Understanding CBD Advertising Laws on Every Platform
As CBD’s popularity continues to grow, the industry has become more competitive. As a result, business owners have become more creative in their efforts to market their CBD products. However, unlike other markets, advertising CBD products is not straightforward and faces many challenges. Not only do CBD marketers need to adhere to local laws and regulations but also follow advertising laws and restrictions on the different advertising platforms. Read along to learn more about CBD advertising on different platforms.
The Growing CBD Market and Projections
The CBD market is growing every day. With the many trials and studies on the potential medical benefits of this cannabinoid, the trend is expected to rise. Specifically, many believe that CBD can help with acid reflux or GERD, pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, and cancer symptoms. As a result, some analysts project that CBD could reach $20 billion by 2024.
As this industry continues to grow, so are the rules and regulations governing the CBD industry, including the advertising laws and guidelines. For better results when marketing CBD, CBD marketers need to learn about specific state laws on marketing and advertising. Specifically, you need to follow FDA’s guidelines on CBD advertisement.
What FDA Says About CBD Advertising
Even after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA still regulates CBD products under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and Section 351 of the Public Health Service Act. As such, adding CBD to food products or labeling it as a supplement is illegal. The FDA has approved Epidiolex (which contains a purified form of CBD) to treat seizures due to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Darvet syndrome for children not below one year of age.
To avoid controversy, you must avoid anything that the FDA does not approve. As earlier mentioned, you should not sell CBD as a dietary ingredient as it is illegal in most states. Again, you should avoid making medical claims in your marketing efforts. Of course, you can mention the “possible medical benefits of CBD,” but you shouldn’t make any unapproved medical claims.
CBD Advertising Restrictions by Platform
Understanding FDA laws and state laws on advertising is not all. You also need to consider laws on the different advertising platforms. Of course, the above rules will help reduce the significant level of risk, but you need to consider specific rules on each platform. To that end, let’s look at advertising rules on every platform.
Facebook has more than 2.08 billion active users, making it a king in the marketing space. Although Facebook is an excellent choice for ad campaigns in many products, the same cannot be said about the CBD business. This platform has many restrictions against advertising products classified as drugs, whether prescription or recreational. Even though CBD’s legal status has significantly changed in the US and UK, Facebook policies still classify CBD as a drug.
The Facebook restrictive laws on CBD advertising are due to the watery rules surrounding the legality of CBD in the US, UK, and around the world. For example, the legality of CBD varies from state to state in the US, meaning some products may be legal in some states but remain illegal in others. To avoid legality issues, Facebook has come up with a blanket ban on CBD advertising.
Specifically, Facebook bans ads that constitute or facilitate illegal products or services. In addition, Facebook has a provision about tobacco that prohibits advertising vaporizers on Facebook. This provision would include CBD vaporizers advertising CBD on Facebook, although these provisions can cause many complications depending on several factors.
Despite these restrictions, some CBD brands are able to advertise their products and services on Facebook. This is not to mean that Facebook favors some brands. Not at all. It all comes down to proper planning and paying attention to the details. Specifically, Facebook will remove your ad if you don’t set your ad correctly or use the wrong keywords in your advertisement. To that end, here’s how you can advertise CBD on Facebook:
Avoid using CBD with your domain name
As we’ve mentioned earlier, advertising CBD on Facebook is possible, only that it is tricky. Facebook uses bots to check the content of the copy on its platform. You can avoid these bots by not mentioning CBD, hemp, or cannabis in your ad. This must include any landing page you link and images and videos on your pages.
Focus on CBD Topical Only
Although Facebook bots will automatically reject ads for CBD topical, the campaigns might be approved when they fall to a human moderator and won’t be flagged after that. That means you may be able to run away with an ad that leads users to a topical CBD landing page or that features edible hemp products.
Promote a Blog Feature
Another option is not to advertise your own website. In other words, you can link your CBD ad to a blog that talks about your CBD cannabis product or a review site.
Build an Email List
Another excellent option is to create a new Facebook page and site domain for email marketing lists. However, ensure that your new site doesn’t contain any mention of CBD. More specifically, you can target benefits like anxiety relief and redirect content that covers that topic on your website. Once you do this, try and get many subscribers to your newsletter where you can talk about your CBD products without restrictions.
The question “Can you advertise CBD products on Instagram” is not uncommon. We get this question from our clients numerous times. The truth is, as with other digital platforms, Instagram will not promote cannabis.
However, as with Facebook, you can advertise hemp-based topical products only on Instagram. The only catch is to avoid mentioning CBD in your ad content, whether on your landing page, product labels, or your e-commerce page. If you follow these guidelines, Instagram won’t reject your ads, and better yet, your ads will remain sustainable and reliable.
Failure to follow these guidelines will get your Instagram ads shut down only a few days or weeks after approval. As a result, you will lose your ad account, business page, and money on advertising data.
That being the case, here are CBD advertising guidelines on Instagram:
Avoid Paid Ads
Instagram restricts paid ads. CBD or marijuana ads can get you into trouble, so you better avoid them. The best approach is to use non-paid advertisements, and there are two approaches to this.
Firstly, you can add your CBD content to your story and tag people. Specifically, you can tag up to 10 people at a go. However, avoid using the word CBD product but rather use hemp product. Also, your content should not target specific teenagers.
The second option is to include hashtags in your Instagram story. Hashtags related to your CBD products and the location that people search will redirect them to your story. By using these non-paid advertising methods on Instagram, your account will be safe from ban.
Stick to Posting
Although Instagram is restrictive on paid advertisements, that doesn’t mean that you cannot post regular posts that feature your products. The catch is to create well-worded posts that won’t violate Instagram’s advertisement guidelines while still promoting your products to a targeted audience.
Don’t Link to a Commercial Cannabis Site
Instagram will ban your account if it senses any commercial intent on your content. That means they will permanently ban your account if you link directly to your site. The best way to avoid this is to link one of your other profiles.
Post Relevant Images
Another excellent way to promote your CBD business on Instagram is to make attractive images related to your CBD products and add them to your Instagram story.
Connect with Cannabis Influencers
Hiring cannabis influencers is another excellent way to advertise CBD products on Instagram. The best part is that they will promote your business without putting your account at risk.
Google includes CBD on its list of unapproved supplements and pharmaceuticals. As such, Google ads should not contain the words CBD or cannabidiol anywhere on them. Failure to consider this policy could lead to account suspension. Besides, some provisions in Google’s advertising policies could include CBD advertising, including dangerous products and services, healthcare and medicines, misrepresentation, etc.
Due to the prohibitions regarding advertising CBD on Google, improving the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website might be the best strategy. We recommend connecting with a reputable SEO agency and talking to a qualified CBD attorney before running CBD ads on Google.
Twitter bans the promotion of drugs and drug paraphernalia, including herbal drugs, illegal and recreational drugs, dispensaries, and accessories associated with drug use. However, recent changes in their strict guidelines have created exceptions for advertising in the US and Canada. Specifically, here’s what you must keep in mind when marketing CBD on Twitter:
- Adhere to all laws and regulations
- Have proper licensing and be pre-authorized by Twitter
- Only target locations where you are legally licensed
- Don’t target users below 21 years of age
- Only promote legally derived CBD topical products
If you follow the above requirements and receive approval from Twitter, you can now run campaigns for your brand.
Compared to other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, LinkedIn has more forgiving policies. Linkedin’s policies prohibit brands from running ads related to illegal, prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational drugs. Although this is the case, the platform allows you to promote informational content that can help build authority.
Video ads are another popular way of promoting products. After all, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. However, before you advertise CBD products on YouTube, you must learn how to run compliant cannabis video ads.
In April 2021, Google updated its YouTube guidelines about drug-related videos to expand monetization on educational and news content, including recreational drugs and drug-related content, law enforcement, and sensitive events. According to this update, more drug-related videos would be eligible to have ads.
According to these guidelines, drug-related content is broken down into three categories:
- Videos where ads should be turned off
- Videos where uploaders can turn ads on
- Videos where they can be turned on “but only brands who opt-in will run ads.”
The section where video ads can be turned on brought the biggest change. Ideally, it covers videos that focus on the purchase, fabrication, or distribution of drugs, including homemade opioids and cannabis news that do not glorify drug use. This has increased advertisers’ revenue because they don’t need to opt-in to run ads against such content.
Although marketing and advertising regulations vary from state to state, below are some general guidelines on cannabis video ads:
- No mention of medical benefits of cannabis
- No characters that could appeal to children
- No misleading or false statements
- No pricing, promotional offers, or potency statements
- No endorsements
- Include the words “For Adult Use Only” on ads for infused products
If you thought that TikTok is only good for funny dances and videos, think again. As with other social media platforms, TikTok may be an excellent advertisement platform for various products, including CBD products.
However, before you advertise CBD on TikTok, you must read TikTok’s guidelines on advertisements. Although there’s no mention of CBD rules in the TikTok ads policy, TikTok bans these substances on their platform:
- Illegal drugs
- Prescriptive drugs
- Controlled drugs
- Recreational drugs, including enhancement, homeopathy, weight loss, and performance drugs
Follow local, national, and international laws regarding CBD advertisements to reduce the chances of your CBD ad getting banned on TikTok. As a rule of thumb, don’t mention CBD and hemp in your advertisement content.
As you can see, every platform has its restrictions when it comes to CBD advertising. The biggest challenge is to create ads that won’t get banned or removed. After all, when your ad is removed, you cannot expect any success from it. That’s why you need to partner with a reputable CBD advertising agency that understands the different advertisement guidelines on various platforms. This way, your CBD ad campaign will be approved and will bring the expected results.