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Utilizing Digital Advertising for Your Cannabis Brand: A CMA Webinar Brief

By Vyla Carter

Centro, a digital marketing company, brought forward some of its digital marketing team to speak to CMA members about digital advertising for cannabis brands.

The panel included Chelsea Gerberich, an account executive for Centro and part of the client development team; Chris Timmins, an account executive and part of the client development team; and Ryan Manchee, the Vice President of Centro’s media innovations and technology.

The “ask-me-anything” style of webinar answered pre-submitted and live audience questions regarding cannabis digital advertising.

What’s Possible with Programmatic Advertising, Audience Targeting, and Measuring Digital Advertising for Cannabis?

According to Timmins, programmatic is the most widely used tactic right now for cannabis advertisers. Programmatic digital advertising is the space for effective targeting and messaging to the right audience.

As cannabis has become more widely accepted, publishers are allowing more cannabis advertisements. Programmatic helps a cannabis brand find these publishers and figure out the best type of messaging to use on that specific platform.

When utilizing digital advertising for cannabis brands, remember that programmatic does not just apply to desktop and mobile, Timmins says. There are many digital out-of-home advertising opportunities, including digital billboards. These digital platforms are great for cannabis because they are very adaptable.

Manchee emphasized to not discount the vast inventory of data available in digital advertising. Just because your ad does not work on Facebook does not mean it will not work with a different publisher, he said.

Another benefit of programmatic is that it generates a lot of data on the campaigns you run. It will tell you what is working and what is not working, allowing a brand to strategically change their messaging strategy.

How are Cannabis Marketers Navigating Social Media, Search Ads and Influencer Marketing?

Paid opportunities are pretty limited on social and search platforms, and if/when they change policies they will be pretty gradual, according to Gerberich. She thinks of these challenges as opportunities.

Not being able to easily use these platforms for paid digital advertising for cannabis brands allows you to focus on the “why” of the brand. They also allow a brand to test and learn about brand recognition.

She also made the point to build trust with your customers. “At the end of the day that is what is going to allow brands to stand out,” Gerberich said. To be successful, it is important to capitalize on the organic fans that you have already created.

What are Creative Best Practices and What Restrictions Do I Need to Consider?

According to Manchee, the best is not always the prettiest. When it comes to digital marketing for cannabis brands you want to do what is going to drive the best and most action.

When interacting with your audience, you should engage with them, drive interaction, and finally offer them some type of award, Manchee said. He says that the best way to grab an audiences’ attention is to cut through the clutter. An example of this that he personally uses is animation or video in advertisements.

He also said that a reward you can give customers is unique discount codes seen on ads. These are great because they help track the success of a specific campaign and give you insight.

Manchee also talked about following restrictions while still taking some risks. He emphasizes to make sure to know the restrictions you are dealing with and to be careful with wording. For example, be careful with call to action language. “Buy Now” may not fly with a certain publisher, while “Learn More” may be okay.

Other topics discussed during the ask me anything included the state of the cannabis industry in 2020, how copy in the industry is sourced, and how to get help with digital advertising for cannabis brands.

For more exclusive educational content on cannabis marketing, become a CMA member today!

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