The press has been a-buzz (😜) with optimism regarding the cannabis industry thanks in part to the popularity of non-psychoactive wellness-superstar, CBD. Even conservative lawmakers are reconsidering marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I narcotic due to its scientifically proven medical benefits, low-risk of addiction, and extremely low risk of overdoses (unlike Schedule II opiate painkillers, which kill 118 Americans every day).
Of course, the main motivation for decriminalizing cannabis iis the Almighty Dollar. Cannabis and CBD business is rapidly growing with profits predicted to skyrocket by 2020.
What does this have to do with Facebook? Lots!
Cannabis entrepreneurs, take note: The unresolved legal status of cannabis has scared the Big Guys (Facebook, Google, Instagram) into banning cannabis-related content. including non-psychoactive CBD.
But it’s not just dispensaries getting the boot; Facebook and Instagram reject ads from profiles with a history of cannabis references - even if the ad itself has nothing to do with cannabis whatsoever.
I ended up down tne rabbit hole of Facebook Content Guidelines and...uh...have you looked at them lately?!
Instagram and Facebook’s restriction of cannabis and CBD content isn’t surprising considering they also prohibit content related to tobacco, “unsafe supplements,” and lady nipples. But the overwhelmingly optimistic financial projections for the cannabis industry make me confident that cannabis and CBD brands will be allowed to flourish (i.e spends lots of money via advertising) on these platforms, sooner or later (definitely sooner than lady nipples).
There is even a little leeway now. One ad for one of my cannabis clients was approved on first appeal. However, this is more likely an indication of the type of inconsistency that results from moderation processes at Instagram / Facebook. Content is typically outsourced to crowdsourcing companies like Crowdflower where remote workers are given some basic training before assigned content to approve to disapprove. Therefore, your ad is being rejected by a human being based on their interpretation of Instagram and Facebook’s advertising guidelines.
The good news is that the marketing and legal restrictions imposed on the cannabis industry means you have to get creative with your plans to raise brand awareness. Yay! Experiment with new channels and partnerships. Take intelligent risks. Have fun!
(This type of Wild-Wild-West marketing scenario is my personal favorite; reminds me of the days before online platforms were monetized out the wazoo).
Need help with cannabis or CBD marketing? Drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
Highly caffeinated Glover Digital Marketing consultant and lifelong night owl, Maggie Glover, blogs about online marketing trends and industry news by the light of the Los Angeles skyline.