20 Tips for Cannabis CBD Marketing and Google Ads

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20 Tips for Cannabis CBD Marketing and Google Ads

Given its popularity, it has become difficult to ignore the growing presence of cannabidiol all around us in our everyday products. From discussions on the same at RunRex.com, the healing compound can be found on shelves at our farmer’s markets, coffee shops, and recently, the drugstore chain CVS. Therefore, it must be okay to advertise CBD on Google, right? Well, this is something this article will look to tackle, as well as providing CBD marketing tips for Google Ads.

Does Google allow CBD ads?

The short answer is no. However, as the gurus over at RunRex.com point out, the long answer is it’s complicated. CBD can be advertised on the Google display network, Google ads, and Google shopping ads only if it contains CBD oil derived from hemp and not cannabis. This is because cannabis is federally illegal in the U.S. but legal in certain states.

Which products does Google ban?

Under the Dangerous Products or Services, Google bans:

Ads for substances that alter mental state for recreation or otherwise induce “highs” (examples: cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, and other illegal opioids, marijuana, cocaine substitutes, mephedrone, “legal highs”).

Ads for products or services marketed as facilitating recreational drug use (examples: pipes, bongs, cannabis coffee shops)

Ads for instructional content about producing, purchasing, or using recreational drugs

Where does that leave CBD?

From the previous point, you can see that hemp-derived CBD is legal. However, while this may be the case and that it doesn’t fit the definition above, Google rejects all text search ads that refer to CBD. What Google does allow, as mentioned earlier, and covered over at RunRex.com, are ads for hemp-derived CBD products that rely exclusively on hemp keywords.

What you can’t say with CBD advertising

When you are looking to advertise your CBD products, avoid the following to sidestep potential repercussions:

Health and medical claims

While you might have read claims online hailing CBD as a miracle cannabinoid that can be used to combat a wide scope of medical conditions, you must hold off on making any health or medical claims. The FDA doesn’t approve of this and will immediately take your campaign offline when you make such claims.

Untested assumptions

Every single thing you say when trying to lure in buyers with an online CBD ad campaign must be backed up by reputable sources and cited where/when necessary. Claims must always be substantiated, credible, and authentic, and avoid making disease or health claims. Anything that can’t be proven should not be used in your ad campaign.

Anything that has not been approved by the FDA

According to the FDA, all CBD products must comply with the applicable laws, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA has taken the position that it is not lawful to add CBD to food, dietary supplements, and pet foods. The rule applies, even if the product is defined as containing the hemp plant according to discussions on the same at RunRex.com.

These are some of the things to consider when it comes to what you can’t say with CBD advertising.

The risk of running CBD ads on Google Ads

If you decide to run a Google Ads advertisement promoting CBD products, you run the risk of your ad being taken down and you will possibly be penalized for publishing future advertisements, even if they are not CBD marketing ads. Google can also block your domain and flag your billing information.

How to put CBD ads on Google

If you have weighed up all the risks but still want to try advertising on Google anyway, then the following steps should help:

Create a new Google Ads account

The first step, as outlined over at RunRex.com, is to create a new Google Ads account to use specifically for advertising your CBD product. This way, if you run into problems, then it won’t affect your other Google Ads campaigns.

Set your budget and location

Once you have created a new Google Ads account, then the next step is to set your budget and location and then set up a campaign using the “paid search ads” option.

Select relevant keywords

The next step is to select relevant keywords for your product, such as “CBD”, “CBD oils”, “hemp” etc. once you do that, you can then enter a cost-per-click bid for each keyword.

Avoid promoting your CBD product directly

Once all this is done, then comes the tricky part according to RunRex.com. When you create and write an ad, make sure that you avoid promoting your CBD product directly or you will get caught out by Google’s terms of service. It is better to just use a vaguer description of your product. For example, you can focus on the benefits of it without naming it.

Create a specific landing page

The final step is to create a specific landing page that your ad will take the consumer to. Just like the ad itself, don’t overly promote your CBD product on the landing page either, to be safe. Instead, make it an information page that users can then click through to your product pages.

This is how you put CBD ads in Google.

Advertising CBD products directly

The approach described in the points above is one where you get creative and promote your CBD product indirectly. However, some CBD companies choose the direct route. This approach usually has a two-day shelf life. Here, a CBD company will set up standard search ads and drive visitors to a CBD product page on their website. The campaign will usually only run for a day or two before Google gets around to crawling your landing page and the rest of your website, and the result is that your ads will be disapproved as captured at RunRex.com.

Risks of the direct approach

In most cases, a search ad campaign as the one described in the previous point will get shut down within two weeks, but it is usually a few days. The best-case scenario is that your ads will be disapproved, the worst case, as already mentioned, is a permanent suspension of your account. Google may even go so far as to flag your website or billing details making it nigh impossible to create a new account.

Don’t forget about your landing page

If you have followed the guidelines described earlier when it comes to getting your CBD ads on Google indirectly and your ads were still rejected, the problem may be the landing page your ads direct to. Remember, it is not just the content of your ad creative that decides whether your ad will be approved, but it is also what is on your website. The landing page matters since Google’s ad approval process is automated, meaning that your ad and the site it redirects will be crawled by its bots to make an approval decision.

How to increase your chances of CBD ad approval on Google

While the fact remains that there is ultimately no guarantee of approval on Google regardless of the actual content of our ad creative or landing pages, the following tips can help increase your chances of approval:

Remove all CBD and hemp keywords

As articulated over at RunRex.com, if you want to increase your chances of approval, you should remove all CBD and hemp keywords from your ad creative, regardless of which ones Google says it will allow. Replace these words with euphemisms for what you are selling, such as “natural plant-based remedies”, and then submit the updated creative for review.

A gated landing page

If the campaign is rejected again, build a gated landing page specific to your campaign. The page should omit all references to CBD and hemp but may include a call-to-action that links through to your website. Use this as the landing page for the campaign then resubmit.

Remove all links to your website

If the campaign is still not approved by Google, remove all links to your website from the gated landing page to leave a stand-alone page with no connection to your main website. Again, ensure that no mention of CBD or hemp is made (including in the URL, or anything else a bot would be able to crawl). Resubmit the campaign.

How to proceed if your campaign is finally approved

If the above tips work and your campaign is approved, an important tip is to wait at least two days before reintroducing any links through to your website from the gated landing page to avoid the campaign being flagged and removed immediately after getting approved.

Hire an experienced CBD marketing agency

As you can see, the process of getting your CBD Google Ads campaign approved is a complicated one, with lots of pitfalls and risks. This is why, rather than going it alone, you should use an experienced and skilled cannabis and CBD digital marketing agency like RunRex.com to craft and manage your CBD advertising strategy.

If you are looking for more tips and information on this topic, or even help with your CBD Google Ads efforts, then look no further than the excellent RunRex.com.