cbd adwordsDecember 15, 2021
You’ll feel like you beat the system while you’re flying under Google’s radar for the first day or two, but once Google crawls the content on you landing page and website, your ads will get disapproved. Most normal CBD search ad campaigns like this will get shut down in less than 2 weeks.
Violating Google AdWord’s policy against the promotion of CBD products will usually result in disapproved ads or permanent suspension of your account.
Does this mean you should eliminate digital advertising for your CBD brand’s marketing plan? Absolutely not.
Many CBD business owners and cannabis marketing professionals have run into this problem: they want to run CBD advertisements on Google, but they don’t know if it is allowed.
Beware: Google AdWords may even flag your entire domain or billing information to prevent you from recreating the ads from a new account.
Can You Advertise CBD products on Google AdWords?
Here’s what you need to know.
Yes, you can advertise CBD on Google AdWords, but you will need to find a way to promote your CBD product without breaking Google’s ad policy.
CBD brands face a unique challenge in the digital advertising space. The Facebook and Google advertising platforms controlled a 60% share of total digital ad spending in 2018. Unfortunately for emerging businesses in the CBD industry, the two largest digital advertising platforms have policies against the direct promotion Cannabidiol or CBD products.
I’ll be honest… you can set up standard search ads that drive users directly to your CBD product page on your website, but I strongly advise against this.
I’ve successfully set up dozens of CBD ad campaigns on Google AdWords.
No. Google AdWord’s advertising policy clearly states they do no allow the promotion of Cannabidiol (CBD), irrespective of any claims of legality.
Does Google allow promotion of CBD products?
If you do make claims, then you have to be sure that you can back them up with credible medical research.
Hopefully, this article can give you some clarity.
That’s how you put CBD ads on Google. There is a chance that this will still upset the Google ‘gods,’ but if you follow these steps, then you are technically not violating their terms of service.
The short answer is no .
If you have weighed up the risks but want to try advertising on Google anyway, then you need to proceed with caution. Google has huge power to block your domain, flag your billing information, and even prevent you from setting up a new account if they cancel your other ones.
How to put CBD ads on Google.
This also means that one of the biggest obstacles if you want to build up a global CBD business, is having to work out the regulations in each different country that you want to sell into.
The long answer is it’s complicated.
This way, you will drive lots of traffic to your website without the risks.
CBD can be advertised on the Google display network, Google ads, and Google shopping ads only if it contains CBD oil derived from hemp and not cannabis.
Like any other business, you want to go advertise where the eyeballs are.
Advertising CBD on Google is not allowed if the oil is made from cannabis, but technically ok if it is made from hemp. This ambiguity makes it risky to invest in Google advertising campaigns as you risk getting banned from Google.
However, due to the unique legal status of cannabidiol or CBD products in most countries, it is difficult to know what is and isn’t allowed to be advertised across the Google advertising network.
If you want to go ahead and advertise your CBD products on the Google advertising network, then follow these steps:
This is because cannabis is federally illegal in the united states but legal in certain states. In Canada, it is legal but not in the UK.
Does Google allow CBD ads?
You also need to be careful not to advocate in your promotional materials for the health benefits of your products in the USA, or you may run foul of the federal trade commission (FTC) or the food and drug administration (FDA).
If you own, manage, or market a CBD business, then you probably want to advertise it, and since the Google ad network is the world’s largest ad network, it’s probably top of your list.
If you want to avoid these problems, then yes, there is a better way to still get traffic from Google. And that is through an aggressive content marketing campaign that employs highly informative and engaging quality content that is optimized to rank highly in search results. For example, you can write a blog that covers CBD topics that will help inform your audience about the industry and your products. Focusing on your CBD SEO can pay large dividends over the long term if you do things right.
Cannabis is a huge, growing industry. People want to find out more about your products, so a much better option is to invest in website content so that it ranks high in organic search results, which will lead to an increase in traffic and, at the same time, avoid all of the risks of paid advertising.
Is there a better way?
If you’re completely unable to get your ads approved on Facebook, Google, or both, we recommend reallocating any digital advertising budget from those platforms to programmatic advertising campaigns. This third option, which represents the remaining 40 percent of the digital ad pool, is by far the most accepting of both cannabis and CBD ad buys.
Keep in mind that attempting to secure ad approval involves some risk that the profile associated with your ad account could be deleted. While this doesn’t always happen, and can sometimes be reversed, we strongly recommend avoiding the possibility by running your ads through a separate advertising account. A smart way to do this (if you work with an advertising agency) is by leveraging your agency’s account: This not only circumvents the risk of profile deletion but may increase the likelihood of ad approval, particularly if the agency also supports mainstream clientele and has a frequent track record of past approval on unrelated campaigns.
Finally, even if you do secure approval on a given ad, there’s no guarantee that it won’t be flagged or removed later on, so avoid relying on these ads alone: Diversification is key. Luckily, even those CBD brands who have been consistently rejected on Facebook and Google can leverage programmatic—the third pillar of digital advertising for CBD.
If you’ve followed the guidelines above and your ads were still rejected, the problem may be the landing page your ads direct to. Per Digiday:
If your ad was rejected, you can appeal that decision. Here are Facebook’s and Google’s guides to doing so. Note that although advertisers can request a review in cases where they believe their ads were wrongly rejected, often the ad is bounced back with the same decision in a matter of hours, without any additional information provided as to its rationale.
How to Increase Your Chances of CBD Ad Approval on Google & Facebook.
Google’s policies state the following under Dangerous products or services: “We don’t allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury. Below are some examples of products and services that we consider to be dangerous.” Under “Recreational drugs,” Google bans the following:
“CBD business owners have taken great care to obey the law as it has evolved, but have struggled immensely to understand and abide by the much stricter, more secretive and inconsistently enforced ad policies of tech platforms that act as gatekeepers to mainstream digital marketing. Facebook in particular makes no mention of CBD anywhere in its public ad guidelines, but it has an internal policy that specifically bans ads for CBD.”
One more factor that adds to the irregular enforcement of these platforms’ ad policies is that often, when an ad review is requested, the task of confirming the automated decision falls to human moderators, many of whom seem to remain as confused about the platforms’ internal policies as advertisers themselves are. This is the point in the process where things tend to come down to pure luck: In some cases, ads that shouldn’t be approved occasionally are, while others that follow all available guidance may be rejected repeatedly.
The trouble with both platforms is that they treat CBD as an illegal product, despite the fact that hemp-derived CBD was legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. However, both platforms accept a small and specific subset of ads, as detailed below. Both platforms have also enforced their policies on CBD ads irregularly, resulting in the acceptance of some ads and the rejection of other comparable ones regardless of policy.
By Brett Konen on June 17th, 2020.
In short, it’s not just the content of your ad creative that decides whether your ad will be approved—it’s also what’s on your website. The landing page matters because Facebook and Google’s ad approval processes are automated, meaning that your ad and the site it redirects to will be crawled by their bots in order to make an approval decision.
“Advertisers can run [Facebook] ads that direct to landing pages that feature ingestible hemp and topical CBD. But the ads cannot specifically feature those products. Facebook is still prohibiting ads for ingestible CBD, including ads that direct to landing pages with those products.”
What Google does allow are ads for hemp-derived CBD products that rely exclusively on hemp keywords.
Again, though hemp-derived CBD is legal and does not fit the definitions above, Google rejects all text search ads that refer to CBD.
It’s important to note that due (at least partly) to the automation factor, even ads that do deserve approval based on Facebook and Google’s CBD advertising policies are often rejected regardless. As noted by Digiday, “Facebook consistently makes mistakes with flagging ads, and the ads still must abide by Facebook’s other advertising policies and community standards.”
What to Do If Your CBD Ads Are Rejected on Facebook & Google.
The foremost search and social advertising platforms (Google and Facebook) currently account for about 60 percent of digital advertising dollars spent in the US. Unfortunately, CBD advertisers account for a disproportionately small amount of those dollars—but they do account for some.
Facebook’s advertising policies (as well as Instagram’s, since Instagram is owned by Facebook) on prohibited content include the following under 2. Illegal products or services: “Adverts must not constitute, facilitate or promote illegal products, services or activities. Adverts targeted to minors must not promote products, services or content that are inappropriate, illegal or unsafe, or that exploit, mislead or exert undue pressure on the age groups targeted.” Facebook has additional policies pertaining to drugs and to unsafe supplements, but in our experience CBD ads tend to be rejected under “illegal products or services.”
Despite the fact that CBD ads violate none of the above stipulations, Facebook continues to reject the vast majority of CBD ads, as HuffPost and others have reported. According to reporter Jesselyn Cook:
While the fact remains that there is ultimately no guarantee of approval on Facebook, Instagram, or Google regardless of the actual content of your ad creative or landing pages, we do recommend (and help our clients with) the following method for increasing your chances of approval on these platforms:
Today, the only CBD ads Facebook will approve are ads for CBD topicals, a policy change that was made in 2019 (previously, topicals were banned too).
Here’s why that’s the case; what brands should know about doing so; how to improve your chances of search and social ad approval; and what to do if you’re unable to get your ads approved on either.
In a perfect world, most digital advertising campaigns for CBD (and otherwise) would leverage a balanced mix of paid search, paid social, and programmatic ads—the digital advertising trifecta—to achieve their campaign goals. In the real world, CBD brands are currently unable to rely on anything more than programmatic ads, but they should still try for ad approval on search and social platforms.
What’s Allowed on Google Ads?
For more information on running digital ads using programmatic technology, see our white paper on digital advertising options for cannabis and CBD.