The Cannabis industry is quickly evolving. With a projected revenue of $30 billion by 2025, it’s paramount the advertising industry keeps pace with the growth in this category. But right now, Cannabis marketing is rife with challenge. An array of laws and regulations at the Federal, State, and even County level can make advertising tricky. Many cannabis-related businesses are questioning how to stand out in a market so heavily regulated. The good news: there ARE strategies these businesses can use to advertise products and services!

The following list is an example of common regulations on advertising creative. Individual state policies will vary:

  • No curative health claims
  • No elements that could appeal to children
  • No false or misleading statements
  • No testimonials or endorsements
  • No product consumption
  • No pricing, potency statements, or promotional offers
  • Ads for infused products must state ‘for adult use only’

Much of the confusion over digital advertising of cannabis has come from Facebook and Google – both reject Cannabis advertising (Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads/SEM, GDN, YouTube, DV360, and others). Without these low-funnel platforms available, it’s important to understand where you can advertise and how to diversify your marketing. Below are some platforms/strategies that Cannabis advertisers can access at this time with MLive:

Publisher-direct

MLive, Michigan’s #1 site for news and information with 2.4MM uniques/month, provides large scale and targetability across the State. We do not accept ads that make health benefit claims, use images that would be appealing to youthful audiences, or feature use of the product in-ad. Additionally, we geo-target advertising to Michigan and restrict ages on ad placement. We follow these practices to ensure that the news and information audience we have built receives high quality advertising and advertiser content from us. There are a few ways to use our audience for your strategies.

  • Contextual targeting – serve ads to users who are engaging (and have engaged) in Cannabis content (able to exclude Cannabis criminal content)
  • Behavior targeting – target users who exhibit behaviors that are relevant to Cannabis audiences.
  • High Impact placements – Homepage Takeovers layering 21+, Sponsorships within engaging and creative platforms (brackets, questionnaires, and events, etc)
  • Rich Media ad units – incorporate slideshow photos, videos, mapping
  • Print – sticky notes, front page strip ads
  • Statewide virtual event sponsorships + panelist opportunities

 

Content Marketing

This is a great way for any cannabis business to create brand awareness and educate their prospective customers, a key component in overcoming the knowledge gap and reduce stigma.

  • Sponsored articles + Native promotion
  • Montage videos – :15, :30 + In-story Video promotion
  • Podcasts
  • Content Hub – houses advertiser’s articles, videos, podcasts under a single url

 

Social (organic)

Even though PAID social ads aren’t available for cannabis-related businesses, that doesn’t mean social media can’t be used as a great marketing tool. Creating content within your social channels is extremely important in building your following and engaging your target audience

When it pertains to Cannabis, programmatic is still largely unavailable. Google doesn’t accept this category and neither do many technology companies. While some publishers and DSPs are starting to allow Cannabis advertising, signaling more opportunity in the future, inventory can currently be an issue.

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