cannabis ad
Cannabis and CBD companies don't have the same digital marketing options as conventional companies, so they're getting creative.

Every day we’re seeing new cannabis and CBD brands popping up with creative new products to appeal to today’s consumers.

Although black market cannabis sales still exist, the recent legality of hemp and increased state-level acceptance of cannabis has lead to new businesses flooding the market.

For the companies trying to take advantage of this increasing legal marketplace, getting their brand out there has been difficult.

One of the main reasons is that Google, Facebook, and Instagram simply don’t allow paid advertising from industry brands. 

If you were to start a conventional online business selling clothing or jewelry, you could take advantage of Google’s paid advertising services, Google Ads, to immediately drive traffic to your website, creating that brand awareness.

This is done by targeting keywords you want to rank for, paying for each time that keyword generates a click on your ad, and directing that traffic to your e-commerce website.

Alternatively, one of the most effective and proven concepts of generating brand awareness is through social media ads.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you pick up your phone?

Many people go straight to their social media apps, leaving a great opportunity for brands to target consumers based on that consumer's collected data.

For cannabis and CBD brands, it’s not that easy.

Google and Facebook do not allow paid ads from cannabis-related companies via their platforms as there’s still uncertainty with the legality of the online marketplace.

They’ve adopted the same policies towards alcohol and tobacco, simply not allowing it.

So what do cannabis brands do to get their name and products out there?

social media influence
How will you get your brand in front of new audiences?

They’re getting creative.

You can’t pay for an Instagram ad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pay someone who has major influence on Instagram.

Many brands have been driving traffic and sales by collaborating with health and cannabis influencers to create posts and stories about products offered, benefits, discounts and more.

The CBD brand Charlotte’s Web Hemp for example recently sponsored professional UFC woman’s champion, Rose Namajunas, who announced to her following she’s now an ambassador on her Instagram.

Rose has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram and many of her followers include martial arts fans, health activists, athletes, and more.

If even 0.5% of these people converted, that would be 6,000 sales.

Another CBD brand, Green Roads, also recently sponsored professional UFC champion TJ Dillashaw as a brand ambassador.

TJ can be found tweeting about how CBD helps with his recovery after workouts to his near 1.6 million followers.

If just 0.5% of his followers decide to make a purchase with an average order value of $100, that would be $800,000 in revenue from one post.

Brands are also getting creative by building relationships with ad agencies, applying for affiliate programs, reaching out to local shops, offering referrals for incremental sales and more.

Major affiliate networks like Pepperjam and Commission Junction are bringing on new CBD merchants to push out to their network of influencers which can be in the thousands.

The only fees these merchants pay are on completed sales.

You may walk into a massage studio and find CBD-infused topicals that feel amazing for muscle pain. Or you may notice your local vet has CBD dog treat samples.

These are all effective marketing strategies brands are turning to as an alternative to Google Ads and paid Facebook/Instagram ads.

The cannabis and CBD industry continues to grow and all signs point to this continued momentum as states continue to adopt cannabis.

If you’re considering getting into the CBD or cannabis industry online, there are plenty of viable options to build and market a brand outside of traditional social media and Google Ads.

Cyrus Partow is the founder of CBDNerds.com, a CBD review site with guides and FAQ's. Cyrus has tested and reviewed a variety of CBD products helping guide new users to the right place. 


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