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Can you advertise hemp and CBD on Facebook?

by Zach

How To Advertise Your Dispensary, CBD Brand, or Hemp Products in 2021

Investigating the maze-like Cannabis policies of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google is part of our job here at CannaPlanners. We’ve taken a look at the latest opportunities and restrictions of CBD and hemp advertising via social media, and we’ve also broken down a few other marketing methods that really work.

Facebook made it hard for CBD and hemp companies to advertise on their platform in 2019, and that trend continued throughout 2020. However, it’s not impossible to advertise CBD on Facebook, and there are many other ways to get in front of customers online!

Below, we share 6 ways that you can advertise you CBD company online in 2021:

1. CBD Advertising on Facebook

This is not the most important aspect of marketing or advertising your CBD brand, but it’s definitely the most popular. That’s why we made Facebook advertising #1 on our list. So, can you run CBD ads on Facebook? How?

Can you advertise hemp and CBD on Facebook?

The answer is yes, but it’s not easy. You might want to take some notes…

If you set up your advertisement incorrectly, it likely won’t last long and/or won’t be circulated how you want it to be. Facebook currently classifies CBD and hemp products as “unsafe supplements”. If you attempt to run a Facebook ad that uses keywords such as “CBD”, “hemp”, or “cannabis”, it won’t be long before Facebook takes it down for violating their terms of service. Even if you leave these keywords out of your advertisement, having them written on the website your ad is linking to will also get you disapproved. But, there is a way to have your ads approved…

It’s all about keywords

You can advertise CBD/hemp products on Facebook if you are willing to take a couple of extra detail-oriented steps. Just like Google, Facebook has bots that crawl the website/app, reading and indexing every single piece of text that gets posted, especially for advertisements. The keywords used in your ad and on your website will put you out of play, or keep you in it.

TL;DR: Yes. y our business can run advertisements that lead Facebook users to a landing page where your topical CBD or edible hemp product is sold, or to a separate website that discusses your CBD oil. This landing page or website can not mention CBD. Also, you cannot specifically list the products on your landing page, new website, OR ad copy if the content features actual mentions of “CBD”, “cannabis” or other prohibited keywords. Watch the video below to learn more.

While CBD and hemp are everywhere on the street, in convenience stores, at your local hipster lifestyle brand shop, at your local co-op grocery store ; CBD brands still struggle to live out loud on the internet. Websites like Leafly make digital marketing for dispensaries & cannabis businesses more simple, but the online landscape can still feel confusing and loaded with trapdoors.

So, how do I run a Facebook ad for my CBD company or hemp business?

According to an authoritative agency source in the cannabis industry, you can run CBD and hemp product ads on Facebook if you remove all explicit mentions of CBD, hemp, or cannabis from your content. Unfortunately, this does mean using a landing page or an alternate website if your domain contains any explicit CBD/cannabis language. But this is only the case if you will be linking to your site from your Facebook ad. Does all of this careful editing sound like a lot of work? It certainly does. However, it is likely worth the effort since social media platforms are where your customers spend most of their internet-time.

If you want to run CBD or hemp ads on Facebook but don’t have the time or eagle-eyes to deal with all the workarounds, we are here to help you out. But we highly recommend developing a long-term SEO strategy first and foremost. Fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss the ways in which we can assist your social media advertising efforts.

2. A Surefire Website

A solid web presence is the most important piece of your online marketing strategy. Your website lays the foundation for all of your other efforts to-come. With that said, you need more that a hastily developed website thrown up on Wix and dripping with spammy ads. You need a website that is fast, easy to use, and easy to find. Easy to find? Yes, that’s right, easily searchable by all internet users from millennial whizzes to their slower-typing boomer parents. A strong SEO strategy will make your website surface closer to the top of Google search results when people are searching for your brand or products. In 2020, SEO strategy also branches out from traditional google results to results on sites like Leafly, Yelp, and Google Maps. All of these auxiliary sites are like the ventricles that feed back into the heart of your online presence — your website.

3. Strong Organic Social Media Presence

Paid ads on social media aside, building an organic social media presence & following is a crucial piece of advertising your CBD brand online. Think we sound like a high school theater coach when we talk about “presence”? Let us break it down.

When we say “social media presence,” we mostly mean interaction and engagement. Being “present” on socials means being active: frequent posts, regular updates, daily comments, likes, shares, etc. are all necessary to keeping current on your profile and keeping your brand and your products in front of customers eyes.

4. Leafly & Weedmaps

The yelp of weed is an exceptional way to advertise your CBD company online in 2020. Leafly, and the similar Weedmaps are sites dedicated to cataloging and archiving companies, products, and strains. Make sure your store or strain is listed on both for maximum success.

5. Email Marketing

Likely already a piece of your web strategy, email marketing can provide what you may be missing (no) thanks to Facebook and Instagram restrictions: regular and data-directed messages directly to your customers. Many email marketing platforms assist you in tailoring messages to certain kinds of customers. You can pick and choose your recipients age, location, interaction pattern, and more. Email newsletters are an especially useful way to run promotions or introduce new products, and they are a fabulous way to build brand voice.

6. Video Marketing

What’s a beautiful website without stunning video? Well, it’s like a holiday dining table set in fine china but missing the food. Video is the most compelling way to market today. It’s a storytelling medium that grabs eyes, hearts, and ears, and lures them all in closer to the core of your message. Often, once companies invest in video, they start to see the payoff in views and engagement right away. Check out the article we did on Video marketing a while back

Those are our top 6 ways to advertise CBD online in 2020. We can’t wait to usher in a new year of greater reach and innovation alongside our clients.

Need to talk to someone about the digital marketing plan for your CBD/Cannabis company? Fill out the form below and someone will reach out to you!

Diving into specifics about Facebook advertising for CBD brands, dispensaries, and other hemp products. How can you do it properly? CannaPlanners is here to help.

Facebook will now allow (some) CBD ads

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Facebook is opening itself up to more advertising from CBD companies.

As explained in a recent Verge article, Facebook banned advertising for CBD or ingestible hemp even though those products were not specifically mentioned in Facebook’s advertising policies. This move resulted in frustration from CBD brands and even a lawsuit that alleged deceptive ad practices.

Now, Facebook has relaxed its outright ban on CBD products, according to an agency source with knowledge of the matter. Advertisers are allowed to run ads for topical hemp across Facebook. Advertisers can run ads that direct to landing pages that feature ingestible hemp and topical CBD. But the ads cannot specifically feature those products. Facebook is still prohibiting ads for ingestible CBD, including ads that direct to landing pages with those products.

“Our policy remains the same: We don’t allow people to promote CBD or ingestible hemp on Facebook. The update to non-ingestible hemp was made months ago,” a Facebook spokesperson emailed.

Facebook’s change comes as the business of CBD is rapidly growing and U.S. states are individually trying to regulate the market. Meanwhile, the platforms are each addressing CBD ads differently. Google, for example, is testing allowing ads for topical products as long as they don’t say CBD, according to Morning Consult.

The pressure for Facebook and other platforms to change their ways has been increasing, said Andrew Hemmingway, president of Toasted Collective, a digital agency focused on cannabis clients.

“Facebook more than ever is having more and more of their reps saying they need placement so they’re going to be forced to clarify. A lot of these companies are selling hemp-derived and primarily they’re selling creams, rubs, patches, but Facebook had been staying completely away from it,” Hemmingway said.

Of course, Facebook’s policy change doesn’t mean every ad that meets those new guidelines will be approved. Facebook consistently makes mistakes with flagging ads, and the ads still must abide by Facebook’s other advertising policies and community standards.

The policy change comes not only as CBD is growing but as it gains approval from drug stores and enters new categories like beauty brands and even the creation of pet care brands. With the change focused on topical hemp and CBD, the brands that offer oils, lotions, creams, salves, serums as well as makeup infused with CBD stand to benefit.

CBD brands went to SXSW this past March to educate consumers about CBD. For brands like Medterra, which is currently 60% direct-to-consumer in terms of how it sells its products, the ability to advertise on Facebook, where other direct-to-consumer brands have used digital advertising to break out, could be a game changer.

This story has been updated with a comment from Facebook PR.

Facebook's policy change comes not only as CBD is growing but as it gains approval from drug stores and enters new categories like beauty brands.