By Marketing on December 1st, 2021
How to Use LinkedIn Advertising to Target CBD & Cannabis Business Decision Makers
Marketing a cannabis or CBD brand online is no easy feat. Many of the most common means for digital advertising aren't available to cannabis and CBD businesses. That's because while cannabis is recreationally legal in 19 states (and counting), it's still illegal at a federal level. To avoid any legal issues, many of the biggest social media platforms have banned cannabis and CBD advertising. That's forced brands to take their marketing dollars elsewhere.
When it comes to B2C advertising, programmatic advertising saved the day. This marketing method allows cannabis and CBD brands to target cannabis and CBD consumers over the age of 21 who live in states where the products are legal. That kind of targeted marketing led to big growth in the industry, where sales hit $25 billion in 2021.
That's taken care of the B2C side of the business, but what about B2B? Advertising to business decision makers at the B2B account level has been notoriously difficult for cannabis and CBD brands. That's changing, though, especially now that LinkedIn is making it easier than ever to target cannabis and CBD business decision-makers. Learn what the changes are and how your brand can leverage this powerful B2B advertising platform to reach key B2B audiences with cannabis and CBD advertisements.
Why B2B CBD & Cannabis Digital Advertising Is Complicated
What makes marketing cannabis and CBD products online more challenging? It comes down to the often vague regulations imposed by some of digital marketing's biggest platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
For example, bidding on cannabis-related keywords on Google isn't allowed. Neither are CBD-related keywords. The company approves very few hemp based ad campaigns. Even those that do get approved are often shut down later on. This can make setting up a campaign not only frustrating but also a waste of time and money.
Advertising on Facebook isn't any easier. The company claims that they allow topical CBD brands to advertise on its platform. However, those brands struggle to get approval for their campaigns on a consistent basis. Cannabis-related brands are not allowed at all. At PrograMetrix, we’ve helped many market-leading and high growth CBD startups learn proven strategies to obtain campaign approval on Facebook and Instagram, which includes:
- Advertising and promoting only topical CBD products
- Creating compliant landing pages without cannabis or THC related content
- Creating subdomains for CBD ad campaigns to avoid Facebook detecting cannabis related products on the main e-commerce site
- Focusing ad campaigns on brand building vs. promoting specific CBD products
Related: Facebook CBD Ad Approval Guidelines
While these strategies often work, they are no guarantee. Often, getting around the ban on certain keywords, product types, creative messaging, and website content can limit the ROI for ad campaigns. As a result, many marketers struggle to reach the right B2B cannabis and CBD business decision-makers with a coherent, cohesive message.
How LinkedIn Can Help You Connect With the Right Business Decision-Makers
How do you reach those B2B decision-makers, then? LinkedIn to the rescue. Unlike the ambiguous and highly regulated advertising guidelines posed by Google, Facebook, and Instagram, brands can use LinkedIn ads to effectively target, reach, and engage cannabis and CBD business decision-makers.
The platform boasts more than 630 million users, making it the largest and most engaged network for business professionals. LinkedIn claims that four out of every five members on their platform drive business decisions. That includes decision-makers in the cannabis and CBD industry, and these are the people you want to reach with your B2B product and service offerings.
LinkedIn recently created CBD and cannabis job title and job function targeting in its advertising platform. This makes LinkedIn a key channel to reach cannabis and CBD business owners and other decision-makers. By using LinkedIn as a key part of your B2B marketing strategy, you can use audience segments to target cannabis and CBD-related member skills, company names, member groups, and company connections. An example of audience segments available for targeting includes:
- Marijuana doctors
- Marijuana investment groups
- Cannabis extraction and cultivation experts
- CBD wholesalers
- Cannabis BPO
- Marijuana packaging
You can conduct your own searches on LinkedIn in a matter of minutes to identify the above audience segments (and more) that are available for targeting.
The value of these audience segments for B2B cannabis and CBD advertising is tremendous. Imagine being able to directly market your new vape pen to executives from CBD wholesalers or dispensary owners. Or advertising your specialized financial services to cannabis and CBD business owners and finance directors. Using another example, imagine promoting your new topical CBD and THC product to licensed medical professionals.
Instead of being forced to carefully craft ads using tongue-and-cheek messaging to get around vague rules on Google, Facebook, and Instagram, you can market your products and services on LinkedIn using the same messaging that’s displayed on the homepage of your website!
Other Ways to Target Cannabis and CBD Business Decision-Makers Online
LinkedIn is leading the way for B2B cannabis and CBD advertising. They won't be the only ones, though. As the stigma around cannabis and CBD brands continues to wane and more states legalize recreational use, more platforms are going to relax regulations around marketing these products online.
In the meantime, LinkedIn isn't your only option. CBD, cannabis, and ancillary brands can target key decision-makers in their industries through programmatic media. Thousands of premium sites now allow cannabis and CBD brands to advertise in a fully-compliant fashion. Brands can even tailor their programmatic advertising to target key decision-makers within high-value accounts. You can read more about account-based targeting and job title targeting here.
Looking for More Help with Your B2B Cannabis or CBD Advertising?
Marketing cannabis and CBD brands online in a compliant fashion is difficult due to vague and often contradictory rules on major social media platforms. It can be even more difficult for B2B brands compared to their direct-to-consumer counterparts. LinkedIn offers a path to reach decision-makers in the cannabis and CBD industries using powerful cannabis and CBD-focused audience segments. Along with programmatic advertising, it can be a powerful way to reach key audiences while targeting compelling messages to in-market customers to drive growth in your business.
If you aren’t sure where to start, our digital advertising experts have years of experience developing compliant strategies and executing high performance campaigns for cannabis and CBD brands. We encourage you to download our Cannabis & CBD Advertising Trends White Paper to learn more about our proven strategies and innovative audience targeting techniques.
If you are ready to speak with a specialist on our team, feel free to sign up for a Free Cannabis Advertising Consultation or a Free CBD Advertising Consultation to take your digital marketing to the next level.
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