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Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis Marketing


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:

Programmatic Display 

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.

Tracking ROI

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 HonoluluNina is a proud Purplegator studying advertising in the Lew Klein College of Media & Communication at Temple University.

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