Updated CBD Advertising Laws For 2022
There have been a lot of changes and updates with CBD advertising laws over the last few months and this is super good news for existing CBD companies that have significant brand awareness and are ready to boost online sales.
CBD advertising can also benefit new CBD businesses who need to gain brand awareness and increase qualified website traffic with a limited advertising budget.
Our CBD advertising agency has been running ad campaigns for CBD (and cannabis) since 2017 using Google search ads, programmatic display advertising, and native/sponsored content advertisements on popular websites.
We have first-hand experience with the many changes in CBD advertising laws in 2021 as well as expert knowledge of the upcoming updates for CBD advertising in the USA, Canada, and the UK in 2022.
In this article, we’ll discuss all CBD advertising laws for popular digital marketing channels like search engines (Google & Bing), social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok), and popular mainstream and niche websites.
The information provided below will give you all the information you need to advertise CBD online and remain competitive and compliant with the CBD advertising laws in 2022.
What Are The CBD Advertising Laws For Google?
As you may know, Google owns several platforms which they monetize with paid advertising opportunities for small & medium-sized businesses.
These platforms include:
- Google Search Network
- Google Display Network
- Google Shopping Network
When it comes to CBD advertising laws on Google, there is most certainly in a “grey” area because Google’s policies basically state that advertising products containing CBD and/or THC, and other cannabinoids, is “restricted”.
But, I’m sure you, like many of us, have personally witnessed actual Google search ads for cannabis and/or CBD products being shown in search results for relevant search phrases.
As you can imagine, this “grey” area in the CBD advertising laws for Google causes a ton of confusion with many of the CBD companies we consult with.
So, can you, or can you not advertise CBD on Google?
The simple answer is yes, you can advertise CBD on Google regardless of what Google’s CBD advertising laws & policies state, and as mentioned, we have been advertising CBD on Google search since 2017.
Keep reading to learn how you can get your CBD ads approved on Google and stay on the right side of their CBD advertising laws so your ad account stays active and does not get banned.
How Have Google’s CBD Advertising Laws Changed Over The Years?
Back in 2017 when we ignored any CBD advertising laws and started running ads on the Google search network, we realized that we’d need to be super creative in order to get our CBD ads approved.
Back then, Google didn’t “work with us” to help get ads approved but it was still possible to not be rejected if we followed certain steps that we learned through trial and error.
However, starting sometime near the end of 2019 and early 2020, with no publically announced changes in Google’s CBD advertising laws, Google made a small change that showed they are willing to “work with” CBD advertising experts.
Previous to 2019, when setting up a Google Ads (also known as Google AdWords) campaign your CBD advertising expert would:
- Set up a campaign and an at least one ad group
- Set up your audience and geographic targeting
- Add the targeted CBD keywords that you want your ads to show for
- Write the advertising copy for at least 3 Google search ads
- Write customized ad extensions using the targeted keywords
- Submit the campaign for review
- Wait for approval
So, while knowing that there is a grey area with CBD advertising laws with Google, you had to set up an entire CBD advertising campaign for review.
But, if there was an issue with one of your keywords or the way you phrased something in your ad copy, or even if there was an issue with the URL your ad links to, your CBD advertising expert needs to start all over again from step 1.
Not only is this super frustrating but it’s totally inefficient for your CBD advertising manager’s workflow and your CBD advertising budget.
How Google Helps CBD Advertisers Now
After 2019 and into 2020, Google finally started “working” with CBD advertisers while maintaining the grey area of their CBD advertising laws.
Instead of making CBD advertisers complete the setup of an entire ad campaign, only to find out that they needed to rephrase something, remove a few keywords, or delta an exclamation mark, Google will now “warn you” on which keywords will be accepted, and more importantly, which keywords will not be accepted before you submit the campaign for approval.
For example, let’s say your CBD company sells hemp-derived CBD products like oils/tinctures, ointments/creams, and edibles/gummies and you wanted to try running a Google search ads campaign you’d likely want to bid on the following keywords:
- buy cbd oil
- buy cbd edibles for sleep
- cbd for knee pain
- hemp oil for arthritis pain
- hemp oil pain relief
- cbd for lower back pain
- cbd ointment for pain
- hemp oil for arthritis
- cbd for neck pain
- cbd for back and shoulder pain
- cbd pain relief rub
This list of CBD keywords is not limited to the examples above. The above are just samples for the sake of this example.
Now check out the image below from an actual Google Ads campaign for CBD.
When you add your CBD keywords to your Google ads campaign, look at how Google gives you the heads up at this stage on which keywords will be accepted and which will not.
As you can see, out of the 11 CBD-related keywords we added to our campaign, Google is telling us that two of our keyword phrases will not be accepted, but the other 9 will be approved.
As a CBD advertising agency, I can say that this is a huge help, a huge timesaver, and shows us that regardless of the CBD advertising laws, Google is happy to take CBD advertiser’s ad spend and help them get ad campaigns approved.
Keep in mind that it still takes a highly qualified CBD advertising expert to complete the CBD keyword research, full campaign set up with ad copy, audience, and geo-targeting, conversion tracking setup, landing page optimization, and all the other factors that go into a successful Google advertising campaign that stays “compliant” with Google’s CBD advertising laws.
We highly recommend you contact us, or another reputable and experienced CBD advertising agency, to set up, execute and manage your Google Ads campaign in order to avoid consequences of CBD advertising laws like getting your Google account shut down or banned.
What Are The CBD Advertising Laws For Facebook & Instagram?
Advertising CBD on Facebook & Instagram still remains a challenge for many brands but the good news is there have been changes to some of Facebook’s CBD advertising laws that have allowed some CBD brands to advertise on both platforms.
In late June 2019, tech website digiday.com reported that Facebook is opening itself up to more advertising from (some) CBD companies.
The article says that essentially Facebook has relaxed its outright ban on CBD products, according to an agency source with knowledge of the matter.
CBD advertising agencies, like ColaDigital.ca, are now allowed to run ads for topical hemp-derived CBD products across Facebook, as long as the products or the website/landing page the product is being sold on, has no mentions of “CBD”.
CBD Advertisers can run ads that direct to landing pages that feature hemp-derived topical CBD products only. But the ads cannot specifically feature those products.
What are “hemp-derived topical CBD” products?
These include products that you and I would call CBD products, but they are labeled as “hemp”, not CBD, and include categories like creams, lotions, salves, roll-on’s, and sport sticks, for example.
Facebook is still prohibiting ads for ingestible CBD, including ads that direct to landing pages with those products and that mention CBD on the product labels and website/landing page.
A Facebook spokesperson said the following in an email sent to digiday.com, “Our policy remains the same: We don’t allow people to promote CBD or ingestible hemp on Facebook.
The rep also said that this update to non-ingestible hemp in Facebook’s CBD advertising laws was made sometime in Q1 of 2019.
For a full outline on how to advertise hemp-derived CBD topicals on Facebook while following their new CBD advertising laws, please read this article How Can You Advertise CBD on Facebook?
Can You Advertise CBD on Popular Mainstream Websites?
Yes, you can advertise CBD on popular websites using customized programmatic display/banner ads featured in line with articles published on some of the world’s most popular websites.
The best news is programmatic display ads for CBD are allowed and will be approved with no issue as long as they follow FDA (or Health Canada, EMA, MHRA) guidelines, which should be no problem to most CBD companies with e-commerce websites.
There’s also no required minimum media spend in order to get CBD ads approved and live.
When it comes to CBD advertising and dealing with the grey areas with the CBD advertising laws on Google & Facebook discussed above, programmatic display advertising should be the preferred choice for new CBD companies simply because ad approval is not an issue.
Another benefit of using programmatic display ads is that you can do the same things you can do on Facebook & Instagram in terms of audience targeting and retargeting, but this is done with banner ads on mainstream websites as opposed to special media platforms.
Just like on Facebook, but this time compliant with all CBD advertising laws, programmatic display advertising allows you to use retargeting tactics and well as dynamic retargeting tactics which is ideal for CBD companies.
What’s the difference between retargeting and dynamic retargeting with CBD advertising and is this compliant with CBD advertising laws in the USA, Canada, UK, & EU?
Google says retargeting (or what Google calls remarketing) allows you to show ads to people who have previously visited your website.
Dynamic retargeting takes this CBD marketing tactic a step further, letting you show previous visitors specific ads that contain the CBD product or products they viewed on your site in an effort to get them to return to your site to complete the purchase.
And yes – this is all approved, accepted, and compliant with CBD advertising laws.
You can learn more about using programmatic display advertising in this ultimate guide: CBD Display Ads: 6 Tips For Effective CBD Advertising & Retargeting.
We Can Help You Manage CBD Advertising Laws & Grow Your Business
Are you ready to begin implementing CBD advertising campaigns to grow your business while staying compliant with the CBD advertising laws in your region?
We can help you strategize, execute, and manage any of the CBD advertising strategies discussed in this article.
Please call us for a free 30-minute consultation or contact us via email to request a quote.
We’re Ready To Help You Grow!