When the dust settled after the search engines battled for market share, Google emerged as the leader and "gold standard" for users searching for the most relevant information and for marketers trying to reach this audience. In fact, as of December 2019, Google controls 92.71% of the search engine market share!
While it has proven to be very challenging to advertise cannabis/CBD brands on Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing, it is not impossible. When you are constructing your marketing strategy, consider testing a Google Adwords campaign with a text ad, display ad, Google Shopping service, or Gmail sponsored promos. Search engine marketing is based on the customer's intent to purchase, while social media marketing is based on targeting by interest.
There are no guarantees that when building an ad campaign on search engines such as Google that your cannabis/CBD campaign will be approved. However, the potential upside is so significant that it's worth a shot. Google has a billion people using their products and handles over 3.5 billion searches every day! Plus Youtube, owned by Google, has 1.8 billion active monthly users! Marketers love Google products and it shows in the massive amount of their ad revenue. Google's advertising revenue amounted to 134.81 billion US dollars in 2019!
So how are some advertisers able to get their campaigns approved while others cannot? It comes down to testing and being persistent. The chances are that if you have the term "cannabis" in your branding, you may be out of luck due to Google's advertising restrictions for cannabis/CBD. According to Google's Advertising policy, cannabis and CBD are considered pharmaceuticals and supplements that Google Ads doesn't allow.
There are strategies that you can implement that will help to navigate around these restrictions. However, first consider that, unlike some of the organic traffic strategies discussed in previous articles, these marketing tactics require a budget. It's a pay to play scenario which favors companies with larger budgets.
When constructing an ad, trial and error will enable you to make the needed tweaks to all aspects of your campaign. For instance, your ad copy is critical since Google is primarily keyword driven. Research approved keywords that you can use in your ad copy, your display images, and landing page copy and creatives.
If you operate an e-commerce business selling CBD, the Google Shopping platform may be an excellent fit for your marketing. Google seems to be a bit more lenient with keywords for Google Shopping. Take advantage of these opportunities and test keywords such as CBD oil and hemp oil but stay away from forbidden words such as "canna," 'cannabis," "cannabidiol," "cannabinoid,"' pot," and 'weed.' Unlike Google Adwords, which is primarily driven by keywords and bids, when your Google Shopping products ads show up in search queries is determined by Google and based mainly on your site's SEO and how optimized and "Google friendly" it is.
In addition to traditional search engines like Google, there are some alternative options such as the Traffic Roots advertising network, the Mantis Ad Network, and the FieldTest digital ad platform, that are dedicated to promoting cannabis/CBD companies. Good luck and happy hunting!
Interested in receiving our Free 7 Module Green Business Training?