Holiday Paid Media Planning for Food & Beverage.

With Labor Day weekend ending, unless you are a pumpkin spice flavored product or fall specific brand, we as marketers are shifting our focus from Back-to-School, now to Holiday planning.

Holiday primarily is dominated by other CPG brands & categories (outside of food & beverage), but there are still large opportunities to maximize both online and in-store sales during this time period (November through December).

Here are typical consumer behaviors we see in Q4 (Food & Beverage brands):

  • The majority of consumers aren’t concerned with their diet and fitness from November to December. We mark January as “Better for you” season, where generally everyone eventually makes an effort to eat healthier again. But before then, most people fall off a bit.
  • Consumers are cooking a bit less during this two month stretch during the typical week, although we see an uptick in recipe inspired sales for larger family dishes.
  • Convenience is key for consumers, although we see more eating out and unhealthy habits, expect a large uptick in instacart and online grocery sales.


With that being said EVERYONE is looking for deals online. So just because your product doesn’t fit the bill as a holiday gift, that by no means should stop brands from taking advantage of the heightened buying behaviors.

For Food & Beverage brands, it’s a blend of taking advantage of this heightened online purchase behavior, and adjusting to in-store grocery habits. Here are some strategies to keep in mind for both:

Gifting vs. Non-Gifting:

Figure out what bucket your product lives in. For example, a cocktail mixing product is a “Gifting” product, “Keto Friendly Chips” are “Non-Gifting”.


  • Likely buying for themselves or family.
  • More likely to be seeking a “bulk” deal.
  • Still lured by holiday inspired copy & creative.


  • Buying for someone else.
  • More focused on being the “right fit” for someone else, price comes second.
  • Still expecting larger deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.
  • Speak directly to the consumer, push what a great gift this makes in the copy and creative.


Non-Gifting brands are pushing deals to simply take advantage of lower volume interest in their products category during holiday (basically anything healthy). This + everyone looking for a deal usually tides brands over until “Better for you” season. There is someone out there who will buy “keto friendly chips” in bulk simply because they abide by the keto diet, and the deal is too good to miss out on.


Set your DTC/Amazon schedule & promos early:

This is both from a technical and strategy standpoint. For example, Amazon already cut off Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal submissions on September 2nd.

We generally like to have 3 different levels:

  • Level 1 (lowest % or promo) – this is your “always-on” campaign.
  • Level 2 – this is your cyber Monday/week campaign. An excuse to run a longer, higher stakes deal.
  • Level 3 – this is your black Friday campaign. Your biggest deal should be your Level 3 during Black Friday.


“Gifting” products need to abide by shipping around the holiday timeline. “Non-Gifting” products can roam free. Our “Level 1” always-on sales run typically the entire month of December, since most new consumers won’t buy anything unless they see a deal. Non-Gifting products typically thrive through the always-on campaign flight.

You can abide by this scheduling for Amazon & DTC (although mostly meant for DTC). Again, even the “keto friendly chip” can run BF & CM deals and see a major uptick in sales.


DTC Advertising (Paid Social, TikTok, etc.) will experience higher volume more profitable sales from prospective consumers:

DTC has been trashed quite a bit the past year or so on Linkedin. While we disagree, now is the time to reactivate their campaigns for those who turned down the past few months.

Prospective customers on social media are seeking deals and likely to experiment. We almost ALWAYS see a higher ROAS within our prospecting campaigns during holiday. Both for Gifting and Non-Gifting brands.

If you want to get customers in the door, and trying your products, flipping back on your Paid Social (FB,IG,TikTok,Pinterest) is a great idea to do so at a profitable rate.


Ride the online Grocery waves:

There will be fluctuations of consumers purchasing their normal weekly orders, vs. not as frequent consumers dropping off until the next month, types of behaviors.

Keep your campaigns steady, but your budgets humble. If you can’t take advantage of higher volume holiday inspired keywords, from Nov-Dec stand your ground on your most relevant keywords and categories.


Get in touch with us:

I hope this helps, and possibly gets you interested in leveraging us for our experience. We generally don’t share this type of strategy publicly, but these blogs have generated a ton of traction and interest from new brands.

If you are interested in discussing further email OR fill out the form below. We will also be walking the floor at Expo East.

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