sO2 digital is a digital advertising and marketing agency that specializes in driving success for Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp related brands’ through compliant digital ad campaigns. Compliance is a key factor in driving a successful digital advertising campaign. sO2 Digital offers a product mix that will not only positively affect your brand’s ROI, but also have a significant positive impact on your brand’s overall reputation as a Cannabis-compliant company. Whether or not your products are legal nationwide, sO2 understands the full extent of digital advertising laws from state-to-state and can ensure that your campaign will follow compliance guidelines closely.

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The History of Legalized Cannabis in the United States

Cannabis as an industrial resource in the United States dates back to the 15th Century, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that it saw prohibition and, later in the 1970s, criminalization. Since then, the U.S. has made significant progress in legalizing cannabis—with a rapid increase in the recent legalization of cannabis across the United States, 2021 could mark one of the most transformative years for the cannabis industry.

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Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana: What Advertisers Need to Know

Cannabis is an umbrella term used for Marijuana and Hemp, as it is used to describe the genus Cannabis, which contains two species: Marijuana and Hemp.

Hemp contains higher levels of Cannabidiol, or CBD. On the other hand, Marijuana contains higher levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol. As opposed to CBD, which is non-psychoactive, THC is psychoactive and produces the high that most people associate with Marijuana. The THC content of Marijuana is also the most significant determining factor in the varying degrees of legalization throughout the United States. 

When looking for a digital advertising and marketing agency to help drive your brand, it’s essential to work with one that understands the compliance (link to compliance section) regulations by state or varying components of Cannabis, whether it’s Hemp and CBD or Marijuana and THC.

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Industry News and Benchmarks: The importance of targeting in digital advertising for Cannabis and other Vice brands

Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana and CBD brands may be new to the world of digital advertising, but digital marketing and advertising certainly aren’t new to the world of “vice” categories. Digital marketing and advertising, at their core, are aligned perfectly for these categories. Vice categories cannot be advertised everywhere to everyone; that’s what categorizes them as vice. Instead, they have a specific target audience that’s legally allowed to see their ads, and that’s where digital advertising comes into play for cannabis, marijuana, hemp and CBD categories. With their precise targeting capabilities, digital marketing and advertising offer these brands the reach and frequency necessary to drive their desired results. Digital advertising and marketing are not only highly efficient in targeting, but they also provide detailed reporting and metrics showing how many impressions resulted in retailer visits, purchases, and above-average revenue growth. 

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Products: Digital compliant cannabis advertising 

Targeted Email: Reach those already spending money on Cannabis based products

With over 1 billion data files that we can assign to over 280 million email addresses and cross-reference against their physical address, your brand can be sure that we are targeting the right person. Targeted email marketing works by sending precisely targeted and personalized email campaigns to subscribers based on their segmented characteristics, such as profile data, behavior, location, etc. CBD is one of our most comprehensive files, with over 50 million CBD purchasers nationally whom we can target by geographic location and other attributes, like age or even physical ailment. It allows us to target the right person at the right time, increasing ROI for our clients.

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Mobile Advertising and Geo-Fencing: Target individuals because they visited dispensaries

Over half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and 69% of users shop and buy from their phones if they can. Using geolocation services, we can create custom, specific geographically targeted campaigns alongside advanced psychographic and behavioral targeting, enabling all cannabis-related industries to easily reach their target demographic. For example, we can develop polygons for local dispensaries and target individuals visiting or having visited that location over the past two years. We can advertise to those folks and individuals who look and behave just like them and in turn, grow the customer base for our clients.

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Programmatic Advertising: Display, Audio and Video advertising based on interest such as Cannabis and CBD products

Display, Audio and Video advertising allow us to reach individuals during their free time while they are reading, listening or watching content that suggests they are interested in Cannabis and CBD products. 

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Premium DisplaY

sO2 Digital uses multiple demand-side platforms (DSP) that conduct and oversee automated bidding on ad inventories across premium ad networks that are pre-qualified with approved inventory for Cannabis, Hemp and CBD. sO2 fine-tunes your display campaign to ensure that your ads appear on the highest-quality sites based on your target list. 

Digital Audio Ads

Digital audio advertising uses voices and sounds to evoke emotion in its target audiences. The personal experience that it creates allows listeners to use their imagination– to visualize themselves engaging with the product or service and apply it to their lives. In addition, audio advertising will enable advertisers to customize their campaigns, resonate with unique audiences, and inspire brand engagement.

Connected TV Ads

Over the top (OTT) refers to the delivery of film and TV content streamed directly over the internet to a connected device, bypassing the need for viewers to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite package. Examples of OTT platforms include Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO Now, YouTube/YouTube Red and SlingTV.

Google Search and Voice Advertising

Offers the potential to become a significant channel as virtual assistants become more pervasive. For example, if someone asked Siri for a dispensary recommendation nearby, she could one day recommend your location.”

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Compliance: Understanding digital advertising compliance for Cannabis 

CBD and Cannabis advertising regulations, more often than not, include the same major conditions for ad copy and creative across all regions of the U.S. 

These include:

  • No suggestion of health or medical benefits
  • No elements that could appeal to children (cartoon characters, etc.)
  • No false or misleading statements, including those made  about competitors’ products
  • No testimonials or endorsements
  • No product consumption
  • No pricing, potency statements, or promotional offers
  • Ads for infused products must state “For Adult Use Only.”