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How Long Should You Run Your Influencer Marketing Campaign?
Picking the right length for an influencer campaign timeline can be tricky. Our guide is here to tell you how long to run a campaign if you want to see the best results.
“How long should an influencer marketing campaign last?”
This is a question we get asked all the time.
It’s no secret that influencer campaigns are a must-do for consumer brands. If you're already partnering with creators, it's safe to say you're on the right track.
But the tricky part is determining your influencer campaign timelines and "optimal" duration.
Like with any marketing campaign, you should maximize your time and cash spent. Managing influencers involves a lot of moving pieces which makes the question of duration complicated.
We’ve worked with thousands of creators and know firsthand how long it takes to see results from an influencer campaign. Below we break down expectations and tips for managing your timeline.
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What Is the “Optimal” Length of an Influencer Campaign?
First thing’s first: there’s no magic number for how long influencer campaigns should be.
Like any marketing channel, you have to invest long enough to test and optimize before seeing results. Maximum results mean momentum and time.
Brands that see legitimate results view influencers as part of their holistic marketing strategy and not a quick blip on the radar.
The biggest mistake we see? Brands not committing enough time to see results at all.
Throwing money at any tactic and expecting instant returns will result in disappointment. Influencer campaigns are no exception.
Based on what we’ve seen firsthand, an “always-on” influencer strategy is best for brands.
Consider that 77% of brands have a dedicated influencer budget. This high level of commitment isn’t a reflex — it’s a long-term investment.
Think about marketing channels like SEO or inbound that are ongoing. These tactics require an upfront time and fine-tuning once in progress. Similarly, creator campaigns typically see steady growth before they scale to their full potential.
If your campaigns are always-on, you keep positive results rolling in for the long term. This includes ongoing influencer content, social proof and support for your sales efforts.
The takeaway? Approaching influencers as you would your inbound or ad strategies.
If your efforts are paying off and generating quality leads, you don’t slow down. Instead, you keep the momentum going. Apply the same school of thought to your influencer campaigns.
What Does a Long-Term Influencer Campaign Look Like?
With any ongoing marketing tactic, you have big-picture goals broken up into smaller campaigns.
Let’s say your goal is to build brand awareness and increase your share of voice on Instagram. Then, consider the individual influencer campaigns needed to support your goals.
For example, one month you might promote a product launch on Instagram. The next month you might run an Instagram giveaway featuring creators. Then, you might run a multi-month user-generated content campaign to source reviews of your product.
Over time, these campaigns build upon each other. As content rolls in, you can reassess your strategy based on goals and results.
Here’s a sample influencer campaign timeline that’s common among the brands we work with:
- ~3 months to test which types of content and promotions earn the most engagement
- ~6 months to optimize campaign messaging and general influencer marketing strategy
- ~1 year to reach peak results for engagement, awareness and sales
“Influencer marketing is part art, part science,” Kate Milton, VP of Customer Success at Statusphere points out. “If you want to see immediate purchases but haven’t built enough brand awareness for your creators and their audiences, you’re going to need a high volume of content to make it happen.”
Why Short-Term Influencer Marketing Campaigns Don’t Work for Most Brands
We’ll bite: it’s easy for us to say that long-term campaigns are best.
But there’s a reason why businesses that work with influencers aren’t on-again, off-again.
Notice how short-term influencer promotions are pretty rare among brands? Here’s why:
The shorter your campaign, the smaller your potential results. This includes potential pieces of content earned and how many people you can reach.
The more you invest, the bigger the payoff. The less you invest… you get where we’re going with this.
We’ve done the math: it takes ~70 hours to earn 30 influencer posts with a product gifting campaign. Given the time involved, brands won't see maximum ROI on a short-term campaign basis. Like many marketing initiatives, investing too little can cost you – in some cases by gains of 50%.
Short-Term Campaign Drawbacks
- You spend time building relationships with creators, only to put your collabs on pause.
- You learn lessons during the campaign but don’t get the opportunity to correct them (think: audience insights, content that hits with your audience, etc).
- You earn a sudden burst of mentions, engagement or even traffic but it’s short-lived. Once your campaign is up, so are those results.
- You start building brand awareness for your creators’ audiences, only to lose that momentum.
- You lose share of voice to competitors running always-on campaigns.
- You take yourself out of the numbers game that social media often is. The more people you have posting about your brand, the more word-of-mouth, social proof and ad-ready content is apt to happen.
Again, influencer marketing should be an investment in your annual marketing plan.
Most brands dedicate between 10% and 20% of their marketing budgets to creator campaigns but that number is rapidly rising.
If you can’t invest at that level quite yet, just be sure to adjust your expectations accordingly. Short-term gifting campaigns with a handful of creators can yield results, though maybe not the ones you might expect.
Here’s what you could get out of a short-term campaign:
- Photo and video UGC
- A short-term bump in followers and engagement
- Product feedback (or reviews, if requested)
And here’s what you shouldn’t expect (particularly with less time and only a handful of influencers):
- Long-term brand awareness
- An increase in traffic and sales
- Increased word-of-mouth or post-campaign social mentions
- Better rankings in social search
- Ad-ready user-generated content to supplement your paid social strategy
- Positive reviews and testimonials to use throughout your marketing funnel
Sample Influencer Marketing Timeline: What to Expect
We recommend kicking campaigns off with a minimum 90-day initiative to establish a foundation for growth. This is your sort of “testing phase” to experiment and gather data. After those first three months, you can make changes to your strategy based on your initial results and scale accordingly.
Below is a snapshot of how to approach your influencer marketing campaigns as they scale.
Important: these timelines assume that you're doing the bulk of the legwork yourself rather than relying on an influencer platform to do the heavy lifting related to your campaigns.
How to Approach Your First 30 Days
- Map out the goals for your creator campaigns. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive sales or grow your social media following?
- Identify the product or offer you’d like to promote, and which platform(s) you’d like to try first.
- Draft your first creative brief and define what you want your creators’ posts to look like.
- Research creators and dig into your industry’s influencer content. Consider who your “ideal” influencer is in terms of their demographics and audience. Reach out to them.
- Familiarize yourself with platform-specific trends. How are influencers in your space promoting products on TikTok? Instagram? Is there anything you want your own creators to emulate?
- Send out your products, field any influencer communications that come up, and get your first round of posts back from creators.
- At this stage, expect some trial and error! Lessons learned early on will be invaluable for your future campaigns.
How to Approach the 60 to 90-Day Mark
- Review the influencer content that comes in. Really put it under the microscope. Break down what you like and don’t like with your team. Brainstorm what needs to change to improve future posts.
- Find common threads between your top-performing content and creators. For example, you might find that Reels totally crush it versus other types of Instagram posts.
- Refine your strategy now that you have an idea of what’s working and what’s not. Are creators following your briefs? Does your messaging make sense? Make the necessary changes before your next round of posts.
- Identify creators you want to re-engage with for future collabs to get more of the content you love.
- Reach out to creators for collabs and get more content back.
How to Adapt to a Longer-Term, Always-On Campaign
- Let’s say you have a few campaigns under your belt and a better idea of what “good” influencer content looks like for your brand. Now you can run more specific and targeted campaigns related to your goals. This might include word-of-mouth campaigns mixed with 30-day sprints for things like product launches.
- Cross-promote your influencer content across your marketing channels. Consider how your content can be repurposed to support your ads, emails and more.
- Continue monitoring results and keep a close eye on your analytics. Is engagement going up? What about your reach? Is your campaign content exceeding expectations?
- Once you have a handle on your campaigns, scale your efforts to ramp up your results.
What Results Can You Achieve With Always-On Campaigns?
“If your main goal is brand awareness, an ‘always-on’ approach is optimal,” says Kate. “That means you engage and promote influencer posts consistently throughout the year.”
Chances are you’re starting to see the pattern here: more time means more benefits.
Longer-term campaigns are more likely to help you achieve meaningful results. This includes reaching the largest possible audience, turning influencers into brand advocates and optimizing your ads. This includes running creator content as ads through whitelisting on Instagram and TikTok.
Again, influencer marketing represents an investment that can touch your entire marketing funnel. If you’re banking on short-term results without putting in the legwork, you’re going to be disappointed.
If you have a compelling product, vetted influencers and a vision for your campaign, you’re going to set yourself up for success long-term.
Brands that use Statusphere's software tick the boxes above by partnering with relevant influencers from our vetted creator community. Using 250+ unique, first-party data points, we match brands with influencers to earn guaranteed content at scale.
Don’t just take our word for it, either. Check out the results Curlsmith saw from their 10-month creator campaign with Statusphere. With 400,000+ interactions and over 13 million people reached, these numbers highlight the power of playing the long game.
“Influencer marketing is a long-term play,” notes Kate. “The best influencers tell a story. They provide value and get customers excited. With short-term campaigns, you likely won’t have enough time to build toward these goals.”
How Long Does It Take to See Results From an Influencer Marketing Campaign?
The short answer? It depends!
Building awareness and driving sales take time. Despite what critics say, it doesn’t take forever.
And as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
(However, you can speed up the process by earning hundreds of guaranteed posts with our platform!)
If you’re looking for a flood of leads as soon as influencers post, you need to rethink your expectations. Influencer campaigns are apples and oranges to conversion campaigns on TikTok or Instagram.
Note that influencer marketing campaigns often experience a sort of snowball effect when it comes to results and engagement. Once your creators and their content start picking up momentum, positive results soon follow.
Imagine how different Curlsmith’s campaign would have been if it had been limited to two or three months versus ten. It pays to be patient!
And while influencers can produce amazing results, they aren’t miracle workers!
If your current marketing strategy is underperforming or broken, don’t expect influencers to fix it by themselves. Remember: influencers are a piece of your overall marketing efforts. They aren’t a replacement for an actual strategy.
In terms of campaign results that you can see ASAP, consider the following metrics and KPIs that ramp up as your influencer content comes in:
- # of people reached
- # of posts created
- # of @mentions or #hashtag uses
- # of traffic to your website
- # of new followers
“Once your influencers’ content is live, you’ll start to see engagement metrics tick up,” Kate says. “Don’t expect to dive into purchases and ROI metrics right away, though. Those can take longer to drive depending on your audience and content (TikTok videos versus IG Reels or Stories).”
How to Streamline Your Campaigns and See Results Faster
If you want to see the positive impact of influencer marketing, be prepared to play the long game.
Because the more time you commit to your campaigns, the more results you’ll see. This includes repurposable influencer content, better rankings in social search and visibility with your target audience.
There’s no denying that scaling creator campaigns in-house requires a ton of legwork, though.
Again, that’s where Statusphere can help!
Our software streamlines and optimizes the most time-consuming tasks related to influencer marketing. This includes matchmaking, fulfillment, reporting and content rights management.
When all of the above are off your plate and in the hands of our expert-driven platform, you can see a notable ROI from influencer marketing faster.
Want to learn more about how our platform works? Chat with one of our experts to see how Statusphere can earn you authentic, rights-ready content at scale in a fraction of the time.
This article was first published in August 2022. It was last updated May 27, 2023.