Some cannabis marketers look down on digital advertising, preferring the idea of building their brands without having to pay for clicks. Others believe that digital cannabis advertising isn’t even allowed.
Both notions are incorrect. First, brands that use digital advertising will be seen by many more eyeballs than purely organic marketing. Second, many forms of digital cannabis advertising are legally compliant in any state, and in some ways, these ads are actually less restrictive than the traditional advertising methods brands have frequently pursued instead.
In Washington, for instance, state law mandates that: “no advertisement can be within one thousand feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or a game arcade admission to which it is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older; on or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or on or in a publicly owned or operated property.” This makes it tough to find a legal billboard placement, but it doesn’t affect your ability to run digital ads.
Much of the confusion over digital advertising in the cannabis space has come from the two largest ad platforms—Facebook and Google. Both categorically reject the vast majority of cannabis and CBD ads, but this is based on their own platform-specific policies (both written and unwritten). Cannabis marketers who give up after failing to receive approval on Google or Facebook ignore the options offered by every other site on the internet—nearly all of which are directly and easily accessible with a method called programmatic advertising.