Can Digital be Used for Marijuana Campaigns?
Yes, it CANnabis! Cannabis is a budding industry and is really starting to grow like a weed as more states start to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Support for legal marijuana is at an all-time high (no pun intended) of 68%, with the percent being even higher among 18 to 29 year old’s at 79%. With more and more states now legalizing marijuana, it is opening the doors for those CBD stores, medical marijuana dispensaries, and smoke shows to start marketing and advertising by using digital since some forms of media are still restricting that type of advertising. Even though many states have decriminalized marijuana, possession and distribution of marijuana is still a Federal crime and radio and TV stations, unlike most other local media outlets, operate with Federal licenses. This now opens a whole new opportunity to promote your business.
Before we dive into the different digital products that can help market cannabis, marijuana, and CBD, let’s talk about what these different products are, because contrary to popular belief, they are not one in the same.
Cannabis refers to the plant and all the products that are derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa. That particular plant contains about 540 chemical substances, like THC and CBD. It is a plant in the hemp family, or the Cannabaceae family, and parts of the plant, including dried flowers and leaves, have been used for medicinal and recreational purposes in numerous forms throughout history. This plant can also be used to make hemp products, marijuana, and CBD products.
CBD stands for “Cannabidiol” and is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis flower. Unlike THC, CBD does not have the psychoactive effects and is mostly used for relaxation, as a sleep aid, and for pain relief and there are even pet products that use CBD. Another product that comes from cannabis is Cannabinol (CBN). This is also a non-intoxicating compound that is created when THC is aged. This can also be used as a sleep aid and has been found to have pain and inflammation reducing qualities.
Marijuana refers to parts of the plant that contain substantial amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the substance that’s primarily responsible for the effects of marijuana on a person’s mental state. Some cannabis plants contain very little THC and under the U.S. law, these plants are considered “industrial hemp” rather than marijuana.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most well-known molecule in marijuana and this is sought after for its euphoric and psychological effects.
Hemp is genetically distinct from marijuana and has a variety of uses including fiber from the stems, protein from the seeds, and oils from the leaves and flowers. Hemp does not produce high levels of THC, but it can product CBD. It is also regulated very differently compared to cannabis and it’s legal to cultivate and sell under the Agricultural Improvement Act.
Kratom is a term that has is starting to pop up more frequently and this is a supplement that is sold as an energy booster, mood enhancer, and pain reliever. Kratom is an herbal extract that comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree grown in Southeast Asia. The leaves can be chewed, and dry kratom can be swallowed or brewed
Now that we know our CBD’s and THC’s, lets look at the different products you can use to digitally advertise for these goods:
Let’s start off with Facebook and Instagram because this is a recent change that Facebook has made where they are now accepting CBD only campaigns. For the creative aspect, you can’t explicitly mention CBD, hemp, or cannabis within the ad, so you have to use words like “naturally derived ingredients”, “plant sourced ingredients” or “100% natural” instead.
Since they are allowing CBD only campaigns, that means any mentions of marijuana, symbols, or graphics will cause the ad to get denied. You also want to use a landing page where the topical CBD product is sold (or even use a non-CBD page). You might be able to get away with landing pages that solely feature edible hemp products, but you absolutely can not have cannabis on the landing page.
Some targeting categories that might be a good fit Facebook/Instagram CBD campaigns are:
Health & Wellness
Health & Beauty
Natural skin care
Quality of life
Mobile Conquesting is another product that will allow CBD only campaigns, but there are a few restrictions to go along with that. If there is a business that is promoting just CBD but also sells vaping products or accessories, it will get denied. For Mobile Conquesting you can target using various strategies like Behavioral Targeting, Geo-Fencing, Geo-Retargeting, Geo-Retargeting Lookalike, a Weather Trigger, or Address Targeting and Address Retargeting, but it will not allow geo-fencing or geo-retargeting around a competitor’s location if they sell cannabis. We can track visits with a Mobile Conquesting campaign, as along as that business only sells CBD. Also following the rules of Facebook and Instagram, the creative for a Mobile Conquesting campaign can’t have the words cannabis or marijuana, it can’t contain pictures of cannabis leaves, and it can’t promote and vaping or smoking products.
Some of the Behavioral Targeting categories available for Mobile Conquesting are:
Big City Moms
Colleges and Universities
Live Event Attendees
Sports Medicine and Injury
With Native, Display, Video Pre-Roll and Over-The-Top (OTT) ads, the restrictions are lifted a little bit to allow for more flexibility when advertising for cannabis, and there are also more targeting strategies available. Along with traditional behavioral targeting, you can use artificial intelligence, retargeting, and keyword targeting (not available for OTT). Some of the targeting categories that would be a good fit for cannabis campaigns are:
Organic & Natural Foods
Vitamins & Supplements
CBD > Vape
CBD > Edibles
CBD > Extracts & Concentrates
CBD > Pet
CBD > Flower
CBD > Topical
CBD > Beverages
CBD > Pill
CBD > Tincture
Farming and Agriculture
Feminine Pain Relievers
Live Event Attendees
Medical Marijuana As Treatment
Native Ad Example:
Display Ad Example:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Live Chat have no restrictions at all, and they are both great products to use for this vertical. SEO is great to use for dispensaries so that when people are searching for certain types of products or remedies to cure certain ailments, that particular dispensary shows up first, especially as more standalone CBD stores start popping up around the country.
Running Live Chat in combination with another product is a great idea because it helps to show that they’re getting leads and conversions from that initial digital campaign.
As I mentioned earlier, using digital as a way to promote your CBD or cannabis business is a great avenue because it allows for various ways to target those that might be interested in the product, the ads can appear in different formats, and certain media outlets aren’t allowed to advertise since they have a Federal license.