Can I Advertise CBD?
Yes, you can advertise CBD online. However, only a handful of options have no restrictions or bans on advertising CBD online. Even though CBD is technically legal due to the passing of the Farm Bill, which is an amazing step in the right direction.
Most social media and search engine companies ban or severely restrict the advertising of CBD on their platforms. This means there is no paid advertising of CBD products on major platforms such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, and TikTok.
Some companies risk permanently banning their advertising accounts to have their CBD ads approved on these platforms, hopefully. In very few cases, this is effective, but in every case, we have seen the ad accounts are eventually banned. Suppose you are interested in having a long-term CBD brand. In that case, risking permanently banning your advertising accounts on major social media and search engine platforms is not worth the risk.
Until these platforms change their CBD advertising restrictions and freely allow advertising of CBD products on their platform, you are better off marketing your CBD brand using organic methods and offline advertising.
Fortunately, there is one method of advertising your CBD brand that delivers the largest return on investment out of all marketing and advertising channels available online. Keep reading; we will explain exactly how you could utilize this marketing for your CBD products.
How to Do CBD Advertising?
CBD companies face a steep uphill of strict regulation by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), FTC (Federal Trade Commission), and even more strict financial services. CBD marketing is no different, and there are some steep hills to overcome to advertise CBD products.
Even Mike Sill, the CEO & Founder of Sunday Scaries, a CBD company selling CBD products that provide relief from the sunday scaries, says, “the biggest industry hurdle is understanding CBD advertising while navigating the CBD advertising laws set federally and by online platforms.”
The reality is to advertise CBD products offline requires an understanding of the CBD product laws set state by state. Even though the Farm Bill legalized CBD products nationwide, each state has created its laws that require licensing in some cases and restrict what you can advertise. To learn more, read our CBD advertising laws by state article, where we detail every advertising law using the government statutes created state by state.
Once you understand the advertising regulation of CBD products set by the FDA, FTC, and state by state, you are ready to advertise your CBD products online. The only challenge is that nearly every platform bans or restricts the advertising of CBD products online. However, some platforms have no advertising restrictions on CBD products, and one channel has the largest return on investment out of all advertising channels for CBD companies.
Which Platforms Have No CBD Advertising Restrictions?
The channel with the largest return on investment out of all marketing and advertising channels available for CBD companies is the organic search results on Google. Keep in mind that organic search results differ from paid search results on Google. In the paid search results on Google, advertising of CBD is banned.
Here is an image of the paid search results:
Here is an image of the organic search results:
However, in the organic search results, CBD brands can sell CBD directly to consumers, wholesale, and retail without any restrictions set forth by Google. Fortunately, organic search results makeup over 50% of all website traffic on the internet, paid advertising only makes up 15%, and social media only 5%.
The return on investment is infinite using the organic search on Google; since you cannot purchase the traffic, you do not have to worry about the traffic stopping when you stop paying. Yes, even when you stop investing in SEO (search engine optimization) to earn website traffic and revenue from Organic Search. The traffic and revenue you earn from organic search continue to go to your website; this results in an infinite return on investment using organic search and SEO.
The only way to earn traffic and revenue from organic search is using SEO which is the process of marketing your CBD products website in the organic search. The downside of organic search is that marketing your CBD products website takes time and is not instant. On average, you could expect to wait at least a year to see results for a brand new website and for established websites at least six months to see fantastic results.
Reach out for a free consultation on your business to learn how your brand could take advantage of SEO.
Like Google Search, the organic search results on Microsoft Bing are available for you to advertise your CBD products directly to consumers. However, the paid search results do not allow CBD brands to advertise.
Typically if your website is doing well on Google Search in the organic search results using SEO, then you could expect similar success on Bing in the organic search results.
The downside of Bing is that it only makes up 2.47% of the search engine market share, which is second to Google, which holds 91.17% of the search engine market share.
Yahoo is the only marketplace that offers search and native ads using its network and search engine. Yahoo is the world’s fourth most visited search engine, with 1.33% of the worldwide search engine market share.
Like Google and Microsoft’s Bing, marketing your brand in the organic search results on Yahoo Search is allowed, but paid advertising comes with strict regulations.
Yahoo marketplace’s search and native ads have the following restrictions for CBD:
Non-ingestible CBD, CBN, and hemp products (e.g., lotions, creams, salves, oils) are allowed on a case-by-case basis only. Marijuana-derived CBD or CBN is not allowed. The product must be derived from industrial hemp and intended for topical use only.
Additionally, you are only allowed to target the US, Canada, and the UK. Your ads will be vetted and allow listed by the Yahoo Ad Policy team to ensure your ads comply with regional regulations that apply. You must only target users 18 or older. You are not allowed to run ads on DL, log-in pages, or above the fold on AOL and Yahoo homepages.
Creative images of marijuana plants, symbols, or imagery are strictly prohibited. There are restrictions for the creative content and landing pages too.
- The creative or landing page must not advertise for sale marijuana, ingestible CBD, or ingestible CBN (for humans or animals)
- There must not be any mentions of marijuana, THC, or cannabis in the ad. References to cannabidiol are allowed.
- No suggestions of hemp extract, CBD, or CBN product consumption are allowed. (example: oil is an ingredient in or should be added to food or beverage)
- No suggestion of mind-altering effects.
- There are no misleading or unsubstantiated physical or mental health claims allowed.
Including misleading health claims that the product may:
prevent, treat, or minimize the effects of diseases which include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, and neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, seizures, migraine headaches, addiction, and eating disorders. Neurological benefits, such as preventing or treating age-related cognitive decline.
has anti-nausea, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain properties
can provide temporary relief of occasional minor aches and pains or stiffness
can help treat minor skin wounds, burns, or infections
is safe for all users
- Contain any implied or indirect claims about the product
Examples may include:
stating that the FDA has approved CBD as a medicinal compound for treating rare forms of epilepsy
claims that CBD has been studied for its effects on inflammation, arthritic pain, neuropathy, anxiety, and nausea
CBD is not allowed to be advertised using paid promotion on YouTube. Although, as long as your YouTube channel is organically marketing your YouTube videos without paid promotion, you are allowed to advertise CBD in your organic YouTube videos. As long as you do not pay YouTube to expand the reach of your YouTube video about CBD oil, you could post your CBD video on YouTube.
Since YouTube is a search engine with over 2.3 billion monthly searches and billions of searches for videos on Google, the best way to market your organic videos is using SEO.
The only downside to YouTube is that the platform is an entertainment and education platform which is amazing for brand awareness. However, users often do not directly convert into sales on YouTube. Unlike search engines like Google, your customers convert directly to sales from searches to buy CBD products.
TrafficJunky is the world’s largest adult sites advertising network, with over 4.7 billion daily impressions across the entire network. The only downside to TrafficJunky is that your brand would be associated with adult content which may or may not affect your brand’s image long term.
Podcasts have been a tremendous avenue of revenue for some of the biggest brands like cbdMD. They have partnered with Spotify and the Joe Rogan Experience. On Apple Podcasts and Spotify, you can advertise CBD without restrictions in paid partnerships and your organic podcast.
The only downside to podcast advertising is that it quickly becomes very expensive to sponsor the top podcasters, and growing your podcast organically could take years. Once you sponsor a podcast that runs your ad, you have to be ready to capture the traffic. Otherwise, the traffic will bounce, and your ad dollars will be wasted.
Typically the traffic you generate from podcast sponsorships is not all going to convert into new revenue. However, you could capture the traffic emails and convert them into paying customers over time.
Email marketing is the only marketing and advertising channel that you truly own. No matter what happens in the advertising landscape, if Facebook, Google, Twitter, Spotify, or any other platform shuts down or bans CBD advertising. You could always fall back on your email list to continue selling your CBD products.
The only downside is that you need traffic to build an email list; if you do not have traffic, you cannot build an email list. One of the other options is to purchase an email list which we would not recommend because the audience is unfamiliar with your brand and email lists cost a lot of money.
The best approach is to use a traffic-generating method such as SEO on Google or YouTube to drive traffic to your website and then build an email list that you own from this traffic.
Understanding CBD Advertising Platforms With Restrictions
Except for the limited tests that Google runs with select advertisers to further study CBD advertising. All other CBD advertising is banned from Google Ads according to their Google Ads Policy. Even if you mention CBD on your website and your account is connected to Google Ads will result in your Google Ads account being permanently banned.
CBD is one of Google’s unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements. The only way to get your CBD exposure on Google is through organic search results using SEO.
Google Display Network
The same policy goes for the Google Display Network, which says that CBD is one of the unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements.
Microsoft Bing Ads
CBD cannot be advertised in Microsoft Bing Ads on any network in any location across the world. Microsoft Bing lists cannabidiol (CBD) as one of their restricted and disallowed content policies. Microsoft considers CBD a threat to its goal of providing users with a safe and positive online experience.
Advertising ingestible CBD and hemp on Meta or Facebook is strictly prohibited. Recently a Facebook spokesperson announced that ads for non-ingestible hemp are allowed on Facebook. Still, they come with some steep restrictions to get your ads approved. If you are caught advertising CBD on Facebook, your Facebook ads account will be permanently banned on the platform.
When advertising non-ingestible hemp, you cannot promote CBD products, and your landing pages cannot advertise CBD products. You can create an ad that talks about topical hemp without advertising your products, and the landing page is also allowed to talk about topical hemp.
Posts created without paid advertising about CBD on Facebook are also not allowed.
Advertising CBD on Instagram violates Instagram’s community standards, meaning CBD is banned from Instagram. Even organically posting on Instagram could result in your Instagram being permanently banned. Instagram considers CBD as an unsafe substance since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, which is the same plant that marijuana is derived from.
Like Facebook, Instagram allows the advertising of non-ingestible hemp, such as hemp topicals. These products can be advertised on Instagram with the same restrictions as on Facebook.
You are not allowed to advertise your products in your non-ingestible hemp ads and cannot mention CBD anywhere in your ads or on your landing page. More so, you cannot advertise CBD products on the landing page for the non-ingestible hemp ads on Instagram.
Within the United States of America, Twitter has approved select advertisers to create ads for topical CBD products but not ingestible CBD products. However, there are the following restrictions:
- Advertisers must be licensed by the appropriate authorities and pre-authorized by Twitter
- Advertisers may only promote non-ingestible, legally derived CBD topical products
- Advertisers may only target jurisdictions in which they are licensed to promote these products or services online.
- Advertisers may not target Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Virginia
- Advertisers are responsible for complying with all laws and regulations
- Advertisers may not target customers under the age of 21
- Contact Twitter if you are interested in this option.
Within Canada, Twitter has permitted cannabis advertisers to advertise in Canada with the following restrictions:
- Advertisers must be licensed by Health Canada and pre-authorized by Twitter
- Advertisers may only promote informational or brand-preference content.
- Advertisers may only target jurisdictions in which they are licensed to promote these products or services online. For example, advertisers may not promote such content online in Quebec or to Quebec residents.
- Advertisers are responsible for complying with all laws and regulations. In general, advertisers are prohibited from promoting cannabis content:
- by communicating information about cannabis price or distribution;
- by doing so in a manner that there are reasonable grounds to believe could be appealing to young persons (anyone under 18);
- by means of testimonial or endorsement, however, displayed or communicated;
- by means of depiction of a person, character, or animal, whether real or fictional; or
- by presenting cannabis or any of its brand elements in a manner that associates it or the brand element with or evokes a positive or
- Negative emotion about or image of a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk, or daring.
Contact Twitter if you are interested in this option.
Linkedin’s rules say that you cannot run ads related to illegal, prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational drugs. Linkedin considers CBD an illegal, prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational drug even though none of this is true.
However, Linkedin is more friendly to CBD advertisers than the other platforms because if you are not directly selling CBD, you could create ads about CBD. What this means is that you are allowed to post about CBD and advertise it on Linkedin as long as it is strictly educational.
Pinterest has strict advertising guidelines that consider CBD as drugs and paraphernalia. Therefore products containing CBD or similar products in advertisements are not allowed and will result in your ads account being banned.
There is one exception to the rule. Pinterest allows topical hemp seed oil products containing negligible THC and no CBD. You cannot make any therapeutic or medicinal claims in your ads.
Amazon considers CBD as drug products and ingredients. For this reason, CBD is prohibited from being listed on Amazon and being advertised on Amazon. This includes:
- Full-spectrum hemp oil
- Rich hemp oil
- Products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript
Specific CBD topical products that comply with applicable laws, regulations, and policies are allowed in Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market on Amazon. According to Amazon.com, they have no plans in the near future to allow the sale of CBD products on Amazon.com, in Whole Foods Market, or Amazon Fresh.
Even the approved CBD topical products allowed in Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market are subject to geographical sales restrictions.
Reddit says the following about CBD ads in the United States on Reddit,
Reddit allows ads for topical and non-ingestible hemp-derived CBD products. Ads for these products and services are allowed only in the US and are subject to the following restrictions:
- A Reddit Sales rep must manage advertisers, and ads must be pre-approved;
- Advertisers may only advertise non-ingestible CBD products intended for topical use containing hemp-derived CBD that has been
- legally grown, extracted, processed, and manufactured;
- Advertisers may not target states where topical CBD products remain illegal (Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota);
- Advertisers may only target users aged 21 years and older;
- Ad landing pages cannot advertise or sell products or services prohibited by other Reddit policies;
- Advertisements and product landing pages cannot make health, medical, or therapeutic claims;
- Advertisers and any products advertised must be compliant with any federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and/or rules applicable in the jurisdiction in which they are targeting (including but not limited to any laws, regulations, and/or rules relating to labeling, testing, manufacturing, product registration, licensing, and/or permitting).
For Canada, Reddit says the following about CBD ads on Reddit:
Reddit allows ads for cannabis products and services. Ads for these products and services are allowed only in Canada and are subject to the following restrictions:
- A Reddit Sales rep must manage advertisers, and ads must be pre-approved;
- Advertisers must have a license from Health Canada and may only target provinces where they are licensed to operate;
- The direct sale of cannabis is not permitted. Ads can only promote and bring awareness to the brand and its products;
- Advertisements and ad landing pages cannot:
- Make health, medical, or therapeutic claims.
- Appeal to people under the age of 18, vulnerable or sensitive groups
- Discuss prices or distribution
- Display reckless, dangerous, or otherwise irresponsible behavior;
Advertisers and any products or services advertised must be compliant with any federal, provincial, and/or local laws, regulations, and/or rules applicable in the jurisdiction in which they are targeting (including but not limited to any laws, regulations, and/or rules relating to labeling, testing, manufacturing, product registration, licensing, and/or permitting).
CBD is listed under Quora’s advertising policies as an unsafe supplement, illegal, or recreational drug. Quora does not allow the advertisement of ingestible CBD products. The platform does allow the advertisement of Topical CBD Products on a case-by-case basis that is approved by Quora.
How Do the CBD Advertising Laws Affect You?
CBD advertising laws have a significant effect on your brand. Even though the Farm Bill passed in 2018 legalized CBD federally, each state within the United States of America has different laws. Some states require licensing, age restrictions, advertising restrictions, labeling/packaging restrictions, and product development restrictions that differ from other states.
You could use our CBD Advertising Laws by State to article to understand all of the cannabis laws in each state to ensure compliance with state by state regulation for your brand. Moving past the state CBD restrictions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also have restrictions for your brand.
Our CBD Advertising Laws by State article explains the restrictions set forth by the FDA and FTC for your brand.
Is it Legal to Advertise CBD Products?
Federally in the United States of America, your brand can advertise CBD products. Still, every state has specific laws, rules, and regulations about CBD advertising.
How Do I Advertise My CBD Brand? Create Advertising Without Being Penalized
The best way to advertise your CBD brand with the largest return on investment is the organic search results on Google using SEO if you do not want to be penalized when advertising offline or online, ensure that your products comply with the FDA, FTC, your payment processor, and the state by state advertising laws.
Where is the Best Place to Advertise CBD Products?
The best place to advertise CBD products is the organic search results using SEO because you could directly sell CBD without any restrictions in the organic search results on Google. More so, the traffic and revenue you generate using SEO from the organic search results continue to your business even after you stop investing in SEO. As a result, this creates an infinite return on investment for your CBD brand.