Advertising cannabis-related products can be quite tricky, and it doesn’t help that Facebook has banned all hemp and CBD-related ads on their website. While some parts of the world started opening their doors to medical cannabis such as in New Zealand, it seems that the online platform is not ready for change just yet.
As more startup businesses get involved in CBD oil and other byproducts of this miracle plant, it’s important to gain an edge ads-wise. Facebook, which now has over 2 billion active users monthly, is a great avenue to grow an enterprise. That is if one can hurdle the Facebook ad ban on hemp and cannabis-related items.
Facebook as a networking giant is a marketing haven for small to medium-sized businesses. It has cheaper advertising rates and higher potential for engagement. In a particular study on Facebook advertising, it was shown that brand equity and brand image are significantly enriched by Facebook ads, and this, in turn, contributed to a user’s purchasing intent.
What does that mean for CBD and hemp startups? Simply, brand awareness and a greater chance to meet leads. However, Facebook has a specific algorithm that trawls ad campaigns and landing pages with keywords such as CBD, hemp, and cannabis. These terms get flagged only ten minutes after publishing and are removed from Facebook premises.
Additionally, the site does not allow paid promotion on CBD-related products. This is because the FDA is still undecided as of press time whether to treat this growing industry as a hero or enemy. In essence, their ad policies only permit campaigns for non-ingestible variants but even that has a gray area. This prompted Facebook to tighten their leash on such ads, even if a startup is willing to pay good money for them.
The CBD industry shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to impact more people in the next few years. A study by investment bank Cowen & Co. fearlessly predicted that the cannabidiol market can reach a $16-billion consumer opportunity by 2025. This astounding number shows how important it is to get a footing as early as today, and Facebook ads might just be the venue for it.
Working around loopholes is steadily becoming the norm for startups to advertise the benefits of CBD to the general public. One way is to create a “muted-down” copy of the website. These duplicate pages hint of the product without using keywords that trigger ad review.
When a user clicks the ad, they are sent to the duplicate URL. If they click anywhere on the page, they are redirected to the real CBD startup website.
Besides skirting through keywords, some brands avoid the dreaded manual review by an actual Facebook employee by simply rolling out new ads as much and as often as they can. Any attention to be had by using Facebook ads, no matter how short-lived, can still help increase brand awareness.
Facebook is teeming with users that can become potential leads, and this has to be explored in-depth by CBD and hemp startups. With more people turning to CBD oil than traditional treatments these days, it’s important for small cannabis enterprises to leverage all forms of advertisement, including Facebook ads.