How to fight back against audience fatigue

Long-term partnerships are a marathon, not a sprint. Preparation is key to avoiding creative & audience fatigue.

Read time: 5 minutes 46 seconds

Picture it:

You sign a yearly contract with a new creator. They nailed the trial. They’re full of ideas. Content is great. Engagement is through the roof. Their followers are asking questions & dropping comments. 

Fast-forward 3 months. The content feels meh. There’s less enthusiasm, and engagement is close to rock bottom. It feels like the creator is just checking a box. (There’s also a noticeable lack of exclamation marks in their communication with you.) 

This is the risk of long-term partnerships, and the downturn can very often be attributed to creative and audience fatigue. Here’s what it looks like if we plot it onto a graph and pop in a few emojis👇

I’m Eleni from Modash, bringing you the second part of our two-part series on long-term partnerships. If you missed the first one about building trials into your process, you can find it here.

Long-term partnerships are a marathon, not a sprint.

I’m not a runner, let alone of marathons, but I’m told that marathon runners plan and prepare for the inevitable fatigue that will surely hit them squarely in the face around the 32nd kilometer (or mile 20).

Without any guardrails and interventions to counter the natural human behavior of losing steam and stamina, your long-term partnerships will crawl to the finish line without performing the way they could have.  

So what are the gel packs, energy bars, proper training, and hydration of long-term partnerships?

What can you, as the marketer, do to fight against the fatigue? I’ve got a few ideas from marketers who have been there, seen that, and earned their medals.

Tip #1  Switch activation frequency and messaging

Don’t wait until creative fatigue has set in or audiences are skipping over an activation to intervene. Instead, design your program to prevent fatigue from settling in to begin with by customizing your messaging and frequency of activations.

Change up your messaging to follow the customer journey

Audiences don’t get tired of hearing about your brand. They get tired of hearing the same message about your brand. 

Most influencer campaigns have a main talking point, a specific product line, or an evergreen value prop. When working with long-term partners, you have the space and time to tell a different story about your brand. 

Dmitri Cherner, Influencer Marketing Expert formerly at Ruggable & OneSkin, told us.

For long-term partners, you'll want them to start mentioning the other value props and even come up with some more nuanced ones that aren't typically shared in the brief. After a while, the audience already knows the main talking points. So creatively, you want to focus on what comes after. For example, experience after long-time use and how the product holds up over time. 

Long-term partners give you an opportunity to show the complete customer journey through the lens of the creator.

Think about the different touchpoints of a typical customer journey. Think about the different stages of the funnel. What kind of messaging works for awareness, for consideration, for sales?

Could you show how the exchange process works? Or, how to look after your product? You could introduce “sneak peeks” into new and upcoming products.

Each product and service has a unique story to tell. Don’t miss the chance that long-term partners offer you to tell that full story.

Customize the frequency of activations

Not every collaboration has to have a weekly or monthly cadence for one year to work.  

Ben Williams, Influencer Team Manager at Blast, suggests leveraging your long-term partners by spacing out your activations based on seasonality.

You don’t need to activate all your partners every single month. Consider activating strategically at key points in the year. For example, Black Friday, end-of-season sales, (etc.) That way, each post has a high impact, motivation stays high, and there’s no unnecessary fatigue throughout the year.

Playing with the frequency of activations and your messaging goes a long way in preventing creator and audience fatigue.

Tip #2: Partner with high-growth creators

Another way to avoid audience fatigue is to work with high-growth creators. When creators are constantly adding new followers, you don’t have to worry about becoming repetitive.

Ben from Blast favors this approach and used it when he was at the luxury online retailer FARFETCH.

Influencers that are experiencing follower growth are regularly creating high-quality content that is being favored by the algorithm. Working with these growing creators reduces the chance of reaching saturation point, as new followers are being introduced to your brand.

The easiest way to find fast-growing influencers is to use software. In Modash, you can filter by follower growth to indicate, “Show me only creators that have grown by at least 50% in the last six months”.

If you’re curious about how Modash can help your influencer marketing goals, I invite you to chat with Martynas, Margus, or Matthias. Yes, the 3 Ms from Modash. Yes, it’s very cute. Tell them Eleni or Meleni sent you.

Now, it’s not always possible to work with high-growth creators. But there is a way to help your creators get more followers and fight against creative fatigue at the same time.

This is the power of giving helpful feedback.

Anna Fatlowitz is the Director of Influencer Marketing at the food media company Feedfeed. They invest heavily in their own social media presence – which means they know what works in organic social, and their expertise can help creators too.

Most of the feedback we give influencers revolves around putting less product in their videos and making sure the product appears naturally. We’re also requesting authentic storytelling in the form of voiceovers, and encouraging influencers to use a combo of trending commercial use audio, ASMR, and voiceover.

Anna’s team is hands-on in the collaboration process. They work with creators to approve concepts, suggest opening hooks, and more. This keeps creators engaged but also gives them more knowledge to improve their reach.

If your partners grow, your audience grows. Giving time 1:1 with the creator to brainstorm creatives can be a big unlock.

Tip #3: Add incentives outside of flat fees

Another lever you can pull to avoid creative fatigue is in your compensation and benefits strategy.

There isn’t anything wrong with having contracts based solely around flat fees – it works for many brands & influencers.

But if you structure deals like that and have creative fatigue problems, consider adding other types of incentives around performance.

Ben at Blast has used event invitations as incentives:

Give your long-term ambassadors certain targets, which, if they meet, they get invited to attend an in-person event.”

If events aren’t on the table, and you can’t easily track sales via links or codes, you can also try including flat-rate bonuses—for example, an extra $X based on a reach or engagement target.

The core idea is to structure the deal so that the outcome is better for the influencer if they knock it out of the park.

What’s everyone else doing?

Almost 24% of marketers in our survey DON’T work with influencers in long-term partnerships.

Why not?

Because, as we’ve seen, you can’t set it & forget it. It requires a solid workflow and thoughtful strategy to get right.

Long-term partnerships won’t work unless you’ve got the time to put in the work.

That’s it for this issue of ROI. If you made it to the end, thanks for hanging out with me once more. I appreciate it so much.

See you in the next one!
Eleni Zoe
Product Marketing @ Modash and person who believes graphs should have more emojis

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