Paid Media Mistakes to Avoid (for Food & Beverage Brands)

The past 2 years have been crazy for everyone. For Food & Beverage brands, similar to most categories, it’s been nothing short of a roller coaster of fluctuating consumer trends and constant external battles.

As an agency who manages DTC (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest), Amazon, + Online grocery (Instacart,, etc.), for a wide range of F&B brands, we are dealing with these curveballs on a month to month basis at this point. Covid, to inflation, to supply chain issues, etc.

We’ve experienced and helped some brands successfully manage these trends, we’ve also seen brands & ourselves make major mistakes. 

More recently, especially on Linkedin, we are seeing more and more brands announce they are shutting their doors, or desperately seeking funding due to financial crunches. 

We can’t speak on the retail woes brands deal with since we focus on online sales. But from a paid media perspective, we’ve pushed back to clients and heard stories of brands allocating their ad dollars in the wrong places, or making drastic unrealistic decisions.

Within Paid Media, here are some traits we have seen successful brands abide by:


Always be dynamic, but never overreact:

COVID, Recession, Nationwide Shortages, we’ve all had to make on the fly-adjustments the past few years.

It is extremely important to not interpret short-term optimizations for long-term strategy. 

We saw this most especially with DTC (or shopify) sales during COVID. The patience to receive products, and curiosity to try something new was obviously going to fade at some point. Many brands were clinging on to this trend for way too long.

The successful brands can identify when to move away from the short-term consumer trends.


Steer clear of the fabricated case studies:

Linkedin is a tremendous tool for connecting with other businesses, but also pushes a ton of unrealistic fluff. We see brands or agencies boasting egregious metrics and case studies routinely. It’s actually infuriating for us because it creates unrealistic expectations that can sink serious ad dollars for a client.

We then hear clients asking us why they aren’t experiencing the same growth of the case studies they’ve stumbled across on their feed:

  1. They spend a ton more on adspend than us. That is why the sales growth looks so strong. EXP: Having a $3M budget on amazon vs $300k makes a major difference.
  2. They are missing a key metric to make all the other numbers look amazing.


There is no “growth hacking”, I can’t stand that term, there is only steadily building a brand Month over Month. All of the successful brands take this approach.


Avoid pausing campaigns at all costs:

Although each platform has their own algorithm, the brains of the algorithms are all similar. They test and learn within our parameters, and gain momentum while consistently reaching our objectives (usually sales) or a frequent basis. 

We compare algorithms to Steph Curry as hes “warming up” before hitting 8-10 three pointers in a row. Get the shots up at first, learn and feel what works, then when you are hitting your shots consistently don’t stop.

We’ve seen brands erratically ask to pause certain platforms due to short term drop in performance. The second you pause a platform completely it will take more time than you think to get back to it’s peak or higher.


Don’t neglect investing in a variety of high quality, meaningful content:

Although recent IOS changes leading to weaker tracking & lookalike audiences amplified the need for more tailored content, it’s always been a priority for successful brands.

Consumers want to see your product in all different types of situations (UGC, Product Focused, Recipes, etc). A variety of high quality content helps build credibility for brands with growing awareness.

Clearly communicate your online objectives. Telling your agency to “get you more sales” doesn’t work:

The BIGGEST mistake we see with our clients, is the client not understanding the paid media agency us) has no idea what their financial situation is. This always leads to confusion when creating broader strategies for clients.

Do you have to impress investors with MoM sales volume growth? Is ROAS extremely important because you are in a tight financial situation? Can you sacrifice some ROAS for sales growth? What matters more, retail sales velocity or online sales? The list goes on.

Your agency won’t know what to do unless you bridge that conversation to them, ultimately establishing the agency as a tool to fuel your goals. The most successful brands are extremely transparent with us regarding their overall goals.


I hope this helps, and possibly gets you interested in leveraging us for our experience. If you are interested in discussing further email OR fill out the form below.

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