You might be thinking you have already understood CBD advertising laws. In fact, you would be wrong, because many CBD products, such as ingestible CBD and topical CBD also mean that you need to consider each unique platform before you tailor an ad. After all, sites still take some level of risk when they accept your marketing drive. While you should eliminate this where possible by keeping the above in mind, you might also want to consider rules as they stand per platform, for the purpose to ensure your effort won’t be wasted.
In this article, I am going to share some tips and tricks on how to run CBD ads for both ingestible CBD and topical CBD. By the end of this article, you can master what is the difference between ingestible CBD and topical CBD ads, what channels we can consider, and how to run ads.
- What’s Ingestible CBD and Topical CBD
- Policy and Regulatory of Main Digital Advertising Platforms
- 4 Tips and Tricks of Running CBD Ads
- Key Take-aways
What’s Ingestible CBD and Topical CBD?
Ingestible CBD products are any CBD products that are designed to be processed through your digestive system, in order for the CBD to get into your system. In the market, there are multiple types of ingestible products, including gummies, capsules, soft gels, and honey. The gummies and soft gels are pre-measured doses, for easy addition to your daily routine. Basically, ingestible CBD product ads are almost banned by digital advertising channels, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, and also prohibited by marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, etc.
Topical CBD products are any CBD products that are designed and applied directly to the skin. It can include any cream, lotion, salves, or serums. Topical CBD products can help address pain or inflammation that’s at a specific area of your body, such as on the joints. The product won’t enter the bloodstream. So a topical CBD product isn’t designed to address systemic problems, but it may help directly on the skin.
Compared with ingestible CBD, Topical CBD indeed has more space to run advertising in digital channels. For example, Facebook ads allow ads creative landing URLs that include the wordings such as topical CBD collection. However, if the landing page content is filled with only CBD terms and ingestible capsules, oil, etc, it would be definitely disapproved.
Policy and Regulatory of Main Digital Advertising Platforms in Asia Pacific Region
Before start, please note that I would categorize 4 types of situations in each digital advertising platform mentioned below, which are A, B, C, and D. This letter is separately associated with the workaround solution. I would share more details in section three.
1. Google Ads
Google ads must be one of the most restricted limited platforms to both ingestible and topical CBD ads. Even if you like to just use Google keyword planner to grab some keyword query insight and forecast, Google removes all the data and disallows you to search any terms related to “CBD”, I’m not kidding.
Google search ads, GDN ads, Youtube ads, and shopping ads (merchant center) are all following up with the Google ads policy that is called unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements. If you are interested in more details, please search on Google.
2. Microsoft Ads and Verizon Media
Same with Google Ads, Unfortunately, CBD advertising on Microsoft ads ecosystem, like Bing and Yahoo search ads, is also a current no-go. In fact, alongside Google, Microsoft search ads will altogether eliminate any ads that refer to CBD products.
Having said that, not all of the ads inventory under this ecosystem is not selling to CBD sellers. Microsoft Ads partner’s Verizon Media actually is providing display and native ads inventory for CBD sellers, like Yahoo Gemini native ads, etc. The policy is for non-ingestible hemp, CBD, and CBN products (e.g. lotions, creams, salves, oils) are acceptable on a case-by-case basis. The product must be derived from industrial hemp and intended for topical use only. Marijuana-derived CBD or CBN is not allowed.
Situation: B, C, D
3. Facebook and Instagram Ads
Facebook has relaxed its outright ban on CBD products indeed. In a way, advertisers are allowed to run ads for topical hemp across Facebook. Advertisers can run ads that direct to landing pages that feature ingestible hemp and topical CBD. But the ads cannot specifically feature those products. Facebook is still prohibiting ads for ingestible CBD, including ads that direct to landing pages with those products.
Alongside its mother Facebook, Instagram denies and even penalizes companies attempting to advertise CBD products on the platform. That said, as Facebook and Instagram ads set up are in the same system, so it should be supposed to work if the Facebook ads piece is approved.
Situation: B, C, D
4. TikTok Ads
In the TikTok ads policy, there isn’t a word mentioned regarding CBD rules. That said, TikTok does regulate the Drugs and Paraphernalia and particularly highlights all illegal drugs, controlled drugs, prescriptive drugs, drugs for the purpose of recreation, homeopathy, enhancement, performance, including weight loss, are banned.
CBD paid advertising on TikTok is still incredibly new, so it’s worth testing and finding the workaround approaches. After all, TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. The latest TikTok statistics show that, as of January 2021, the platform has 689 million monthly active users worldwide. What’s more, TikTok has built a strategic partnership with Shopify, which implies influencer marketing connected with eCommerce has moved forward a bigger step in TikTok. For more details, please check out this article.
Situation: A, B, C, D
5. Twitter Ads
Twitter permits approved CBD topical advertisers to only promote non-ingestible, legally derived CBD topical products, but the GEO might have limitations. Before starting, it’s better to check if it’s working or not in your market. That said, Twitter can still prove an effective platform. As long as you don’t make any medical claims or challenge restrictions, you should be able to use your account to link to your website and generally build brand awareness, all with the benefits of hashtags for discovery.
Situation: A, B, C, D
5. LinkedIn Ads
In general terms, you might be surprised to find that LinkedIn is indirectly allowing CBD advertising as a rule, at least for hemp-derived and topical CBD products. That said, their ad policies do state that they don’t promote illegal substances, over-the-counter drugs, or unsubstantiated health claims. So from my point of view, it’s like Facebook policy, where you need to care about the ad’s wordings and focuses, otherwise, you could still find yourself rejected. It’s worth testing, particularly if you are looking for wholesale, reselling buyers on Linkedin.
Situation: B, C, D
6. Marketplace – Amazon, eBay, Tmall International, Rakuten Japan
Unsurprisingly many marketplace platforms have taken a rather public stance against selling CBD. Both Amazon and eBay don’t allow ingestible and topical CBD products sold on the platform. You can occasionally find CBD products on Amazon and eBay, but it’s better not to take this to mean that the rules have changed — CBD product listings are taken down as soon as Amazon or eBay notices them. Trying to sell CBD on eBay and Amazon can cause problems for your account as well. Although you will find product ads that promote products for the term “CBD oil”, however, it is hemp oil instead of CBD oil.
That said, there are some marketplace platforms in the Asia Pacific region, where allow to sale ingestible CBD and topical CBD products, such as Tmall International, Rakuten Japan. For more details, please check out the other article.
Situation: A, D
7. Affiliate marketing – ShareASale, Rakuten Affiliate, ChineseAN, A8
Affiliate marketing is big news for CBD brands because most affiliate network platforms approve CBD products and recruit publishers to collaborate, such as ShareASale, Rakuten affiliate, ChineseAN, A8, etc. Even better, offering free products for review to popular influencers across social networks could see you enjoying those marketing benefits for far less than you would have if you went down traditional ad routes.
8. Event – Trade Shows, Cafe, Flea Market, Shopping Mall
Physical stores are always useful for CBD sellers. For example, trade shows for CBD-specific options like World CBD-Expo can prove especially valuable for your brand. And many cafes are selling CBD coffee and CBD oil as well in the outlet. At weekend, you can see many CBD brand renting a booth and selling CBD ingestible and topicals in flea markets.
4 Tips and Tricks of Running CBD Ads
Now I will elaborate what are A, B, C, D tips and tricks of running CBD ads.
A – CBD wordings are allowed to show on the advertising messages
Basically, this type of digital channel can allow CBD brands to sell CBD products online. For example, ShareASale, which is one of the largest affiliate networks worldwide, particularly in the USA, accepts CBD brands to create affiliate programs and recruit publishers, coupon sites, or social influencers. It can be cost per sale or cost per lead model based on your strategy. For generating traffic to your store and convert sales, you can offer a ‘can’t reject’ commission scheme to attract online media to list your advertising messages on their channels.
What’s more, Twitter in some countries allows topical CBD brands to run advertising and reach out to target customers. Although it might be not a global scope and you have to check the limitation, but at least it’s an opportunities to drive traffic online to your store in some markets
Last but not least, marketplace platforms like Tmall International, Rakuten Japan, allow sellers to launch a CBD brand store and sell CBD products. If your supply chain is supportive in the target markets and the primary markets and customer profiles of Tmall and Rakuten Japan are within your target scope, it’s a golden opportunity. And physical stores offline can absolutely allow you to sell, such as at an event, cafe, shopping mall outlet, flea market, etc, although the operation cost might be much higher than purely online.
B to D are 3 workaround strategies you can test for your CBD business:
B – Create the perception and association in the ads messages instead of directly highlighting CBD. And the landing page are talking about topical CBD products or topical products without CBD mentions
The channels like Facebook, Linkedin, Yahoo native ads, etc, do not allow you to mention CBD on ads, but it allows you to either show topical CBD products on the landing page or topical products without CBD mentions.
C – Not to mention CBD and push educational messages. The landing page is the CBD advertorial content piece hosted in your web blog or the other website. In this page, it has a button redirected to your CBD store
The channels like Instagram, TikTok, etc, do not allow you to mention any CBD wordings in both ads and landing pages. So you can try landing an advertorial article, to introduce what’s CBD and why people need it, and what’s the benefits. Of course, the landing page needs to add a button redirected to your store.
D – Not mention CBD in ads and landing pages at all. Purely generate the leads by talking about benefits and solutions. Automatically implement 1-to-1 communication through email or messenger
Marketing automation can be a powerful approach to drive traffic and sales from your CBD store. Google, Bing, Facebook basically provide lead generation ads opportunities and directly integrate with your CRM platform. So you don’t need to really mention CBD in ads. Instead, you can communicate through email or messengers after the leads join in.
- Some platforms allow running CBD ads
- Brand store is a must and the conversion funnel is longer than other FMCG brand products
- 3rd party partners and advertorial media publishers are good bridges to educate your customers, drive traffic to your web and sales from the store.
- Workaround creative ad messages are crucial in CBD social communication.
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