So You Want to Market Your CBD Company Online. Now What?

If you sell Cannabidiol (CBD) products, you already understand the value your product provides to your customers.  Unfortunately, the rest of the world (particularly the FDA) needs a bit more time to catch up. Until they do, you’ll need to exercise some creativity with your digital marketing efforts.

Green Products Facing Red Tape

Facebook and Google, the reigning godfathers of paid advertising, maintain tight restrictions on how CBD, hemp, and cannabis-adjacent products can be promoted on their platforms.

Google Policy:

Currently, companies are prohibited from advertising products that contain CBD on Google.  Cannabidiol (CBD) is listed under the Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements section of the Google Ad Policies page with the following explanation:

Healthcare and medicines[1]

We are dedicated to following advertising regulations for healthcare and medicine, so we expect that ads and destinations follow appropriate laws and industry standards. Some healthcare-related content can’t be advertised at all, while others can only be advertised if the advertiser is certified with Google and targets only approved countries. Check local regulations for the areas you want to target.

Some companies have been able to publish their Google ads by using more ambiguous language to describe their CBD-based products, such as “full-spectrum hemp.”[2] Yet, Google reserves the right to remove ads that they believe violate the broadly-defined policy listed above and should not be considered a primary channel for advertising at this point.

Facebook Policy:

Though Facebook does not mention CBD or Cannabidiol by name, their policy prohibits the advertisement of Drugs and Drug-Related Products and Unsafe Supplements, under which CBD could theoretically fall. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, enforces the same policy. 

A description of the prohibited content description on the Advertising Policy page is included below:

Drugs & Drug-Related Products[3]

Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.

Unsafe Supplements

Ads must not promote the sale or use of unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.

Recently, Facebook also began allowing advertisements for topical hemp[4] but continues to ban ads that mention CBD by name or feature any marijuana-related imagery (leaf, plant, tinctures, or related paraphernalia). 

Large companies that sell CBD products suffer less from these regulatory fluctuations and have the luxury of using pricier, more traditional tactics, such as out-of-home, print, and television ads[5] to promote their products. Amazon does not allow the sale of CBD products on their website[6] either, making the need for prospecting to bring customers to individual ecommerce websites critical. So where does that leave your small business?

Lighting Up the Competition

With Google Ads out of the picture, there’s still a great big world of programmatic advertising for the taking. We’ve seen small to mid-sized CBD companies gain brand recognition from a strategic combination of display prospecting ads and retargeting ads.

Through contextual targeting, ads are served alongside relevant content and on brand safe sites.  Ads are shown to the audiences who are most likely to be interested in your product and don’t waste any of your ad spend on uninterested audiences.

The use of marketing technology solutions, such as an onsite engagement tool, and personalized remarketing emails ensure that these precious prospects stay on your site.    This combination of display tactics, coupled with marketing tech solutions, yields a 5:1 return on investment for our CBD customers based on a 20% CPA. Take that, Google!

Cybba CBD Expertise

The Cybba trading team has extensive experience navigating the CBD digital marketing landscape and our account managers remain up to date with the latest regulations.  Download our CBD Datasheet and reach out to our team to learn how to maximize ROI and guarantee visibility for your CBD business.

Sources:

[1] Google Ad Policies

[2] Morningconsult.com

[3] Facebook Ad Policies

[4] Forbes.com

[5] Digiday.com

[6] Amazon Seller Central

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