The cannabis industry has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, with legalization efforts spreading across the United States. As this burgeoning industry expands, it presents a unique opportunity for digital marketing agencies to tap into a lucrative market.
However, marketing cannabis products comes with challenges due to federal regulations and varying state laws. This comprehensive blog will explore the essential considerations and techniques for mastering cannabis digital marketing, from clicks to conversions.
Important Considerations for Cannabis Marketing and Advertising Campaigns
Federal Legal Status
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level in the United States. Regional and local campaigns are currently the most effective for paid media and organic channels that permit cannabis content when targeting specific geographic regions.
Platform Rules & Guidelines
Each digital platform has its own advertising and organic content standards for promoting cannabis products. Please adhere to these guidelines to ensure campaigns are accepted and removed from the platform.
Given the heavy regulations in the cannabis industry, avoiding misleading or misinforming content is crucial. Claims about the medical properties of cannabis, for instance, can create legal complications. Consulting with cannabis-informed experts, such as attorneys or digital marketing partners, can help navigate these pitfalls.
The Best Channels for Promoting Cannabis Clients
Several cannabis-specific channels have emerged with the industry’s growth. Platforms like WeedMaps and High Times cater specifically to cannabis consumers, providing opportunities for advertising without the stringent restrictions of mainstream social media.
Paid & Organic Channels
While paid advertising on platforms like Google and most social media sites is heavily regulated, focusing on organic content can drive engagement and quality traffic to your client’s website. SEO and email marketing are practical tools for building authority and educating potential customers.
Some programmatic channels like pre-roll, OTT (Over-The-Top), and display ads may allow cannabis campaigns with certain restrictions. These channels offer creative ways to reach cannabis consumers.
A Channel-by-Channel Breakdown of Cannabis Advertising Restrictions
While Snapchat is relatively more permissive than other platforms, it still restricts cannabis advertising. Hemp-derived CBD products targeting users over 18 are allowed.
In 2023, Twitter relaxed its policies for cannabis advertising, but restrictions remain. Advertisers must be licensed, follow local laws, and cannot promote or offer cannabis for sale.
TikTok restricts cannabis targeting but allows topical CBD products, subject to additional restrictions.
Meta (Facebook & Instagram)
Meta prohibits cannabis, CBD, and ingestible hemp products but permits the advertising of topical hemp oil and informative articles on hemp and CBD products.
Pinterest allows ads for topical hemp products with negligible THC and no CBD but prohibits advertising related to illegal or recreational drugs.
LinkedIn strictly prohibits all ads for drugs, both over-the-counter and recreational.
Advertising Cannabis on Google
Google maintains strict regulations against advertising cannabis-related keywords, but some ads may use vague references to avoid penalties. Attempting to circumvent these rules is discouraged as it can lead to account suspension.
Advertising Cannabis on Programmatic Channels
Programmatic advertising for cannabis clients is evolving. DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms) embrace contextual targeting, first-party data, and third-party audience targeting to reach cannabis consumers effectively. These strategies offer unique opportunities to connect with potential customers.
Cannabis SEO Campaigns
SEO provides an organic channel to market cannabis products. While there are fewer restrictions than paid media, it’s essential to comply with state and industry regulations. High-opportunity keywords, technical optimization, and backlink building are critical for success in the competitive cannabis SEO landscape.
Navigating the complex landscape of cannabis digital marketing requires a deep understanding of regulations, platform guidelines, and creative strategies. Despite federal restrictions, opportunities abound for agencies willing to master the art of cannabis marketing.
At Spokes Digital, we’re committed to helping your brand deliver elite performance for cannabis marketing campaigns. With our expertise and holistic digital product suite, we can help your clients succeed in this dynamic and rewarding market. Contact us today to explore how we can collaborate on high-performing cannabis marketing campaigns.