Because cannabis is still federally illegal, Google prohibits the advertising of “marijuana” as well as pipes, bongs and cannabis coffee shops. On Facebook/Instagram, ads can’t “promote the sale or use of illicit or recreational drugs, or other unsafe substances, products or supplement.”
Because of that, there are some options to try to circumvent the rules like landing pages and compliant ads that then add links to the webpage after approval, but that risks having your pages flagged and is probably not worth it.
Instead, it’s better to work to grow your social media presence organically, but by staying aware of what can and can’t be posted in terms of images, words and hashtags.
Beyond that, articles that can be used to create backlinks to your website as part of your SEO strategy are a valuable part of a campaign to get the word out. In fact, SEO in general is valuable and worth focusing on for a cannabis company looking for alternative ways to advertise online.
However, there are digital solutions available beyond Google, Facebook and Instagram for cannabis companies looking to advertise online. With programmatic advertising, you can limit your ads to networks that do accept cannabis-related ads. They can also be designed to play just in states where cannabis is legal and only be targeted to those who are 21 or older.
Cannabis advertising can happen in the form of display ads, mobile apps, or audio and video streaming platforms. Even connected TV (CTV) apps are possible as streaming devices such as Rokus and Samsung TVs have thousands of downloadable apps. Games are possible as well as secondary or tertiary news apps.
But one of the most important things a cannabis company can do is to find an agency with experience in cannabis online advertising. They can help navigate the maze of cannabis advertising regulations and find outlets that will accept ads as well as assist with programs to boost SEO. Agencies such as Nug Digital Marketing have worked with dozens of cannabis clients for online advertising and offer free consultations.