Cannabis Digital Ad Spending Is Blooming!

Cannabis Digital Ad Spending Is Blooming!

What do you call money that grows on trees? Marijuana. Sorry for my bluntness, that’s just how I roll.
In all seriousness, it is true. Cannabis, Mary Jane, Weed, CBD, Hemp, Edibles and the list goes on is GROWING! Less than two decades ago, cannabis – in all its forms – was illegal in all 50 states. Today, there is significant movement behind the industry, and cannabis as a sector of the economy is well-poised for 2021. More than half of the states in the US have legalized the use of marijuana whether it be recreational or medicinal or both, with many states added from the most recent 2020 election.











2020 was crazy year. Fear, anxiety, panic and unrest for many. Most retail businesses suffered a great loss. But, the cannabis industry, among all these challenges, had a momentous year. Sales soared in 2020 and were up 40% over 2019, yielding over $18 billion dollars. And it is projected that 2021 will top $24 billion dollars in sales.


Being proactive and pivoting their business model proved to add to the success of this industry as well as the shift of investing more advertising dollars online.

With all this growth cannabis retailers have advertising money to spend but are limited as to where they can spend it.  Most traditional broadcast media companies do not accept cannabis ads which means that this industry has embraced digital advertising in a big way.

With all this growth this industry is a great prospect to become “best buds” with if you offer digital advertising.  So, let’s talk prospecting! Even if your state hasn’t legalized cannabis, that does not mean you cannot prospect for this type of business. With digital, you are not limited geographically. Look at a neighboring state or area that does allow it. To locate some potential prospects, you can go to Weed Maps to start a list.




In order to prospect, you must understand what are the types of products they sell?  So, let’s talk the 411 on lingo.

Flowers, Beverages, Resin and more. Say what? Just like any retail establishment you need to understand their goods and product line. Here are some of the more popular items for the cannabis market.

The term refers to the traditional marijuana buds or “flowers” and remains the most popular product among cannabis users. Accounting for almost half of all purchases, flowers remain an undeniable favorite.

Cannabis concentrates or “dabs” including wax, shatter (more brittle substance) and oils are also a popular consumption method.

Just like it sounds, it is THC-infused edible products, like gummies, brownies, sweets and even salty type treats like pretzels. Up to 13.1% of all marijuana-related transactions are edibles.

Live Resin
Live resin is a concentrate like shatter or wax and is higher in terpenes than any other cannabis material. Terpenes are oils secreted by the cannabis plant that contributes to its distinct flavor and aroma.

Vape Pens
Vape pens have also become a typical method for ingestion of cannabis concentrates, making up approximately 8.2% of all industry transactions. These can also be used to ingest tobacco oils.

Cannabis-infused drinks make up to 3.7% of total market transactions. This booming business has an impressive growth rate. Options include coffee, fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and more.

Pre-Rolls or Joints
Pre-rolled joints are ranked as the third most popular type of medical marijuana. Many consumers prefer pre-rolls because the product is discreet, fairly inexpensive and disposable.

In addition to the more traditional methods of consumption, people are seeing much success with pain-relieving topicals, capsules, balms, tinctures and more. These can include cannabis, CBD oil or hemp.

Now you have an overview of what consumers are buying, now how much are they spending?  The median customer spends $645 per year and customers in their 40’s spends more at $823 per year. These figures will assist in putting together recommended budgets to quantify the advertising investment you are asking of your Cannabis retailer.

And although many consumers use these products for recreational use, states may require a prescription or medical card for purchase and patients use it for a variety of ailments and symptoms like migraines, diabetes, chronic pain, PMS, Insomnia and others. Many of these symptoms and illnesses are behavioral targeting options for digital products such as display ads, native ads, and video pre-roll as well.











Another growth opportunity for cannabis is recruitment.  68% of businesses reported that they plan to increase their workforce. Marketing job opportunities with digital advertising can be another great prospecting tool.






Now we know adults use cannabis, but who else? Our loving PETS! There was a 4% increase in pet adoption in 2020 and many cannabis, CBD and hemp products are used for various reasons for pets, such as anxiety, dietary supplements and more. In fact, a Neilsen study said that 37% of dog owners who give their dogs vitamins and supplements today say they’re likely to give their dog a hemp-CBD-infused vitamin in the next 12 months.  So why not target pet owners with a digital ad campaign?!

Lastly, medical professionals can be a huge influence on the hemp and CBD industry. Neilsen believes that primary health care practitioners may do more to drive trial and brand loyalty. Luckily with digital advertising, we can target Nurse Practitioners and Primary Care Dr.’s to educate them about CBD and
suggest it to patients.

Now let’s talk digital.

Digital advertising is a great tool for cannabis marketers, but you have to know what products are and are not allowed and what rules you have to follow on each digital advertising platform.   The two big players in the digital world that don’t allow cannabis advertising are Facebook/Instagram and Google.  Here are just a few facts about these platforms:

  • Google abides by federal law, and under federal law the selling and manufacturing of cannabis is not allowed.
  • Facebook falls into the same category since it’s governed by federal law.
  • Even if your state allows the legal sale of marijuana, these platforms do not allow cannabis, which they consider similar to tobacco products.
  • Facebook has just started allowing CBD oil but only on a case-by-case basis.






Many local dispensary owners are aware of these restrictions and regulations and therefore believe digital is off the table for advertising. This is where you can educate these prospects and be the digital expert and share there are great ways they can advertise digitally outside of Google and Facebook.

Digital opportunities with cannabis, hemp, CBD at Vici are Native Ads, Display Ads, Video ads, Live Chat and SEO.

With Targeted Display, campaigns can include Keyword Targeting, Behavioral Targeting, Retargeting, All Device geo fencing and Geo Retargeting and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Targeting.

  • Keyword Targeting using the keywords and phrases your customers are searching for and contained on webpages they are reading.
  • With A.I. Targeting we are showing your display or video ads to people across all devices, using machine learning to target consumers based on who is engaging with the ad.
  • All Device Geo-Fencing and Geo Retargeting is drawing a virtual fence around an area or location and showing your display, native or video ad, to people inside that “fence” and continuing to follow them and show them your ads across all devices.
  • We implement Retargeting campaigns to target people who have been to your website but didn’t convert. It important to keep brands top of mind so they convert.
  • We can target from thousands of Behavioral Categories and show your ads to the people most likely to want your products and services. For example:

Alternative Medicine



Back/Neck Pain


Chronic Pain


Farming and Agriculture

Feminine Pain

Green Living

Healthy Living


Marijuana Interest

Marijuana Legalization Advocates

Leafly Reviews users

Weedmaps users

Native Ads
Native ads are one of our top-performing digital ad products and if you aren’t offering this to your clients, you should be!  These types of ads dynamically match the look, feel and visual context of the website or app where they are seen. .  Native ads can use targeting strategies such as Keyword Targeting, Behavioral Targeting, Retargeting, All Device Geo-Fencing and Geo Retargeting and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Targeting.

Video ads go across all devices, appearing on websites or apps, using Keyword Targeting, Behavioral Targeting, Retargeting, All Device Geo Fencing and Geo Retargeting and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) strategies for Video Pre-Roll and Over-The-Top (OTT) content.  Since TV advertising typically isn’t available to cannabis retailers, being able to offer Video Pre-Roll and OTT advertising is a big plus!

With more activity for these businesses online, SEO ranking is key.  SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving and promoting a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines like Google. Our SEO Campaigns encompasses everything from Google My Business listing optimization, keyword research, creating incoming links, submitting to search engines, optimizing for voice searches and monthly reporting results.  We even include our Online Reputation Management platform where businesses can monitor what is said about their business online.

Live Chat
Live Chat is code that is added to a website to get more leads by engaging prospects with a chat box and text-to-chat. This could be a great opportunity for consumers that have questions or need more information about products. It is important to note, Live Chat agents will not answer detailed questions like pricing, inventory, ingredients, etc., but a great tool to capture leads for the business to follow up on and educate the consumer.

Digital is sure to be a “hit” for cannabis campaigns, so don’t get caught in the “weeds” start prospecting today!

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