CBD Advertising in the UK Using Google Search Ads

cbd advertising uk

CASE STUDY: Google Ads CBD Advertising in the UK

The following case study outlines the first 45 days of a customized Google search ads campaign for one of the UK’s largest CBD marketplaces. The campaigns took place is over the 2020/2021 winter holiday season in the United Kingdom.

This time period is super unique when it comes to online shopping and CBD e-commerce because it is Christmas time after all, as well as New Years’. It’s both a very busy time, quickly followed by a notoriously seasonal slow-period, post-Christmas.

Most of our CBD marketing & advertising case studies have been based in North America, Canada and the USA in particular. So we’re excited to offer our reader this glimpse into the CBD market in the UK and what it takes to advertise hemp-derived CBD products all over England!

Can you advertise CBD in the UK using Google Search Advertising? How to advertise CBD in the United Kingdom.

CBD Client’s Background

Handpicked CBD is the UK’s #1 CBD marketplace. Handpicked is the creation of George and Sabrina, a husband & wife team from London, England. Having seen first-hand the wonderful benefits of CBD (whether it be through oils, balms, or even edibles), they decided to open an online store to help others discover this awesome gift from nature.

The couple created Handpicked CBD to provide a retail hub that delivers a safe, trustworthy, and educational shopping experience for consumers looking to try out CBD in the UK.

All of the CBD products they list are from reputable brands that they’ve tried & tested, either personally or amongst their community. They only work with CBD companies that follow the best practices from seed-to-shelf.

To Handpicked CBD, that means:

  • Cultivation: all CBD is sourced organically, with no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or heavy metals.
  • Extraction: CBD is extracted using the widely regarded supercritical CO2 method.
  • Quality: every CBD product listed has been 3rd party lab-tested to ensure its ingredients.

Handpicked CBD is on a mission to introduce people across the world hemp-derived CBD. To do that, they aim to become the ‘go-to’ online CBD marketplace in the UK for buying the very best, most trusted CBD products from the most reputable brands in the industry.

cbd advertising UK case study using google ads for cbd in the United Kingdom.

CBD Client’s Digital Marketing Challenge

Handpicked CBD needed to increase brand awareness of their CBD marketplace across the United Kingdom and to increase consumer education on the legalities and health benefits of hemp-derived CBD.

As an e-commerce marketplace, increasing online sales was also a priority, and they needed the help of an experienced and professional CBD advertising company and digital agency.

Handpicked sells popular CBD brands that target uses with solutions for chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. They needed a proven paid advertising strategy to drive new traffic to the site, increase website engagement, email newsletter signups, and online revenue.

The key challenge here is to increase KPIs like website traffic, brand awareness, and sales over a short window of time during the Xmas holiday season in the UK.

cbd ecommerce marketing strategy for UK

ColaDigital’s CBD Strategy

The experienced CBD marketing & advertising team at ColaDigital chose to focus on targeting people in the UK who are actively searching to buy CBD products online.

We created 2 unique campaigns, one focused on brand name searches and the other targeting “need state” or heath issue.

We broke down each Campaign into the following Ad Groups:

Campaign 1: Popular UK Brands

  • Ad Group 1: CBD Brothers
  • Ad Group 2: OTO
  • Ad Group 3: Dragonfly
  • Ad Group 4: Love Hemp
  • Ad Group 5: Vitality
  • Ad Group 6: Pravacan
  • Ad Group 7: FourFiveCBD
  • Ad Group 8: Heatlspan

Campaign 2: Need State/Health Concern

    • Ad Group 1: Pain Relief
    • Ad Group 2: Anxiety & Stress
    • Ad Group 3: Sleep/Insomnia
    • Ad Group 4: Beauty/Skin Care
    • Ad Group 5: Immunity
    • Ad Group 6: Pets

This campaign structure allowed us to effectively target each UK CBD brand and each need state/health issue with unique keywords & unique ad copy.

Through this CBD advertising strategy, we were able to reach over 169,000 potential CBD customers in the UK in about 4 weeks at a £12 CPM (~ $16 USD).


Campaign Results

ColaDigital was able to generate the following results and key performance indicators in the first 45-days of each campaign:

    • Online sales/Conversions: 158
    • Conversion Rate: 3.5%
    • CTR (click-through rate): 8.1%
    • CPA (cost per acquisition): £52.50 (~$71.75 USD)
    • CPM (cost per million impressions): £12 (~$16 USD)
    • CPC (cost per click): £1.84

Keep in mind that the results above are for only the first 45-days of the campaign – and happened during a short window of the busy Christmas season in the UK.
Also, note that every Google search campaign does take time to optimize for the lowest cost per conversion/cost per acquisition (CPA).

For example, we were at a £95 CPA (~$129.83 USD) after 3-weeks. By the 6th week, we lowered the CPA to £52.50 (~$71.75 USD).

We expect to lower the CPA to a target of £30 (~$41 USD) by 60-90 days.

Campaign AdGroups & Key Metrics

Click the image to see a larger version.

Clicks vs Conversions in 45 Days Over The Holidays

This chart shows how sales increased in early December 2020 and spiked during the week before Christmas! This was exactly what the client needed to achieve in this short period of time.

The sales do decrease in the new year, January 2021, but that is to be expected for all e-commerce industries due to the busy holiday spending season.


Do You Want To Run Google Ads in the UK For Your CBD Products?

This case study is meant to show the CBD marketing & sales landscape in the United Kingdom.

You can see that it is possible to get Google ads for CBD approved in the UK, to boost the amount of qualified traffic to your site, increase sales, and lower cost per acquisition (CPA) over time.

We highly recommend a minimum of 3 months to effectively optimize a CBD advertising campaign on Google search and reach profitable levels for CPAs. The above case studies illustrates just half this story as the timeline is only for 45-days.

If you’re interested in a CBD advertising strategy for your CBD brand targeting the UK, please contact us to discuss your customized plan.

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