Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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CBD Advertising Digital Platforms Mixed Contents

CBD companies are faced with unique challenges. These include a complex regulatory framework and difficulty in obtaining financial services. Perhaps the greatest industry obstacle is marketing products and navigating the various edicts issued by digital advertising outlets.

There are unique rules that can be used to advertise CBD on Amazon, Instagram and Google as well as Facebook, Google and Facebook. While some companies have a strict stance on cannabinoid products, others are more open to advertising them while trying to make a profit.

However, I have noticed that most platforms use a “soft ban” approach to allow CBD companies to place ads without identifying their identity or the product. This is a disservice for both the advertisers and the users, who don’t know what they are buying.

Confusion due to legal reasons

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD with less that 0.3% THC in the United States. Since then, the industry has grown exponentially. A Gallup poll showed that 77% of Americans use CBD-based products within a year after legalization. This number has increased in the last two years.

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However, it has taken a while for the legal and regulatory environment to catch up to federal law and consumer preferences. CBD is not yet classified by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Regulations can also vary between states.

Many digital platforms have decided to ban or restrict CBD advertising. They still allow CBD companies advertising, regardless of whether they recognize federal legality or just want the ad income. Confusing, right? Let’s take a look at three platforms that have somewhat similar rules, but inconsistent enforcement.

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The most popular social media platform in the world still classifies CBD as a drug or unsafe substance, point five on its Prohibited Content list. Facebook has relaxed its rules slightly in 2019. CBD companies can advertise even if CBD is not mentioned in the ad.

Facebook allowed hemp-based products to be declared as such in 2021. However, many sellers of these and other hemp products claim that the algorithm rejects their ads. According to a Facebook support staffer, the New York Post was told by a Facebook representative that sometimes unsafe content might be detected.

These rules can create a dangerous situation. Companies need to hide their identities and rebrand with different landing pages and creative. The Facebook user may not know exactly what they are viewing or buying.

* Amazon

Amazon’s official policy states that “listings for products which contain cannabidiol” are forbidden. But, as I have previously explained, some sellers simply remove “CBD” from their listings and packaging and add alternative keywords.

Amazon does ban certain CBD sellers that use this workaround. However, I have observed that many companies simply rebrand and appear right back on the site. They also use the dubious practice known as “brand burning,” which is selling the exact same product under a different label. The platform is restricted to CBD sellers who use misleading practices. This means that consumers are not able to know what they’re buying.

* Snapchat

Snapchat is a popular destination for the vital Gen-Z and millennial demographics. It has rules that are similar to Facebook’s but they’re less restrictive. Snapchat is a social media platform that allowed the use of the letters CBD. However, it has some restrictions. It doesn’t show ingestible products (gummies), does not glorify the product with smiling faces in ads, and does not feature testimonials or reviews from consumers.

Snapchat users aren’t able to tell the difference between quality-controlled, well-reviewed products and questionable ones. CBD companies also have to deal with inconsistent interpretations and enforcement of rules. This can lead to costly and time-consuming reworks (and more reworks) of ads in order meet changing requirements.

Advertising from the “Wild West”, Persists in a Maturing Industry

Many of these issues with advertising platforms will disappear once the FDA allows CBD products for marketing as dietary supplements, and Congress considers some of the CBD-friendly bills. The status quo isn’t helping anyone.

CBD owners should be flexible and focus on “frictionless channel” channels. These channels allow CBD to be used, such as podcasts, influencer marketing, and email marketing. This will save you time and keep you from getting crazy while the FDA works out how to make it work.

A second piece of advice: Don’t forget about traditional marketing and the importance that brand awareness plays. Although you might not get a direct response right away, out-of-home marketing is a great way to market your brand.

This industry is the wild west. You have to realize that you can only get into it by immediately jumping to level 10 expert mode.

Forbes Business Council is the leading organization for growth and networking for business leaders and owners. Do I qualify?

Sunday Scaries is a CBD company that offers stress relief products. Mike Sill is its CEO and Co-Founder.



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