Programmatic Cannabis Advertising refers to digital marketing on behalf of legal businesses operating in the cannabis industry. While the targeting options and available products continue to expand, any and all campaigns will include a mandatory 21+ age restriction, and target locations will be limited to states/countries where legislation has been passed to allow for this type of advertising. Due to the ongoing legalization of cannabis at the state level across the United States, more publishers and technology partners are opening the doors for these businesses to take advantage of the powerful tools already available to other businesses.
Do you have a Cannabis-related client that is asking for the newest advertising technology to launch their brand even further than before? Purplegator is excited to announce an expansion of available products and targeting options for cannabis advertisers. These include:
2020 was a year that had a catastrophic impact on many state economies. With a new administration in place, states are seriously considering the legalization of recreational/medical cannabis use to help rebound economies from the substantial hit they took last year. Digital cannabis advertising has traditionally been very limited due to the sensitive nature of the products being sold, and the patchwork of legality between states and the federal government. These limits ad restrictions affected available inventory, platforms, reporting, and everything in between. However, the programmatic industry is increasingly embracing the value of supporting cannabis businesses, and the stigma tied to the products being sold is giving way to greater acceptance across all touch points in the digital journey from business to its target audience.
The nationwide easement of lockdown measures and travel restrictions, coupled with the emergence from winter into the warmer months of spring and summer signal an amazing opportunity to get in front of these businesses and help them take advantage of the powerful tools that help them bring business through the front door.
Purplegator’s Cannabis network is expanding beyond what has traditionally been limited to geo-targeting and/or device ID targeting due to the increased scale in available inventory and technology partnerships. Notably, this includes enhanced targeting options (behaviors, demos, etc), video placements, Streaming Radio (including podcasts), and Streaming TV.
Metrics & Reporting
At Purplegator, we provide weekly statistical updates for most programs. On a monthly basis, we provide in-depth statistical reviews usually during a personal meeting with the client. As we obtain more data, we use that information to enhance your marketing program by continually tweaking the creative, the mediums and the target markets.
Pricing & Forecasting
Contact Purplegator if you are interested in reaching new highs with your cannabis store marketing.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in 19 states. Medical marijuana use is legal in 35 states. Business Insider
Colorado saw more than $2 billion in recreational marijuana sales in 2020. Marijuana Moment
Dispensaries have been considered essential businesses during the CoronaVirus Pandemic. Forbes
Once internet advertising changed the digital marketing game, television came under greater scrutiny. Television is unable to target viewers as precisely as desktop and mobile advertising, which is why it has become less popular as an advertising medium.
Online Television vs Traditional
Today, the line between online television and traditional television has been blurred. The major networks are also available online, and many streaming services do not display ads. Cable competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix and YouTube are fighting for the same viewers that the four major networks used to share almost entirely to themselves.
Over the Top (OTT) television is a live streaming form of TV service offered directly to consumers via the internet. OTT bypasses traditional television options such as cable, broadcast and satellite platforms. Advertising on OTT television is more like advertising on mobile websites. With OTT (Over the Top) television advertising, marketers can target the right audience that they want to reach, because the same commercials don’t play for all as they do with traditional television.
While on traditional television, advertising goes out the same way to whoever is sitting in front of the set. With OTT television, every advertising impression you buy is directed to the proper relevant audience segment. Instead of casting a wide net based on the type of programming that is being shown, an OTT budget is laser focused on your best potential customers. The days of targeting by generalities is over; now television, via OTT, can target via income, zip code, education or interest.
Advertising on OTT networks has become as easy as marketing your product with desktop and mobile publishers. Marketers can purchase OTT from the same DSPs (demand side platforms) that offer programmatic advertising opportunities. Or, one can buy directly from the OTT networks themselves. Hulu, for example, now sells advertising packages for as low as $500 per campaign, thus making their offerings available to all small businesses.
New OTT Advertising Opportunties
Let’s take a look at the new OTT television upstart advertising offerings that are available today to savvy businesses. Numerous categories are available to advertisers, but all use the same programmatic approach that has helped buoy mobile and digital advertising to become the leading advertising medium today.
MVPDs = Multichannel Video Programming Distributor
vMVPDs = Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor
The OTT networks the likes of Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Prime have altered the way that we watch television. According to a new report from Nielsen, 19% of the time consumers spent watching TV in OTT-capable homes in the fourth quarter of 2019 was spent on streaming, whether it was ad-supported or paid subscription services.
Purplegator provides advertisers with a multichannel approach to their marketing that now includes OTT television. The one difference that you will need when doing OTT television is that you’ll need a higher quality commercial than the ordinary video that you might use on mobile and digital advertising.
There are hundreds of social media networks easily accessible to us, but only so much time in the day. Most businesses can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s important to zero in on the social media networks that will bring your brand the greatest return on investment (ROI). If your business has limited time and resources, you should consider posting on the social media networks that come easiest to you and ignore those that you won’t have time for.
With this in consideration, as your business grows, or the ROI on your social media improves, you may want to expand later down the road. So here’s the perfect hack: be sure to always reserve the social media profile names that you will need before somebody else gobbles them up!
When it comes to organic social media posting (not paid advertising), engagement is key. Engagement is a blanket term that shows that your social media audience has shown an interest in your post. Not all engagements are created equal, however. Watching a 60-second video is certainly more valuable to a brand than a quick double tap for a like. But, in both cases, they count as one engagement. Relevance Raises Response’s author, Bob Bentz, claims that the penultimate engagement is a share, because that is a “vote” for your business.
Let’s take a look at the most popular social media networks and analyze their demographics and what constitutes engagement on each platform.
Facebook is the Tom Brady of social media. It’s been around and on top forever, but despite the fact that you are tired of it, it’s still the best choice for most businesses’ social media efforts. There’s a growing misnomer that young adults are not on Facebook. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, 79% of young adults, ages 18-29, use Facebook. They may not be as active on the platform as their Gen X or Baby Boomer parents, but they are there nevertheless, perhaps more as voyeurs than participants.
Facebook spans urban to rural Americans and although it has more females than males, both numbers are staggering. Facebook also attracts college educated and high income Americans. To get to the point: if you have a business, put it on Facebook.
Likes, Comments, Shares, Link Taps, Image Taps and Video Views all constitute engagement on Facebook. It’s difficult to track a bona fide engagement rate on Facebook, because of EdgeRank. Due to the large amount of posting taking place on Facebook, EdgeRank limits the amount of your business page followers that will ever see your post. Only about 5.2% of the followers of a business page will ever see your post. Zuckerberg is no dummy; Facebook has clearly moved to a pay to play model. Gone are the days when a Facebook business page provided a plethora of free marketing.
A good goal for a large business would be to get a 1% engagement rate on Facebook. A small local business, with a loyal customer base, should aim for a 2% engagement rate; some will get a rate as high as 5%.
Facebook owns Instagram, which is a critical player in the social media landscape. Its demographics skew much younger, more female, higher educated, and higher income than its parent-app FB.
On Instagram, the image is everything and the copy is secondary. You have more control of what you see, so it is less likely your feed will get blown up with political nonsense, unlike Facebook, unless you want it to be shown. If your business has an inviting aesthetic, it will be, by far, the platform where you enjoy the greatest engagement.
Instagram use is almost entirely mobile. That means that your post is going to take up 100% of the smartphone screen. So, make your posts look pretty. When a user scrolls through his or her Instagram feed, it’s just so easy to double tap a like on your post. Likes (or hearts in this case) are going to overwhelmingly be the most common engagement, but there’s also comments, shares and tap throughs. Of course, what you want most is tap throughs that convert to a brand following.
A good engagement percentage on Instagram is 7%. You will see a lot of helpful stats on Instagram Insights, but be sure that you are using a proper business account; individuals don’t have access to Insights.
Don’t ignore the Stories tool on Instagram, it’s power is often underestimated. It’s always right at the top of the page and you won’t have as much competition in gaining exposure there. On posts you can only see who has liked your image, but on Instagram stories you can see exactly who has viewed your photo, boomerang or video. Moreover, you can use some of your second tier content on Stories since it disappears after only a day. If you get good engagement with your Instagram Stories, you’ll likely have greater prominence on the customer’s page and move further to the left in the important ranking sequence.
If you have multiple images, use the carousel feature to gain additional exposure for your brand. And, remember, Instagram, like Twitter, is a hashtag-centric platform so use them and use them a lot.
Twitter is one of the few social media platforms that skew more towards men than women. It’s an urban medium with high income and high education levels.
The platform has been around for a long time, and is a great source for late breaking information. If your business has constantly changing information, it’s a great platform for you.
Since the Tweets flash along the medium quickly and are soon forgotten (until we look back at your archives for some “dirt” on you), it’s important to spend a lot of time increasing your following. This requires a significant amount of time spent following others in your industry and engaging with key influencers who can have a profound impact on your efforts.
Twitter is likely going to be your worst engagement rate, but it’s not that Twitter isn’t good, it’s just that there are so many posts happening concurrently on it. It brings up the reason why posting often on Twitter is critical (nobody knows this better than former President Donald Trump).
Engagement on Twitter is most likely to be a retweet, reply or a like. But, it might also be a follow, link tap, hashtag tap, video view or a profile tap. Any action by the viewer that is over and above a view, constitutes engagement.
If you can get an engagement rate of 0.5% on Twitter, you are doing a good job.
Many brands use Twitter as a customer service tool. Responding quickly to customer inquiries can greatly increase your following and your engagement rate.
Remember, on mobile, you don’t click, you tap.
As you would expect, LinkedIn is the highest income, highest education and skews the most urban of all of the major social media networks. You won’t find a lot of rural residents involved with the platform.
Because of the business focus of the platform, an organization should treat it much differently than the other social media platforms. While selling can be more obvious in your posts, it is still a medium about relationships, just like the others.
Recently, LinkedIn has become more forgiving about its users being able to connect with others in their vertical market. This has caused an increase in connection requests, many of which annoyingly go right into selling mode. Like other social media platforms, establishing a relationship with a prospect should be the first step and selling them will come later if they believe that your product can help them.
Unlike other social media platforms, a business social media marketer using LinkedIn will likely have greater success providing its sales team with content to post on their personal accounts than it will in generating leads from its brand account. A savvy LinkedIn social media manager will need to do twice the work — creating posts for the business and also creating posts that encourage the sales team and management to post on behalf of the company.
LinkedIn is the business version of Facebook. While engagement for brands is usually less than for individuals, it’s a great way to gain exposure without having to pay for advertisements. Because it’s more individual-based than brand-based, it is important to encourage your employees to be actively involved with LinkedIn to promote themselves and your brand.
Taps on the news feed post or on the brand itself are considered engagements. Comments, shares and reactions are also engagement actions.
Attempt to get a 2% engagement rate on your LinkedIn posts.
Business people in your industry are counting on your brand to keep them informed. Post breaking news about new developments. Executives like the posting of a good joke if it’s industry related. Don’t post pictures of your vacation, but know it’s OK to be a bit goofy sometimes, even on the business platform so long as it’s something that is related to business.
Always reply to comments made; your followers took time out of their busy schedules to make those comments. Finally, you can “trick” LinkedIn to get more exposure for your business posts. Ask your employees to engage with the post immediately after it is live. This will encourage LinkedIn’s algorithm to identify your post as helpful and you may gain greater exposure with it.
Pinterest is the social media platform that is dominated by women and it appeals to urban, suburban and rural women.
Much of the posts on Pinterest are fashion and female oriented. So, it is not going to be a platform that is required for all businesses and brands.
One of the best things about Pinterest is that social media pins don’t disappear. If an old pin receives engagement from a new viewer, it rises back to the top of the pile in search of that item. Therefore, content that was created even years ago can still be effective. So, put a lot of effort into the posts and they will continue to pay off perhaps even years from now.
Of course, the negative side of this is that you have to continue to update older posts. Since these older posts can be found, you’ll need to update some items such as the price or features including the size or color that are still available.
Pinterest provides solid engagement. It’s difficult to “pin” a number on it, however, since pins get resurrected when they are repinned later. That said, a 1% engagement rate would be acceptable.
The best type of engagement on Pinterest is a repin, but there’s also follows and comments.
There’s no doubt as to who is using Snapchat — teens and young adults. In general, Mom and Dad haven’t found it…yet. Because so many Snapchat users are not yet of adult age, its college graduate levels are extremely low, but if those teens and young adults continue to use it, that will change over time.
The other platforms have certainly seen the threat posed by Snapchat and they have copied the model made popular by Snap. Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories conveniently appeared soon after Snapchat started enjoying prominence with its imagery. Both are blatant ripoffs and prove the old adage that the best ideas are usually stolen, not invented.
Engagement on Snapchat is outstanding. Agencies report that it often gets the greatest engagement of any social media medium it uses if the target audience is teens and young adults. Users of Snapchat are passionate about it so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Screenshots and swipe ups are the primary engagement actions on Snapchat.
Other than Instagram, YouTube is the place where a brand is going to obtain the best engagement rate. Of course, it could be argued that even though a YouTube engagement rate is slightly lower than that of Instagram, because of the nature of a longer video view, YouTube is the most important place for your brand to be.
Engagement on YouTube can be likes, dislikes, comments, shares, saves, downloads or tap throughs.
A good engagement rate on YouTube for a business post would be 2.5%, although it varies greatly depending on the content. Gaming sites, for example, typically have an engagement rate as high as 5.5%. Highly popular music videos, however, have one of the lowest engagement rates in the industry, likely because any comments on a popular artist’s video will likely get lost in the millions of its video views. Also, because music on YouTube is often used as background noise while the consumer multi-tasks, there is no time for engagement.
Given the raging popularity of TikTok, we would be remiss to not mention the newest major player on the scene. The first thing you are going to have to decide, however, is that if you are going to get involved with TikTok as a business social media platform, there will be controversy surrounding it. Many politicians are concerned about the amount of data that the Chinese owned company is obtaining from American citizens. So, if you are going to be active on TikTok, it makes sense to first get management sign off on it and get it in writing.
On TikTok, engagement is as high as 17.5 %. (Hype Auditor, 2020). Users can engage by liking, commenting and sharing content. To maximize engagement, you should appear on the For You page. The mind-numbing seemingly endless amount of new content has created a social media platform that now has the largest time spent per user per day of all social media platforms.
TikTok Copycats Enter the Market
You know you’ve done something right in mobile when others start copying you. Instagram Reels, launched in August 2020, was created when the uproar over TikTok’s dangers were at a crescendo. The biggest advantage to Reels is that it’s part of a more mainstream platform in Instagram where brands are able to connect with the following they’ve already built instead of trying to create new followings on TikTok. While the technology may be similar, its users are likely seeking something different on each platform. TikTok’s content is raw and whatever moves you at the moment; Instagram typically provides aspirational imagery that is picture perfect.
Byte is a new player on the scene. Its videos are just that – bytes. Videos are limited to just six seconds. Talk about attention deficit! Byte was created by Dom Hoffman — the same mobile internet pioneer that created the once popular Vine. Vine suffered because it didn’t have a way to monetize it properly, but Byte won’t fall into that trap. Byte plans to build a base of users and then monetize it later. The newest player has provided advertising to a few select brands such as Nike, but the major advertising mechanisms will come soon to a small screen near you.
Finally, there’s the music-first platform Triller. Triller has some superstar investors, including Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, The Weeknd and Cardi B that will enable it to grow quickly given those key influencers. It allows users to edit their own music videos in their entirety without limiting them to 60 seconds as TikTok requires.
The cannabis industry is rapidly progressing, so if you are in the marketing industry, it’s time to catch up. Digital marketing for cannabis is where the money is at right now, but the price to pay is the rules and regulations that come along with marketing in this industry. This is nothing too challenging as long as you are aware of your state laws, appropriate vocabulary and catering to a strictly 21+ target audience. Below is everything you will need to know about digital marketing cannabis products:
As we always say, Relevance Raises Reponse. Reach and frequency is key to having success in any campaign, but since cannabis marketing comes with more extensive regulations, it is especially important to be specific with whom exactly you are targeting. There is an art to programmatic display with cannabis.
Here’s some of our tips:
ONLY target a 21+ audience
Use high quality sites to improve campaign performance
Analyze your data frequently with in-depth reporting
Retarget site visitors
Advertising on general marketing sites like ESPN, msn, and theCHIVE are great places to reach your target audience, along with local news sites if you are permitted to. This is much more effective than just serving ads anywhere online with no age restrictions and having ads appear mainly on cannabis related websites. We want to exclusively target our audience and appear on sites your best prospects visit often.
Cannabis Creative Requirements
NO products can be displayed in ads
NO use of the word “marijuana”
Clean & simple display
Ads can include offers
Ads must link to your company’s website
Include company name & logo
All ads must obey community rules and regulations in the geo targeted area where they are advertising
Ad Sizes accepted for 21+/Cannabis network: 320×50, 300×250, 320×480, 728×90, 1024×768, 320×568, 160×600, 300×600, 250×250, 200×200
Words that can be used: cannabis, prerolls, concentrate
Device ID (DID) Targeting
For DID targeting, you can create custom geo conquesting shapes around the areas you would like to target. This will enable you to target devices that have been in those geofences anywhere from a few days ago to six months ago, depending on the time period you create. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to be as specific as possible when geo fencing. You do not want to target the hair salon down the street, or the breakfast cafe next door, you want to reach the cannabis connoisseurs that are either visiting your or your competitor’s dispensary.
Based on the consumer’s unique device, it can be associated with a residential address to gather profile data on those potential customers. This allows us to deliver targeted and relevant brand messages/offers.
Before the campaign even begins, define your success metrics.
● Market Saturation – how many impressions did we deliver?
● Website Traffic – how many clicks to the website?
● Onsite Conversions – how do consumers navigate through the advertiser’s website after seeing or clicking on a display ad?
○ Focus on Post Impression or View-Through Conversions
● Foot Traffic Attribution (specific to Device ID Targeting) – how many people saw the ad then walked into the advertiser’s brick and mortar?
John Wanamaker would be wrong today if he reiterated his famous quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the problem is I don’t know which half.” With cannabis geo conquesting advertising, we’ll let you know exactly how many consumers were served your ad and how many later showed up to meet your budtenders. We will set up “conversion zones” that will track the mobile devices of your consumers who have received your ads and then showed up at your cannabis retail store. Our foot traffic reports will tell you exactly how well your advertising is working. How cool is that?
Programmatic Email for Cannabis
Email is personal, inclusive and informative. ‘Direct Mail’ is no longer the only way to reach your target audience, everything is now online. Since the world is at our fingertips, unless the message is compelling, it will be ignored. Exclusive deals and limited time offers have been very successful for digital marketing cannabis products. Pairing deals with holidaze like 4/20 (National Cannabis Day), 7/10 (National Concentrate Day), or any other holiday is also very effective.
Personalization of your brand and brand statement allows you to stand out from your cannabis competitors. Be creative, from your copy down to the packaging of your products to create a memorable experience. Email allows you to directly hit your target audience, so fill them in on what’s new with your brand or what’s on sale, and include an internal link to your website to drive traffic. Targeting beyond your direct consumers, people interested in health, wellness, cannabis trade shows, support for legalization, medical issues that benefit from cannabis use and people interested in learning more about cannabis are all great to target.
Pay Per Click & SEO for Cannabis
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also needed to ensure victory for your cannabis brand. Paid search, local SEO & organic SEO all come into play and are equally important.
Paid Search: Marketing of a business using paid advertising on search engine results pages (or SERPs).
Marketers bid on keywords that users might enter when looking for certain products and/or services.
Local SEO: Is about your LOCATION being found on Maps and most Mobile Searches
Primary optimization platforms are listings including Google My Business (GMB)
Keyword rankings are not a priority metric
Organic SEO: Is about your WEBSITE being found for optimized keywords searches
Primary optimization platform is the client’s website
Organic traffic is a priority metric; keyword rankings support this.
Marketing cannabis may be unpredictable waters to a professional not used to advertising in this field, but this fast-growing industry is doing everything but going away for the foreseeable future. Adapt to this change, expand your horizons, and enjoy the experience.
Nina Rossi is a Marketing Specialist at Purplegator: mobile-first marketing agency in Philadelphia with offices in Des Moines, Buffalo, Dallas, and Honolulu. Nina is a proud Purplegator studying advertising in the Lew Klein College of Media & Communication at Temple University.
Messaging used to be just one thing — text messaging. But, today it is much more. Below are the different types of messaging that are currently available.
SMS — SMS stands for “short message service” and it’s the one the public and many of its favorite businesses use every day. SMS has been around as a business mobile marketing tool since 1990 and became quite common for business use about 2007.
MMS — Multimedia Messaging Services enable a business or organization to send an image, video, meme, or voice file to its consumers. It is used most commonly by retailers in the fashion industry where the image is everything. It certainly is more engaging than SMS, but that comes at a cost. Expect your investment to be about five times greater when sending MMS versus SMS.
RCS — Rich Communication Services is the heir apparent to the tiring SMS message. It was created in 2007, but languished for over a decade until recently. RCS allows businesses to send high resolution images, logos, icons and all in color. If you’ve downloaded your airline ticket on your phone, chances are it was sent via RCS.
Text to Landline — If you’re 35 and under, you probably can’t recall a time when you couldn’t send a text message to a phone number. Many businesses that have been around for a long time, however, have legacy landlines that have been branded over time. But, on a typical landline, a text message goes nowhere. With Text to Landline, a business can text-enable its landline phone so that text messages sent to the number go to a computer or app where the business can interact with their interested customers while the traditional phone calls continue as normal.
OTT Messaging — Over the Top messaging is found on apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger or Snapchat. In other countries, where consumers pay a fee for every text message, the internet-based OTT messaging tools are considerable cost savers for consumers. OTT messaging is especially valuable for Americans when communicating internationally since there is no cost associated with it.
SMS vs MMS
To brush over these definitions to those who are unfamiliar, SMS allows you to send a text message up to 160 characters to your clientele as long as you have their documented consent. MMS allows you to send thousands of words and include images, voice files, videos, memes, etc. For these reasons, MMS is the most popular form of messaging for the retail and fashion industry. Usually, customers can send a keyword to a short code or a long code to opt-in and receive these text alerts, or reply ‘stop’ to opt-out at any time. The biggest features that differentiate SMS from MMS would be that SMS is considerably cheaper than MMS, mostly because it requires less data to send.
The Power of Messaging: SMS vs Email Marketing
SMS is often compared to email marketing. But, the facts are that while the carriers and the aggregators do provide statistics on the delivery of messages to a business list, they don’t know how many messages were actually opened. This data is simply not available. You can’t track whether an individual opened your text message or not. (Although that could be especially valuable in the world of dating.)
There are many studies that contrast the power of SMS messaging and its comparison to email marketing. Some of those studies are clearly biased and were commissioned by companies that work in the SMS business. Regardless, one thing is for sure: the open rates for text messages far exceed those of email marketing. According to Mobile Squared, a UK research firm, the open rate for text messages is 99%, but that study was from 2010. A 2018 study showed that the overall open rate for SMS messages was as high as 94%. The most modern study of SMS shows an 82% open rate.
Luckily, email marketing doesn’t have this same problem since email open rates can be determined. Mailchimp recently provided a study that pegged its open rate over many vertical markets. You can read more about the Mailchimp study here. In the restaurant industry, for example, the email open rate was 19.77%.
Advantages of Text Message Marketing
Text message marketing is a force to be reckoned with and here is why:
Your Personal Inbox — Messages flow right to your same inbox, right along with texts from your Mom. Most of us don’t have a burner mobile phone account like we do with promotional email messages which are sent to your old Yahoo or AOL email accounts.
Timely — Text messaging is interruptive. When you get a message, your phone notifies you. Have you ever been in a meeting, or talking to a friend, and they whip out their phone to check the text that was just received? Years ago that might have been considered rude; today it is (unfortunately) a generally accepted form of behavior. The immediacy of text message marketing makes flash sales very effective.
Spam is Low — Sure, we get the occasional spam message via text message, but it’s nothing like the tsunami of spam that outsmarts the spam filter of our emails. In general, the USA has done a great job of regulating text message spam. Hence, we are more likely to open our texts, because most messages received have a definite value.
Trackable — Every business wants to know just how effective their marketing is. With text message marketing, you can set up tracking links and unique landing pages to track tap throughs and ultimately sales. This enables text messaging to quickly show its value and ROI.