Can You Advertise CBD on Google? You Can With These 3 CBD Marketing Tips
Need an answer to the question: can you advertise CBD on Google or Bing search engines? We outline 3 effective CBD marketing tactics to use on Google with and without advertising. UPDATE for 2021, read our latest case studies to see how we have been advertising CBD products on Google Search since 2019!
So What’s The Deal? Can You Advertise CBD on Google or Not?
UPDATE: December 2021 – read our updated article on CBD Advertising Laws for Google & Facebook.
If you’re one of the many new CBD entrepreneurs who are trying to market and promote CBD oil and CBD products online, I’m betting you’re frustrated with the advertising restrictions on Facebook & Instagram. The good news is there are other options for your CBD brand.
Have you ever tried to advertise CBD on Google? Or are you stuck wondering can you advertise CBD on Google or even Bing search engines?
In my experience as a professional cannabis and CBD marketer, I feel the answer is an absolute YES, you can advertise CBD on Google and it’s actually happening right now!
As I began researching and writing this article, I did a search for “can you advertise cbd on google” in an incognito tab in chrome and did NOT see any CBD ads on Page 1 for that search query.
It’s important to note that I have seen CBD ads on Page 1 before, just not in this particular search. I’m sure you’ve seen CBD advertising on Google search as well.
However, guess what I saw on Page 2, at the top and the bottom of the organic search results?
I spotted seven (7) paid Google PPC ads that are served for the search term “can you advertise cbd on google”. Clearly you can, but let’s take a look at these CBD ads and see what they are promoting.
You can see that out of the 7 Google PPC ads for CBD, just one (1) ad is actually selling CBD oil and was placed and paid for by Amazon.ca. Note that this search was done in Canada. I’m sure the same sort of results would show up form searches done in the USA, and that Amazon.com is the advertiser.
Of the other ads, three (3) of these CBD Google ads are promoting CBD marketing services to potential CBD business owners using the same query – “can you advertise cbd on google”.
The remaining three (3) ads are also targeted at CBD business owners and are promoting advertising platforms for CBD like Reddit, Bing, and AdRoll.
Interestingly enough, Bing and Reddit each have advertising restrictions against CBD and cannabis that are similar to Google and Facebook’s cannabis/CBD advertising restrictions.
My point being, it certainly does seem possible to advertise CBD on Google, as well as other digital display advertising platforms that allow CBD advertising.
This article will discuss 3 marketing strategies to enable you to advertise CBD oil and CBD products on Google, with and without advertising restrictions.
1. Try Google Ads To Market You CBD Products…
At Least Once
According to the Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements section of Google’s Advertising policy, CBD is an example of pharmaceuticals and supplements that Google Ads doesn’t allow.
Didn’t we just see an ad for CBD Oil on Amazon as well as other PPC ads that were served up for the search term “can you advertise CBD on Google”? Yes we did! Scroll up to review.
This is why we highly recommend to all new clients selling CBD products to strategically try Google Ads, on both the search and display networks, to get maximum reach and retargeting capability.
You still need to keep in mind that the ads we create for your CBD products may not get approved the first time we run them through Google’s approval process, but that doesn’t mean it’s game over.
It’s typical to have to tweak Google search ad copy, display ad creative, and even landing page copy and metadata, in order to get Google ads for CBD approved. Our team is creative and tenacious and welcomes this challenge.
We have a process for writing Google search ads for CBD products and designing the display ad creative for Google display advertising.
We also have a process for optimizing the landing page that your ads will drive traffic to. Google (and Facebook) can read the landing page’s metadata and its on-page copy. So if there are too many references to selling CBD oil and listing CBD benefits or health claims, your ad could be disapproved.
For examples of how we have been able to advertise medical marijuana on Facebook, Google, and YouTube, and how we advertised cannabis and CBD marketing services on Google search, please see our case studies.
For an example of how we were able to increase sales for a local business by 30% in 30-days, read that case study here.
2. Sell CBD Oil Using Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping has been around for a long time and may not even be on your radar. But if you’re an e-commerce based CBD business you should really get to know this free tool.
It’s essentially Google’s answer to Amazon, it allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.
If you use Google Shopping advertise CBD on Google, your CBD products will be found by people looking to buy CBD oil and using Google to fulfill their need.
Here’s how Shopify defines Google Shopping:
Google Shopping is powered by two platforms: Google Ads and Google Merchant Center.
Google Merchant Center is where your product feed lives. Your product feed holds the details of your products organized in a format Google likes.
Google Ads is where your actual shopping campaigns live and where you’ll set your budget, manage your bids, gain insights, and make optimizations based on performance.
So you still use the Google Ads platform to set up and manage your CBD advertising for Google Shopping ads. The process is quite a bit different from setting up traditional text ads.
For example, with text ads, we create campaigns, ad groups and ads that are focused around the most profitable keywords that we research for your CBD business.
With Google Shopping, Google determines when your product listing ads show up. They consider your feed, your site, and the bids we manage to determine what search queries will trigger your ads. Because of this, setting up shopping ads has some strong similarities to SEO.
In other words, to get the maximum effect from Google Shopping Ads for your CBD products, your product feed needs to be created properly and SEO optimized effectively.
We’d highly recommend you source an experienced cannabis and CBD SEO expert or use our agency to set up and optimize your Google Shopping Ads for CBD.
If your Google Shopping Ads campaign is set up for success, your CBD products could be displayed when a customer uses Google to search for CBD Oil or other CBD product. They can appear in the main search engine results page or under the shopping tab.
Here’s what I saw when I went to Google Shopping and searched for “cbd oil”:
The results show the user options to buy Hemp Seed Oil, Hemp Calming Oil, as well as other products related to CBD oil.
The main point is that clearly, some CBD brands are using Google Shopping Ads to advertise CBD on Google. Once again, another reason, and another option, for you to try using Google to market and promote your CBD products.
3. Implement a CBD SEO Strategy on Your Website
Did you know that 40% of searches are local searches, related to finding information, location, and phone numbers of local businesses?
How about the fact that 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches.
If you’re selling your CBD products at local dispensaries, a CBD SEO strategy is essential to growing your business, locally. Your products or dispensary locations need to be found on page 1 of a relevant Google search.
When it comes to CBD marketing, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a clear choice to drive highly qualified potential customers to your website, CBD dispensary, or online CBD store.
The best part is that there are absolutely no advertising restrictions when it comes to SEO. You can publish whatever you want on your website.
The key to your website and your website content to be found in Google search results for relevant CBD search queries like “buy cbd near me” or “where to buy cbd in [your city]”, is for all of your code, content, images, and metadata to be Google friendly, i.e., for all your content to be optimized for search engines.
If not, Google will not know what your site is about, what type of searches is your site most relevant for, and therefore not know how to rank your content for your relevant keywords.
This can be a huge issue because your potential customers are actively searching for information on CBD oil and CBD products and most of them are using Google to search for answers. They aren’t going to Instagram to find useful, high-quality information on CBD benefits.
Here’s clear proof of that fact:
You can see each search query in the search box field at the top next to the Google logo, and underneath that you’ll see the number of search results for each query.
There’s clearly a ton of competition for some terms and not as much for others, but either way, there are only 10 organic positions on the first page pf Google – and you want your CBD brand to own at least one of them for your most profitable keyword.
The only way to get a position on Page 1 of a relevant CBD search on Google, let alone the top position, is to use SEO to market your CBD business. Here’s how SEO can help you increase search engine rankings for your CBD products:
- Start with comprehensive keyword research to identify the best (most profitable) keywords for your business. Look for the questions people are asking Google about CBD, then optimize and publish content that answers these questions.
- Implement a local SEO strategy into your CBD marketing mix to dominate the Google Local Map Pack for local searches to find CBD in your city. Claim your Google My Business Page, fill out all relevant sections completely, and optimize the heck out of it.
- Set a list of targeted keywords that you want to rank for and track those keyword rankings weekly/monthly and compare to the rankings of your competitors.
- Publish relevant, high-quality blog content on your website each month. We recommend using keyword research to find the most popular/profitable blog topics, and then to write at least 2 x 1200 word, SEO optimized blog articles, with images and media, each month.
SEO is much more complicated than the three high-level steps listed above. But, by following these simple tips you’ll be able to improve your website’s domain authority, its relevance, and its trustworthiness.
Relevance, authority, and trust are 3 of the main search engine ranking factors Google reviews when they choose how, where, and when to show your website links in a search results page.
We Help You Advertise CBD on Google
So as you can see, it actually is possible to advertise CBD oil and other CBD products on Google. Google offers more than just one channel for CBD advertisers too.
Your Google Ad options include:
- Google Text Ads on Google Search Network
- Google Display Ads on the Google Display Network
- Pre-roll and True View Video Ads on YouTube
- Google Shopping Ads for CBD Products
Search engines like Google & Bing are 100% intent-based. Meaning, people use Google when they have the intent to buy something specific, or search for more information on something specific.
In other words, your target demographic uses search engines with specific intent. People do not use Instagram and social media in the same way.
Generally speaking, people go to Google when they know what they want, people go to social media when they want to be entertained.
If you’re ready to take your CBD marketing to the next level and try using Google Ads to promote your CBD products, we’d love to chat with you about how we can help.
Please contact us for a free consultation or to request a quote.
How to Advertise CBD on Google: Your Complete Guide to CBD Advertising
It is difficult to ignore the growing presence of cannabidiol all around us and in our everyday products. The healing compound retails at our farmer’s markets, coffee shops, and more recently, the drugstore chain CVS. So it must be okay to advertise CBD on Google, right? While the decriminalization of cannabis on a statewide level rises, CBD advertising online isn’t free from regulatory shackles.
In this article, I’ll explain what CBD is, how it differs from marijuana, the effect it has on the industry, and the steps needed for digital advertising compliance.
The CBD industry: Market opportunity
As CBD enters the mainstream and the benefits of cannabidiol become more established, the industry continues to grow rapidly. The plant has the potential to help those who suffer from acute and chronic pain, seizures, and anxiety. These benefits largely contribute to its popularity as an alternative to both medical and recreational marijuana consumers.
Studies reveal that the North American cannabis industry is expected to reach $16 billion by the end of 2019 – an impressive leap considering the $10 billion investors placed in the U.S. market just a year ago (over 50% growth). Wall Street cannabis analyst, Cowen Vivien Azer, speculates the U.S. cannabis industry will reach an astounding $80 billion by 2030 . This assumes that we continue to trend toward national availability. CBD, however, remains one of the most profitable product categories in the industry. Azer claims CBD will bring in total revenue of $1.6 billion in the U.S. within the next 1-2 years.
Despite an impressive industry forecast and successful track record of growth, CBD advertising in the industry isn’t cut and dry. Discriminatory advertising policies have curtailed e-commerce sales on an industry-wide level. Statistics show that 97% of start-ups in the cannabis industry fail in their first year. This is comparative to just 20% of small businesses.
If you are a CBD entrepreneur looking for tips and tricks on how to advertise CBD online, you are in the right place. This article will show you how to advertise CBD on Google, Facebook, and Instagram in a few easy steps. First, let’s explore the differences between CBD and marijuana, and how evolving cannabis laws and regulations affect the CBD advertising industry.
What is CBD, and how is it different than marijuana?
The chances are you’ve heard of CBD, but you may not know exactly what it is. CBD is one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, known as “cannabinoids.” THC may be the most well-known cannabinoid for its ability to get people high. CBD, however, is a rising star for its capacity to deliver a range of mental and physical benefits. While CBD comes in many forms, the most common is CBD oil. When you pair CBD extract with a carrier, such as coconut oil, it can be applied topically, vaped, or ingested.
At the University of California Davis School of Medicine, Yu-Fung Lin, associate professor of physiology and membrane biology, teaches a course on cannabis physiology. She says that CBD is not psychotropic – meaning it won’t induce euphoria or alter one’s perception of reality. Instead, CBD targets a wide variety of proteins in the brain and nervous system that offer relief from nausea, pain, and anxiety. CBD may also benefit our immune system and bones. It works broadly through the body as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, the effects of which could protect cells from damage associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
CBD derives from both hemp plants and marijuana plants. While they share some of the same characteristics, the difference comes down to one major factor. That is the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The marijuana commonly referenced in the medical and recreational markets contains up to 30% THC. Hemp, on the other hand, holds no more than 0.3%. What does all this mean? Well, marijuana will get you “high” and CBD-rich hemp won’t – not even a little bit.
Cannabis laws and regulations
While the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on a state and federal level is murky at best, the use and legality of CBD products are even more clouded.
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, plus Washington DC. Ten of these states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Main, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) plus Washington D.C. have further expanded their laws to include recreational marijuana use. 66% of states and approximately ⅔ of Americans have voted for the legalization of marijuana in some form. However, federal law does not currently recognize the distinction between hemp strains from other cannabis plants.
The group of plants itself was effectively criminalized in 1937 with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act, and further made illegal with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. In 2014, Congress approved the Farm Bill, allowing specific pilot programs to study the benefits of hemp-derived products.
The Farm Bill of 2018 takes it a step further, broadly allowing hemp cultivation across state lines for both commercial and other purposes. However, individuals and businesses still face strict regulatory compliances.
- For protection under federal law, hemp products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC.
- States must devise and submit a hemp regulatory program plan to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) OR compliance with a federally-run program.
- Lastly, the bill specifies violations, details punishments, creates a pathway for violators to become legal, and specifies what actions are considered felonies under the law.
Hemp-derived CBD: Where are we now?
While the 2018 Farm Bill approved the production of hemp and CBD oil, the law requires a regulatory framework not yet established in all states. Once your state is approved, the use and sale of hemp-derived CBD should be acceptable at a state level.
Currently, CBD regulations are patchy and unpredictable, crossing a variety of cities and states. Some areas, like NYC and Ohio, are imposing fines on outlets who sell CBD-infused food and drinks. Comparatively, the governor of Maine signed an emergency bill this year allowing the sale of CBD in food and products after state inspectors threatened to remove them from the shelves. Other players in the game, such as Walgreens and CVS, are offering hemp-based CBD lotions nationwide. For now, the FDA hasn’t explicitly expressed concern.
CBD advertising tips and tricks
While marijuana remains federally illegal, it’s essential to keep in mind that legitimate hemp-based CBD cannot have the presence of THC. Those who are interested in advertising CBD online must take great care to ensure they are not promoting CBD-oil derived from marijuana, rather than hemp.
Commercial retailers should proceed with caution when advocating the health benefits of their products. Health benefits are scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and, to some degree, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you decide to run CBD advertising that makes medical and health claims, you will need evidence to support these claims.
How to advertise CBD on google
So . . . with all of this in mind, can you advertise CBD on Google, or not? The answer is yes, it is possible to advertise CBD on Google with the right approach. CBD entrepreneurs and marketers need to find a way to promote their CBD product in a way that doesn’t interfere with Google’s ad policy.
You may have already attempted to create a standard ad campaign on Google for your CBD product and have gotten denied. Some people may be able to fly under the radar for a day or two. However, AdWords will remove your CBD campaign the moment it scrawls the content on your landing page and website. Google removes most normal campaigns that advertise CBD in less than two weeks. This may result in disapproval of your ads and even permanent suspension of your account.
If you decide to move forward with CBD advertising with Google AdWords (Google Ads), you should proceed with caution. Google AdWords could flag your billing information, and even your entire domain, to prevent you from attempting to advertise CBD online with a new account.
CBD advertising on Google
The good news is that it’s entirely possible to advertise CBD on Google without running the risk of violating AdWords terms and conditions. Here’s how:
- First, create a new Google AdWords specifically for CBD advertising and your CBD product. This way, you won’t interfere with any other products you sell if AdWords finds a problem with your account.
- Second, set your budget and location as you usually would. Set your campaign type to “Paid Search Ads.”
- Select keywords and match types based on your product and industry. Your focus words should include things like “CBD” and “hemp.” Next, set your bid (cost-per-click) per word.
- Now you will write your ad. Make sure you avoid promoting your CBD product directly. Instead, try using terms that hint at the products you offer.
- Finally, create a landing page that promotes your CBD product without selling it directly. This will help you avoid interference with Google’s terms and conditions.
How to advertise CBD on Facebook
Trying to navigate ever-evolving cannabis regulations is stressful enough, and now you have to add CBD advertising to your list of complications? If you are a CBD business owner struggling to advertise CBD on Facebook, you are in the right place.
Facebook recently placed a ban on advertising ingestible hemp and CBD products. The issue is that Facebook’s advertising policy did not specifically mention these products. This caused frustration among various CBD brands, and even garnered a lawsuit claiming deceptive practices.
Although Facebook has relaxed its “total” ban on CBD-derived products, the new policies only benefit advertisers of topical hemp. The new rule poses complications for suppliers of ingestible hemp that want to advertise CBD on Facebook. Ad campaigns cannot directly feature those products. Facebook still prohibits ads for ingestible CBD, including advertisements with landing pages that promote it.
If you create a CBD ad, it may run for a couple of days. However, as soon as Facebook scrawls your ad and landing page for “CBD” terminology, you will likely be suspended and placed in “Facebook Jail.”
Facebook Jail may sound like a joke, but it’s actually how the social media platform punishes you for not following the rules. When you violate Facebook’s terms and conditions, you may not be able to access the ad manager. They can even lock you out of your account. If you want to be taken seriously as a business on Facebook and maintain your current following, it’s a good idea to follow the rules.
CBD advertising on Facebook
So, you’re probably wondering if it is even possible to advertise CBD on Facebook! The answer is yes, but advertising CBD online will take a bit of time and some creative work-around. Here’s how you do it:
- Create a new Facebook business account for your CBD brand. Make sure to exclude any mention of Cannabidiol and CBD from your new page.
- Purchase a new domain that doesn’t include CBD anywhere in the name. Build your entire e-commerce website (or create a copy) on your new domain.
- CBD images are entirely okay to use, but you want to refrain from using any CBD or related keywords on your website.
- Get creative, and explain the benefits of your product to your user without directly saying what it is.
- Create a Facebook ad that doesn’t mention CBD in the image or ad copy. Instead, focus on the benefits of your product and the ailments it may address.
- Target an audience demographic who have expressed an interest in “hemp oil.” Finally, launch your compliant CBD campaign!
How to advertise CBD on Instagram
If you are a new CBD entrepreneur, you are likely exploring all avenues of promoting your business. With over 1 billion active Instagram users and 80% of those accounts following a company, the need to incorporate Instagram into your CBD marketing plan shouldn’t fall by the wayside.
Despite widespread legalizations and impressive market forecasts, the legal cannabis industry is a challenging world to navigate. While significant advertising platforms like Google and Facebook continue to respond to the progression of cannabis laws differently, the question remains – is it possible to advertise CBD on Instagram?
Unfortunately, similarly to Google, Facebook (who owns Instagram) aligns with the DEA in classifying CBD as a “dangerous product.” This makes it challenging to advertise CBD online, resulting in the rejection and removal of any CBD advertising and related products. Strict ad regulations ultimately leave those who want to advertise CBD on Instagram with limited options.
However, there is a solution that will allow business owners to advertise CBD on Instagram: Influencer Marketing.
CBD advertising with Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing isn’t just a buzzword for attention-seeking millennials. It’s a strategy that really works. With influencer marketing, CBD brands partner with influencers to gain access to highly engaged and targeted audiences. The best part? This tactic completely removes the red tape and risk of getting your account shut down.
Statistics reveal that influencer marketing often generates a better ROI than paid alternatives. According to Nielsen Research, 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of their friends, family, and those whom they admire, compared to an average Facebook click-through rate of 1%. When you partner with influencers, you promote your products without having to follow strict advertising guidelines. Your CBD brand will seamlessly appear on your potential customers’ feeds as they interact with their favorite accounts.
Furthermore, influencers are some of the best CBD brand advocates in the health and wellness space. If you want to advertise CBD on Instagram, gain visibility, and grow your following, partner with people who are eager to buy, try, and advocate for amazing CBD products.
Joining the growing market of CBD
The allure of a healthy and expanding market has entrepreneurs questioning how they can help pioneer the progression of the CBD industry. Companies that offer CBD have a tremendous opportunity, as advocates of CBD claim that the healing compound offers anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving effects.
Navigating the complex and ever-changing world of cannabis in the 21st century isn’t simple, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. When you consider the type of CBD product you’re interested in marketing, you can then examine your target demographics and state regulations. With a little bit of education and finesse, you can learn how to advertise CBD on Google and achieve success advertising CBD online.
LiftIntent CBD advertising capabilities
The LiftIntent platform allows CBD brands and businesses to advertise across all programmatic channels, including connected TV, native, video, display, email, and audio advertising.
Our CBD media kit gives additional information on our CBD advertising capabilities.
If you’re interested in our programmatic CBD marketing and CBD advertising services, contact us to get our CBD media kit, CBD oil case study , and to go over your campaign goals.