dive into the pros and cons of both kinds. We’ll point out the common missteps and misconceptions, even some unconventional wisdom around which kind would be most beneficial for your Brand. To see which kind of Influencer Marketing campaign performs best, we need to define what encompasses the word “performs” for you and whether those metrics are long or short-sighted to be focusing on.

Recurring Campaigns – Pros

1. Constant support from Influencers/Ambassadors
Whether your brand is new and budding or well-established, a key to staying top -of-mind for your ideal customers (and to continue reaching new ones) is to have constant support from your Influencer and Ambassador partners. The beauty of a long-term arrangement is that you can lean on them as a built-in support system for whatever new endeavors your Brand begins. When you release new products/services or with any pivots and growth you’re having internally, it’s nice to know you have guaranteed partnership with your talent and content creators that adds a sort of security blanket around your Brand. Some would say it even helps make risk-taking a lot easier because you know that there’s a tribe of people who are in alignment with your Brand’s growth path and are down for the ride.
2. Strengthened brand recognition
The ongoing support of Influencers advocating for your Brand and products, even when you aren’t launching new things is extremely important for several reasons. You want to stay top-of-mind and keep your Brand’s name in people’s mouths on a daily basis. You want people to be talking about your products and come up on conversations more than just during your product launches. It takes time for true brand recognition to occur and transform into brand affinity, then eventually into brand loyalty. The journey you’re taking your prospects and customers on is strengthened tremendously when you have constant advocacy and social proof surrounding your Brand and products with the help of your Influencer partners.
3. Increased and compounding reach across multiple platforms over time
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you have no idea who, when, or how and Influencer’s following could explode or go viral and what implications that might have on you for working with them. This is why we often discourage Brands from being so quick to write off Influencers with “small” followings. (Side note: If you need a quick refresher on the tiers of Influencer Marketing, click here after you’re done reading this). Basically, you never know when someone’s individual success will multiply and grow as the Influencers you’re working with expand their reach over time and on new platforms that allow them to amass new levels of influence very quickly (think Tik Tok and the late Vine or Periscope). Picture it this way: you agree to work with a certain Influencer for a stint of two years, they started with 10,000 followers and now have 85,000 on Instagram and 1 million followers on Tik Tok. Their success and influence expanded and you have the opportunity to cash in on that because you had the foresight to see their potential and create a long-term partnership. It’s really a win-win.
4. Validation and security of market share/presence
When customers see your Brand being mentioned over and over again by the same people, it becomes more natural to the point where it’s almost expected that these Influencers are going to cover and talk about your new product Launches. Think about Makeup Influencers, for example. If some of them in the product review niche of the Beauty community are known for product demos, reviews, and haul videos, their audience will come to expect them to be on top of new releases from the brands they continuously talk about. Almost like a form of journalism where they are a source of information for people and are expected to cover new announcements. This is really positive for you as a Brand because it ensures that your customer base is actually receiving those new product drops or releases from you as the noise of the internet keeps getting louder and more saturated. In turn, you can rest better in that security of knowing you’ve exhausted all possible channels of reaching your ideal customers. Your market share has a better chance of staying steady or even increasing when you have the constant ongoing relationship with Influencers to reinforce your brand’s presence in the “news” of whatever your industry is.

Recurring Campaigns – Cons

1. Possible increase in campaign budget
It’s true, you may need to pay Influencers a bit more for an ongoing campaign or partnership, but rightly so. You are paying for access and security as your Brand evolves. You also need to consider how exclusive of an arrangement you’ll have with the Influencers and how much that exclusivity will cost you. For example, if you’re Coca Cola and you want to pay for an Ambassador to never go behind your back and work with Pepsi, be prepared to understand and run the numbers of how you’ll justify that cost in your marketing budget (that by the way needs to be structured a bit differently with an ongoing partnership).
2. Variable data/factors that could skew campaign evaluation
If a campaign is ongoing, and portions of the campaign are separated by time, across multiple platforms and are activated with multiple Influencers at once, the numbers are going to get a little complicated. It’s not as simple as a very limited time-frame campaign on a single platform that runs its course only once with only one Influencer. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the extra effort- just something to be aware of. When you make reports and evaluate the success of your campaign, just know that you’ll have to take extra measures to make sure the added variables of a recurring campaign being so spread out don’t get lost in translation. It may begin to get harder to tell what variable is most directly translating to sales or ROI for you when there are so many to consider, which brings me to the next point…
3. Internal systems to support ongoing campaign and talent management
The complexity of ongoing campaigns may require additional support to manage the increased number of deliverables and to manage the talent themselves in order to make sure all those deliverables are actually met. That’s agencies companies like The Influencer Grapevine exist- to make your Brand’s campaign execution easier and reliably accurate so that you don’t need to spend time and money hiring an entire new branch of your own company to deal with all this internally. It makes sense that when you have a big task, you go to people who have easy solutions. On that note, if you are picking up what we’re putting down here and are raising your hand as you read this, thinking “Yes, my Brand needs help in this area”, you’re in the right place. You can get more information about how we can provide your Brand with the support and systems you need to effectively manage your campaign (whether it’s ongoing or not) by sitting down with us for a FREE CONSULTATION. It’ll be quick and not an overwhelming process, pinky promise.
Now switching gears, let’s look at one-off campaigns in comparison before you get too amped up about making your campaigns recurring.
1. Reconcile yearly marketing spend
If you’re a Brand or working for a Brand reading this, then you probably know this. But if not, there’s something you should know about how most big Brand marketing budgets work. Most companies set a budget for marketing based on a fiscal year time frame. Marketing departments then have the year to come up with how to best spend that allotted amount of money and if they haven’t spent it all by the end of the year, they often run extra campaigns and miscellaneous efforts to spend the rest, thereby reconciling their yearly marketing efforts against the set budget. It’s called “budget dumping”. All that said, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to dump the rest of your yearly budget, you could run a one-off campaign with that exact set amount you have to spend. It’s a possible option, but whether we actually think this whole concept of budget dumping (instead of proper budgeting in the first place) is another matter….🤐
2. Capitalize on hot trends, seasonal events, and holidays
A great advantage to one-off campaigns is that if they are planned around huge events (think Coachella) or Holidays (think Black Friday and Christmas), they can make a massive impact in a short period of time. It comes down to strategic and effective planning and launching. Capitalizing on trends or pop culture is a technique marketers have used pretty much since the dawn of time and are still doing it today…because it works. People rally around trends and the very simple idea of running a campaign based off of that hot trend or pivotal moment in pop culture is one surefire way to make a one-off campaign super effective.
3. Diversify your ambassador program to test new markets
Something really helpful about not being tied into an ongoing campaign agreement with Influencers is that you have the power and time to test out how well you work together. You need to make an informed decision about your ideal Influencer partner before thinking about making an ongoing campaign agreement. The best examples I can think of are the actors we all came know to know and love that are now considered iconic characters we associate with the brands they represent: Flo from Progressive, the “Are you in good hands?” guy from Allstate, and of course, Jake from State Farm. Albeit these people are hired actors and very very different from Influencers, but I’m willing to bet that on day one these people were hired to do just ONE commercial in order to see how people would respond. You can very rarely predict exactly how effective something will be without trying it first. You also can’t always compare what Brand X does to what Brand Y does when it’s apples or oranges. Point being, running one-off campaigns FIRST allow you to really test the waters in new markets, with new products, with different people to see what combination will stick the best. You can then choose to prolong that relationship and decide whether the results tell you it’s smart to create an ongoing campaign.
4. More controlled testing and data evaluation
You get much more manageable data to work with and a better controlled testing ground to try new things when you have a one-off campaign. It makes reporting a little faster and more cut and dry. If the primary goal in your company is to trim some of the fat so to speak, get rid of distractions and hone in one exactly which Influencer partners drive the most results for you, a one-off campaign could be the way to go in the short term.
5. The Desire to “Perform” Well
This may be a little unconventional and even controversial, but when most professional and serious Influencers’ feet are held to the fire, they may deliver better results. It’s sort of like if you were taking a final exam in school and you knew you only had one shot to get it right versus knowing you’d be able to retake the exam multiple times til you got a perfect score. Same sort of thing here. If you take “performance” and really break it down into solid expectations and deliverables, together with your Influencer partner(s), you can actually increase with more accuracy and predictability the performance of your one-off campaign.

One-Off Campaigns – Cons

1. Possibly stunted reach
If you only run a campaign once, it stands to reason that you have an opportunity cost of missing out on a crazy amount of reach that you’d see over time with an ongoing campaign. Algorithms change, messaging improves, product quality gets better, more testimonials are collected, Influencers grow, more market share is secured over time. It’s impossible to do that with one single campaign. If that were possible, McDonalds would have opened its doors in 1955 with a simple marketing campaign and been done with it. That’s just not the world we live in. So many companies are vying for customer’s attention and new obstacles get tossed into the mix all the time, so it would be short-sighted to stunt your opportunity to reach more people by running a one-off campaign with no further iteration, improvement, or plans to run another one that’s better.
2. Lack of relationships
Something that comes up a lot on this blog is the relationship between Brands and Influencers and how you walk the tightrope of a healthy professional relationship. What we do know is that hiring an Influencer to do one campaign with you and then stopping the connection there can result in a number of unwanted effects. It could come across a little sleazy, impersonal, or could cause the Influencer to think they did something horribly wrong to deserve a cold shoulder. Losing out on the opportunity to grow a real partnership with Influencers is an unfortunate effect of one-off campaigns that may be too costly for you depending on the kind of Brand you have and what you calm your values or Brand pillars are.
3. Less credibility for Brands and Influencers
Speaking of coming off sleazy, the last thing you want is to have your customers feeling like your marketing efforts are insincere or forced. If an Influence only mentions you once and then never again, it doesn’t look good on them or you and your audience definitely feels the inauthenticity there. You may be risking lack of brand integrity or credibility in your niche if you become known as a one-mention wonder. Again, depending on the kind of products or services you offer, it may be different for you and not affect your credibility at all (like if you are a non-profit with a specific charity $$ amount you want to hit), but know that you do run the risk with one-off campaigns more so than with recurring campaigns.
4. Not keeping the attention of deal customers or staying top of mind
This is the biggest con and biggest bummer about one-off campaigns because nobody wants to be a flash in the pan. As soon as you stop marketing, you’re making more room in the market for competitors to serve your customers instead of you. You may see tremendous results from a one-off campaign but the attention of your customers is waning and they move on very quickly. No matter what your situation is, not even TRYING to keep your Brand in the minds of your customers will prove to be as effective as catching one fish and hoping other fish will hop out of the water and into your net of their own free will without any more work on your part.


Now we’ve definitely driven home some of the pros and cons of recurring vs on-off Influencer marketing campaigns with some real-talk. It’s a lot to think about! Lots of factors to take into account and it’s not always super clear which one would work best for where you are in business and what the landscape of the market looks like for your Brand right now or what it will look like over the next year. We get that it can be tough and that’s exactly why we provide helpful content like this that can help you make better choices. We hope you’ve found this helpful and would love to invite you to keep this convo going with us👉 over on our Instagram.
If you are like “wait, wait, I still have questions and need more guidance”, we’re happy to help. Head over to this form here to apply for a FREE CONSULTATION with us so that we can get those burning questions answered and get you on your way to a better Influencer Marketing strategy with confidence!!