In recent years, the cannabidiol, or CBD, industry has taken the United States by storm. With the passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 legalizing the farming and sale of CBD in most of the 50 US states, it seems as though you can not go more than a few blocks in any major metro area without running into at least one dispensary. With the explosive growth of the industry, it is difficult for a single CBD retailer to stand out among their competitors. Where word of mouth used to be the primary source of promotion, it has now been elevated to the digital world. Online advertising through search and social avenues is entirely possible, but the untrained marketer will be faced with many challenges and obstacles if they are not prepared. Below are some key elements to include in your marketing strategy to help circumvent those obstacles.
Avoid any claim to improving health and wellness –
Including false claims of healthful benefits of CBD is a surefire way to have your ads rejected. This includes mentioning it in the ad copy, promotional material, or in any content on the connected website’s landing pages. The FDA takes this very seriously, and the easiest method to get around this is by having a disclaimer on your website stating that the associated products have not been approved by the FDA and that the primary use of the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or in any way act as a remedy for health ailments.
Avoid ASSUMPTIONS –
This includes ad copy and website content, but most closely relates to third party and customer reviews making claims that said products had an impact on the users physical and mental health, thus leading to potential new customers having preconceived ideas about the product. The best way to avoid this is to turn off reviews/comments to avoid unnecessary red flags .
When able, the ads MUST TARGET USERS OF LEGAL AGE –
If the platform does not have a specified age targeting, the user must be prompted to verify their age prior to shopping cart check out and the website should include an additional disclaimer stating that the products are not intended for the use or sale to minors.
Facebook Advertising tips:
Facebook has lifted its ban on the promotion of products containing CBD, but only in regards to topical applications. Edibles and inhalants are still prohibited. For best results, the ads should direct to a landing page with the previously mentioned disclaimers from the FDA and include age restrictions.
Instagram Advertising tips:
Instagram follows very similar guidelines as Facebook, but when flagged, the entire Instagram account risks deactivation. To best promote CBD products on Instagram, the focus should be on educating the audience on the products rather than directly trying to sell to them. Rather than run paid ads, the Instagram account trying to promote the products should link to blog articles or repost/share CBD content from other pages.
Twitter Advertising tips:
Twitter does not currently allow the promotion of CBD products through promoted tweets or ad spots. The best strategy for promoting these products on the Twitter platform is to retweet or share links that have the goal of spreading knowledge and awareness of the products.
Google Advertising tips:
Of all of the mentioned platforms, Google can be both the most successful and largest headache for marketers trying to promote CBD products. Search ads do not have the option to target specific ages, so the website content needs to clearly state the goal for the end user to accomplish with the previously mentioned disclaimers in place.
Content, content, content! The landing page must not directly mention CBD. Alternative verbiage such as hemp based, plant based, all natural, etc. are allowed. Even with these edits, the ads still runs the risk of being rejected for the promotion of illicit drugs, harmful substances, prescription drugs, etc.
With all of the limitations on paid advertising, it might actually benefit the advertiser to place a higher emphasis on improving their SEO score. By working with an experienced SEO professional, you will be able to expand and grow your website’s presence in organic search results.
For more information on CBD advertising and SEO, contact Anvil Media today!