It’s A Partnership Showdown. How Do One-Off Campaigns and Long-Term Influencer Collaborations Stack Up?

When starting to plan for influencer marketing campaigns, one question that always arises is whether to work with a creator in a one-off activation or to partner with them in a long-term collaboration. It’s important to determine your campaign objectives so you can make an educated decision on which route to go. 

Depending on your influencer marketing goals, you might want consistent brand representatives who can be activated multiple times. Regardless of your method, you can potentially reach a bigger audience by distributing your campaign budget among many different creators across different tiers of influence. But before you make the call, consider the following pros and cons.


What Is A One-Off Influencer Activation?

A one-off activation, like the name suggests, is an influencer collaboration that occurs one time only. This was once a popular way to partner with a wide array of creators for short, singular stints. However, these types of collaborations are proven to be less effective in the long run. That said, some brands may want to consider one-off activations as a supplement to longer campaigns. Let’s get into the pros vs. cons of one-off activations. 


      • You can focus on one singular event at a time. They are especially effective for holidays or shopping days like Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, etc. 
      • You can promote a specific discount or sale that’s only running for a limited time or even a new product launch.
      • Planning campaigns one at a time can sometimes be easier, especially if you have a smaller team focused on influencer marketing efforts.
      • One-off activations can sometimes allow for easier campaign reporting given the set dates of content creation.
      • It’s usually easier to plan campaigns in one-off capacities if you don’t yet have a consistent budget allocated to influencer marketing campaigns


      • Most of the time, there’s no exclusivity in an influencer’s contract, meaning that your brand activation can be lost among their other sponsorships.
      • One-time product integrations are at the mercy of social platforms’ ever-changing algorithms; there’s no guarantee that creators’ audiences will be fully exposed to the sponsored content if it’s only showing once on their feeds.
      • Sometimes more challenges arise throughout one-off campaigns — i.e. products being shipped to influencers could arrive late, causing content delays/posting past the specific time period aligning with holidays or shopping days. 


What Is A Long-Term Influencer Activation? 

A long-term activation or contract with an influencer is a strategic move in which content creators produce materials for a brand over the course of a few months or even years, depending on the program. Here are the pros vs. cons of longer collaborations. 


      • Long-term contracts build credibility and trust with an influencer and their audience.
      • Brand recognition becomes stronger when partnering with the same creators over a long period of time.
      • Frequently, long-term programs result in more budget and creative flexibility over time.
      • You can benefit from economies of scale, or proportionate cost savings gained by an increased level of production, when negotiating rates with creators over a longer time period. 
      • Long-term contracts provide a more consistent paycheck for creators.
      • Creators are able to plan their content calendars far in advance, helping to support their work-life balance.


      • Long-term contracts require more proactive planning and higher time investment up front.
      • Sourcing creators for months-long campaigns takes significantly longer than one-off campaigns.
      • Long-term partnerships need to be constantly evaluated to make sure that the creators involved are successfully contributing to your brand’s objectives. You may need to end relationships with certain creators and add new ones into your program, which takes time.  
      • The content’s relevance runs the risk of diminishing over time if the campaign is not properly planned out.


The Right Move(s)

84% of content creators prefer long-term brand partnershipsAccording to our Ask The Creators survey report, 84% of creators prefer participating in long-term collaborations. Overall, we recommend that all brands establish a long-term influencer collaboration because of its ability to help brands connect more holistically with their target audience. It’s a move toward an all-encompassing strategy that positions creators at the foundation of your influencer marketing efforts. That’s not to say that your brand shouldn’t run one-off activations alongside your long-term program — as we’ve stated above, both have different pros and cons.

It’s up to you to decide which method is best for your brand — perhaps a combination of both tactics is a smart move given your objectives. Consider how your target audience will interact with creator content. Decide if you’re more interested in building a larger brand story with creators positioned as steady collaborators or whether you’d rather take your chance with a singular activation — or both! The creator world is your oyster.


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