Facebook’s discriminatory ad policies leave CBD oil brands with few options for social media marketing.
CBD oil is one of the most exciting topics in the beauty industry right now. The cannabis extract has made its way out of sketchy head shops and into chic cosmetics counters – with scientifically backed promises of clear, healthy skin. During a recent trip to IndieBeautyExpo we saw eyelid serums, body lotions and hair care products fortified with CBD oil. It’s clear that brands and consumers are quickly catching on.
But despite widespread legalization and projections on par with the dot-com boom, the legal cannabis industry remains challenging to navigate. This is especially true when it comes to marketing CBD oil online. One of the biggest hurdles CBD oil brands have to overcome is digital advertising.
Digital advertising is an effective tool for virtually every business to reach its customers. And it’s an essential for any e-commerce businesses to stay afloat. For CBD oil brands, digital advertising is a powerful marketing tool that is missing from your tool belts.
Google and Facebook are the biggest players in the digital ad arena. These two juggernauts offer brands a reliable way to drive traffic to their websites, allowing them to scale quickly and affordably. Unfortunately, both Google and Facebook (who also owns Instagram) classify CBD as a “dangerous product” in alignment with the DEA. As a result, these platforms can (and will) shut down any account advertising CBD products. In fact, almost every ad platform – like Amazon, Pinterest and Twitter – have similar restrictions, which leaves CBD brands with few options.
These discriminatory ad policies have curtailed e-commerce sales industry-wide. It’s estimated that 97% of cannabis startups fail in their first year, compared to just 20% of all small businesses.
There are workarounds for the red tape. One option is to use a cannabis ad network. These smaller platforms allow CBD brands to run display ads on pro-cannabis websites. Unfortunately, display ads (almost) always have a lower click-thru rate than search ads or social ads. This means more precious ad dollars for fewer results.
Other advertisers turn to cloaking. Cloaking is a way of advertising that directs some web traffic to one landing page, and diverts other web traffic to an entirely different page. Advertisers do this to send moderators to a landing page that complies with its guidelines. However, cloaking is not recommended. Manually cloaking ads is time consuming, paying for a cloaking service is costly and violating a networks’ guidelines runs you the risk of getting shut down.
But there is one solution that levels the playing field for CBD oil brands: Influencer marketing.
With influencer marketing, CBD brands partner with social media influencers in order to reach highly targeted and highly engaged audiences – without the red tape or the risk of getting shut down. Influencers are known to be some of the earliest adopters and best brand advocates in the holistic health and wellness space – eagerly buying, trying and advocating for amazing all-natural products that help them feel their best.
Working with influencers often generates a better ROI than digital advertising, too. With digital ads, your brand appears in a potential customer’s feed as they scroll through social media. Your brand’s message interrupts this person’s social media experience, and it usually gets ignored. (The average click-through rate for Facebook ads is about 1% and click-through rates for display ads are even lower.) But with influencer marketing, your brand appears in a potential customer’s feed as they interact with their favorite accounts. Your brand’s message fits seamlessly into this person’s social media experience, and it gets noticed. (The average engagement rate for micro-influencers is about 10%.)
The benefits of using influencer marketing to grow your CBD oil business are:
- It’s a reliable way to increase brand visibility and reach potential customers on social media.
- CBD brands can reach highly engaged customers that are interested in health and wellness products.
- Trusted third-party reviews by influencers. Research suggests 90% of consumers trust recommendations made by others, even people they don’t know, over brand content.
- Influencers create user-generated content that you’re able to leverage on your brand’s social networks.
- Influencer partnerships can drive a steady stream of real followers to your brand’s social networks.
- It’s an effective way to cultivate a grassroots network of brand advocates.
- There is no risk of getting your account shut down.
Years ago marketers predicted that the advertising landscape would be more navigable for the legal cannabis industry. Sadly, little has changed. While we wait for Facebook, Google and the rest to get with the times, influencers have opened new doors for CBD oil brands to reach their customers on social media.
Do you have questions on how influencer marketing could work for your CBD brand? Click here to chat with a specialist at Statusphere.