Social media advertising is one of the most important marketing investments any modern company can make. However, cannabis companies face special struggles when trying to run social media ads. Influential social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok are very conservative when it comes to cannabis. Non-psychoactive goods like CBD and hemp are essentially banned alongside THC products. Learn why it is so hard to run CBD ads on most social media platforms, then explore strategies to connect with customers anyway.
Breaking Down The CBD Stigma
As cannabis professionals are well aware, there’s a real and damaging stigma surrounding CBD. The cannabis renaissance is still in its early days. Some areas have legalized marijuana, others allow CBD but not THC, and other regions continue to ban the entire cannabis family.
The CBD industry also suffers from a lack of public understanding. Many people think of getting high when they hear about any cannabis product. They don’t know the difference between psychoactive compounds like THC and therapeutic products that only contain CBD. It’s an unfortunate reality that impacts CBD awareness, marketing, and sales.
Spotty cannabis laws and public misunderstandings combine to make CBD a tricky product to market. These situations make it hard to engage potential customers.
Social Media Views On CBD
Social media companies also keep CBD companies from reaching their target audiences. These platforms are driven by business concerns. They need to position themselves to appeal to as many advertisers as possible to bring in ad revenue. Social media brands also need to consider who holds legal liability for posted content, the platform itself or individual users.
As a result, social media companies take conservative positions with many of their rules. These platforms want to create broadly applicable policies that are relevant in as many places as possible. Sites tend to ban drug-related content. Therapeutic CBD products are swept into these bans alongside more extreme products.
There are many roadblocks for CBD companies that want to advertise on social media platforms, but this challenge is worth the effort. Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok see billions of logged-in users every day. No matter what market niche your CBD brand targets, you can find your ideal customers on social media.
Major Social Media’s Rules And Restrictions
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same parent company and use the same advertising rules. These platforms deny almost every CBD ad thanks to misguided policies that label CBD as an illegal product or service.
It is possible to run ads on Facebook as long as you carefully tailor your message. Companies can’t reference CBD, hemp, or cannabis in their Facebook or website content. Facebook will remove ads that use these unapproved terms.
Google Ads categorizes CBD as an unapproved pharmaceutical treatment and doesn’t allow CBD ads. You’ll need to focus on other aspects of your brand such as wellness to successfully run a Google Ads campaign.
Twitter has a reputation among CBD marketers as the most challenging social media platform thanks to its strict guidelines. Drugs, paraphernalia, accessories, dispensaries, and other similar categories have been banned for years.
Recent policies do allow CBD ads in the United States and Canada. Your brand needs to meet these guidelines to be approved for CBD campaigns:
Follow all rules, laws, and regulations
- Be a licensed company
- Only promote legally derived, non-ingestible, topical CBD goods
- Only target your licensed operating territory
- Don’t advertise in Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Virginia
- Don’t target users under 21 years
The newest social media giant and the most popular among younger generations, TikTok is home to a diverse, global community. TikTok’s CBD rules are confusing. The platform states that content about restricted goods may be removed even if the product is legal in its home jurisdiction. You can run into trouble with TikTok content about CBD, so focus on other aspects of your branding instead.
Best Practices For Running Useful CBD Ads
Social media platforms don’t make it easy for CBD companies to advertise. However, you can promote your brand on these sites with some clever strategies.
The best way to advertise CBD on Facebook or Instagram is to create a vanity site for ad activity. Facebook won’t run your ad if it links to a website that mentions CBD, hemp, or cannabis. This is a major problem for many cannabis companies. If you’re like most of the industry, you probably use the term “CBD” all over your website.
Avoid this restriction by creating a second site purely for Facebook ads. Don’t use any banned keywords on this site. Instead, think of it as a landing page that funnels traffic to your main site.
Focus On Topical Products
Social media companies and users don’t always understand the wide range of CBD products available. You’ll have the best success with placing ads on sites like Twitter if you focus on topical products. These goods are easy for the average person to understand. They also aren’t associated with similar THC products that create a high. For example, CBD lotion is more approachable than CBD vapes or edibles.
Use The Term “Hemp-Derived”
Careful wording can help you create a productive ad campaign. Focus on using friendlier synonyms for your products. Experienced CBD fans know that “hemp” and “cannabis” are two different names for the same plant. However, new prospects might not be able to make this distinction.
Hemp has more wholesome connotations than cannabis thanks to hemp cereals, fabric, seeds, cooking oil, lotions, and other common products. Use “hemp-derived” in your ad and website copy to lean into this positive association.
Running CBD Ads On Social Media
CBD companies face many social media hurdles that don’t affect other brands. Crafting engaging social ads that convert customers is a challenge. However, you can build your digital presence with some careful planning. Use vanity sites, promote topical products, and carefully choose your language to see the best results from your social campaigns.