The CBD market is EXPLODING and it's just getting started. Experts expect the legal CBD market to reach $22 Billion in sales by 2022.
With sales estimates like that, it's no surprise that many entrepreneurs are rushing to start companies in this lucrative new space. You can't make sales if you can't get interested consumers to find your company though.
Most ecommerce companies run advertisements to immediately get the right consumers to find their products. Unfortunately, it's not that easy when it comes to CBD advertising. Many new companies are immediately blocked from running ads on the most popular platforms. Here is everything you need to know when it comes to CBD advertising and ways to kick-start your CBD company's growth.
CBD Advertising Laws
Up until recently, CBD was classified as a Schedule I substance. In 2018, the Farm Bill passed and changed CBD's classification from a schedule I substance to something that can be legally sold. The Farm Bill was a huge step in the right direction. However CBD is still classified as a drug, and it is being actively researched by the FDA to determine any health effects present. Drugs can only be advertised in certain ways and the FDA has full authority to pursue legal action if a drug or cosmetic is being advertised incorrectly. You cannot bypass these restrictions legally by selling CBD as a dietary supplement or vitamin. When it comes to marketing and advertising, CBD adheres to the same legal restrictions that all drugs do.
You have to advertise CBD as a drug and you cannot make promises about health benefits that CBD provides (since the FDA hasn't officially approved any known health benefits). The FDA highlighted their concern with health benefits being promised in CBD ads in a recent statement: "we continue to be concerned at the number of drug claims being made about products not approved by the FDA that claim to contain CBD or other cannabis-derived compounds. Among other things, the FDA requires a cannabis product (hemp-derived or otherwise) that is marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, or with any other disease claim, to be approved by the FDA for its intended use before it may be introduced into interstate commerce. This is the same standard to which we hold any product marketed as a drug for human or animal use."
You also need to be aware of local and state laws, which vary. For instance, Indiana allows the distribution and retail of "low-THC Hemp Extract" while Nebraska has banned it as an illegal substance. You can find information about each state's laws here.
Make sure you do your research and are aware of national and state laws when you're marketing your CBD brand. You don't want to set your company up for failure by getting into legal trouble.
Can you advertise CBD on Instagram or Facebook?
Instagram and Facebook do not allow drug-related products to be advertised on their platforms. If you have the words 'cannabis', 'THC', 'hemp', or other keywords on your website you will likely be banned from running ads on Instagram. Even with the recent Farm Bill passing, Instagram considers CBD a drug according to different federal and state laws.
There are work-arounds though.
For instance, if you are advertising a class about CBD marketing, you could technically get past Facebook's test. We've also seen success with marketing the CBD as one ingredient in a workout recovery shake (the shake was being advertised, not the CBD). If you can make the ad about something other than the CBD drug itself, you may be able to get past the Facebooks gods' checkpoints. However, many are not lucky. Many new CBD companies build advertising into their go-to-market strategies and are left wondering how to grow once they get blocked.
Where to advertise CBD products
If you can't advertise CBD products on Instagram or Facebook then where do you advertise them?
Here are other ways that CBD companies are growing traffic:
- Organic Social Media Marketing
- Organic SEO
- Influencer Marketing
- Affliliate Marketing
- Print Ads in markets where Cannabis is legal
- CBD Events
- CBD friendly advertising networks
Each method differs in effectiveness and time to see results. Organic SEO efforts will take a lot of time and your traffic will increase at a turtle's pace. Social Media and Influencer Marketing offer quick gains.
Compare the amount of effort to the return and longevity of that return. If you really want to run CBD advertising campaigns immediately, you'll want to pick a good CBD Advertising Network.
CBD Advertising Networks
Advertising networks provide a group of websites that have agreed to allow advertising of CBD products. You pay to run banners and other types of ads across the websites that are a part of the network. A CBD Advertising Network sounds like a no-brainer on the first glance, but not all CBD advertising networks are created equally.
Most CBD Advertising Networks charge based on the total number of impressions of your ads. Unfortunately, impressions do not guarantee clicks or sales, so make sure you compare the sources of these impressions when evaluating ad networks. Some promise to only charge you for effectiveness of the ads, but this usually comes down to clicks, which still don't matter more than sales.
Ad Networks also lack basic targeting options available in most ad platforms. For instance, many CBD Ad Networks will only let you target based on geography (and that's it). This prevents advertisers from improving the effectiveness of their ads, as they're unable to improve the target demographics who are seeing their message.
There are very well know ad networks through Mantis, and smaller more niche ones.
Advertising CBD is no easy game. However it is possible to get your new products in front of the right audience with advertsising, it just takes more work.
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