Can I Advertise CBD on Google?
Google does not allow paid advertising of CBD on its platform. However, Google does allow advertising of CBD in the organic search results. Unlike the paid search results on Google, where you pay to advertise. The organic search results on Google cannot be bought. The only way to earn a spot is to use a process called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The Secret to CBD Advertising on Google
The secret is out! CBD Google ads are not possible but marketing your CBD products in the organic search results on Google is possible. Not even advertising CBD on social media like Facebook is allowed. The only way to promote your CBD and hemp on Google is to use SEO marketing.
Since Cannabis is federally illegal state by state and CBD is derived from Cannabis, major platforms like Google do not allow the advertisement of CBD on their platforms. Fortunately, Google is lenient enough to allow the marketing of CBD in their organic search results. SEO marketing traffic makes up 53% of all internet, and paid search only makes up 15%.
There is a tremendous opportunity for CBD brands to increase their market share and revenue using SEO marketing on Google to promote their products. When marketing your CBD products on Google, it is important to understand how Federal CBD Advertising Laws and State CBD Advertising Laws affect what you can and cannot say in your marketing and advertising.
What are the Federal CBD Advertising Laws?
Following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized CBD. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and The Federal Trade Commission gained responsibility for the advertisement of CBD in the United States of America. However, each state has specific laws regulating CBD products’ advertising, limiting what you can and cannot say in your advertisements.
They also regulate how you label, package, distribute, and process your CBD products. Each state requires specific licensing for growing, processing, extracting, manufacturing, retailing, and wholesaling CBD.
Here is what you can and cannot claim in your CBD advertisements:
You cannot make unproven claims to treat serious or life-threatening diseases, and patients may be misled to forgo otherwise effective, available therapy and opt instead for a product that has no proven value or may cause serious harm.
Meaning you cannot suggest that CBD can cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease.
You cannot market CBD as a drug or dietary supplement.
Companies marketing CBD products must also comply with the FTC’s regulations, which, broadly speaking, (1) prohibit deceptive advertising and (2) require substantiation of all “objective” claims made in advertising. An advertisement is deceptive if it “contains a misrepresentation or omission that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances to their detriment.” The level of substantiation required depends on several factors, including the claim type.
Substantiating health claims – like statements that a product “can prevent, treat, or cure” a disease or descriptions of a substance’s effect on bodily function – requires “competent and reliable scientific evidence.” Such evidence is defined as tests, studies, and other evidence “based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that have been conducted and evaluated objectively by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.” While companies are not required to conduct or commission such studies themselves, companies relying on studies done by others should ensure those studies are scientifically sound.
- DO NOT mention specific diseases or illnesses on labels or in advertisements.
- DO NOT include the FDA’s drug “buzzwords” – diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent – on labels or in advertisements. For example, stating a CBD product “may cure depression” would certainly run afoul of FDA regulations. Starting a CBD product “may lower stress,” if properly substantiated, may be permissible.
- DO NOT guarantee results. While simply saying CBD “may aid in helping,” rather than “does,” have a certain effect and does not immunize against false-advertising liability, it can reduce liability risk.
- DO NOT provide links to articles containing dubious medical claims related to CBD on your website or in advertisements.
How Do the Laws Affect How You Advertise CBD on Google?
Since 2015 the FDA has sent 116 warning letters to CBD companies that have violated their rules and regulations on CBD products. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on 6 companies in 2020 for making scientifically unsupported claims about their CBD products’ ability to treat serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, and others. Several companies had to pay monetary fines for making these claims.
Bionatrol Health, LLC
Required to pay a $20,000 fine to the FTC and notify their customers about the Commission’s order.
Epichouse LLC (First Class Herbalist CBD)
Required to pay a $30,000 fine to the FTC and notify their customers about the Commission’s order.
Required to pay a $36,254 fine to the FTC and notify their customers about the Commission’s order.
Reef Industries, Inc.
Required to pay an $85,000 fine to the FTC and notify their customers about the Commission’s order.
Steves Distributing, LLC
Required to pay a $75,000 fine to the FTC and notify their customers about the Commission’s order.
Unless you would like to receive a fine in the tens of thousands of dollars and be required by law to inform your customers that you deceived them when they purchased CBD from you. Then it is crucial to your CBD company’s success to understand and follow the guidelines set forth by the FDA and FTC when advertising CBD online or offline in the United States of America. As well as the guidelines set forth state by state.
Can You Run Shopping Ads?
Some CBD companies try to circumvent Google’s guidelines and run CBD shopping ads on Google. The potential risk of illegal advertising is permanent banning of your CBD website from Google and permanent banning from advertising on Google. Based on our research, nearly every one of these companies was eventually found by Google and banned for their illegal advertising. If you are more interested in short-term revenue growth and are willing to risk the long-term advertising potential of your CBD products on Google. Then pursuing circumvention of Google’s guidelines using illegal advertising may be an option for your CBD brand.
There is one other exception where you can advertise CBD on Google as a part of a select group of advertisers that Google chose to test advertisements of CBD on their platform. However, these brands have already been chosen, and Google has no public plans to invite new businesses to try advertising cannabis and CBD oil on their platform.
However, if you are dedicated to the long-term growth and sustainability of your CBD brand’s revenue and market share. Then the only option for your CBD business is the organic search results on Google using SEO.
SEO Marketing Is the Secret to Advertising on Google
According to a recent survey of 2,000 people by SingleCare, the number one deterrent preventing people from trying CBD includes a lack of trust in manufacturers and a lack of belief in the benefits. There are many misconceptions about CBD:
- 26% of Americans think that CBD is the same as marijuana.
- 57% of Americans believe that CBD will appear on a drug test.
- 47% of Americans think that the government regulates CBD.
The best way to build trust with consumers skeptical of CBD is on Google. Out of the 4.7 billion internet users worldwide, 4.3 billion use Google to search for information and answer their questions. The average person searches about three to four times a day on Google. The only way to get your brand on Google is to use SEO marketing to promote your products.
According to a recent survey by The CBD Insider, purchasing CBD products online directly from CBD brands is the second most popular purchasing method. Only second behind purchasing directly from marijuana dispensaries. The only place to purchase CBD online is by searching on Google or searching your brand’s website directly. Every other major platform bans the marketing of CBD products on its platform. The only way to promote CBD is to show up on Google using SEO marketing.