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CBD brands are allowed to advertise their products across Google and popular social media platforms. However, brands need to make an effort. Using Google Adwords is a great way to generate sales for your eCommerce store, however Google Ads & selling CBD Oil isn't so straight forward. Find out why here. Are you looking to advertise CBD products on Google? This is the guide for you. Read on to learn more about CBD and Google ads.

CBD Ads on Google & Social Media Platforms: Things to Know

Posted February 27th, 2022 by teseo & filed under CBD Marketing.

In an ideal world, most online advertising campaigns of CBD brands would use a balanced mix of paid social, paid search and programmatic ads to attain their campaign goals. Unfortunately, in the real world, brands are not able to rely on anything except programmatic ads. However, CBD brands still need to create ads for CBD business and try for the approval of those ads on social and search platforms.

Here’s what you need to know about creating and getting the ads approved by varied digital platforms.

Are CBD brands allowed to advertise on Google, Instagram & Facebook?

Facebook and Google are the foremost social and search advertising platforms and they account for approximately 60% of digital advertising dollars spent in the United States. However, CBD brands do not account for even half that amount but only some of it.

The problem with these platforms is that they don’t let CBD brands to openly advertise their products, even though hemp-deprived CBD was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. That said, the platforms do accept a specific and small subset of ads explained below.

What kind of ads are allowed on Google?

Google’s polices clearly state that they don’t allow promotion of certain products or services that cause harm, damage or injury. Under recreational drugs, the platform bans advertisements for substances that change the mental state for the purpose of recreation and this includes marijuana and other such substances. The platform also doesn’t allow ads for products or services that facilitate recreational drug use, such as bongs, pipes or cannabis coffee shops.

However, Google does allow brands to run ads for hemp-deprived CBD products that depend on hemp keywords.

What kind of ads are allowed on Instagram & Facebook?

The advertising policies of Facebook and Instagram states that they prohibit content that facilitate the promotion of illegal products or services. Adverts that are targeted to minors must not promote services, activities or products that are unsafe, illegal or inappropriate. Facebook also has additional policies that pertain to unsafe supplements and drugs. But CBD ads typically tend to get rejected under illegal products or services even though the products are legalized in most states in the USA.

However, the policies and rules are slowly changing. Today, CBD ads are allowed to run on Facebook if they’re ads for CBD business that are selling CBD topicals. This change in policy is fairly new and previously, CBD topicals were also banned.

Ways to enhance your chances of getting your CBD ads approved by Facebook & Google

There’s no guarantee your ads will get approved but you can make the effort to increase the chances of their approval. You can also collaborate with a professional CBD digital marketing agency experienced in running ads on Google and social media platforms. While you are looking for the right partner, these methods should help to enhance your approval chances.

    • From your ad creative, you need to remove all the hemp and CBD keywords and replace them with euphemisms, such as plant-based remedies.
    • You can design a gated landing page that is specific to your campaign. The page must omit the references to hemp and CBD, but include a CTA that drives potential customers to your website. You can use this page as a landing page for the campaign.
    • If your ad campaigns are still rejected, you can eliminate all links to your website and leave a stand-alone page that doesn’t have any connection to your main page. You must not mention hemp or CBD and submit the campaign.
    • If your ad campaigns are approved, you must wait for two days before introducing links through to your website via the gated landing page.

    So, these are a few of the best practices that you can follow for running ads for CBD business on Google and across popular social media platforms. You can also take help from a professional agency to ensure your ads don’t get rejected.

    Advertising CBD Oil Using Google Adwords

    Most CBD business owners, especially in the start-up phase, get their websites up, ensure they have stock of their products, and then start looking for ways to promote their brand. Unsurprisingly, Google Ads is usually top of their list.

    Google is the most prominent digital ad seller through its Google Ads platform. Last year alone, they sold over $100 billion in ads, accounting for 31% of ad spending worldwide. That’s over a third more than its closest competitor, Facebook Ads, at $67 billion.

    Google ads remain popular because they work. They target a buyer who has shown specific interest in a topic, and you can reach that buyer when they want to make a purchasing decision. But unfortunately for CBD businesses, the digital advertising platform prohibits the direct promotion of cannabidiol products.

    What is Google’s standpoint on CBD?

    Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let’s refresh Google’s CBD stance quickly. It’s important to understand that Google search prohibits the advertising of CBD on its platform. Like many other US-based companies (including Amazon and Facebook), Google’s advertising policy clearly states that promoting CBD is prohibited, whether or not it is legal.

    While hemp-derived CBD is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still the need for a regulatory framework to be developed, and it hasn’t yet been established in all states. A consequence of this is because Google is registered in the States, it can’t allow the sale of CBD.

    CBD is explicitly mentioned in Google’s list of unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements. That’s pretty clear. But if you type CBD into google.co.uk, you still many ads promoting CBD (albeit indirectly). So, what is going on?

    What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, and how do companies use that to their advantage?

    CBD oil is made from the stalk and leaves of the hemp plant, where cannabidiol is found. In contrast, hemp oil (or hemp seed oil) is made from only hemp seeds and contains little to no CBD and, therefore, doesn’t offer the same benefits as hemp-derived CBD oil.

    This is important because CBD oil and hemp seed oil are in the same cannabis family and are, therefore, often promoted as the same thing, even though they’re entirely different.

    But why would a brand do this? It’s one of the main ways companies try to get around Google’s CBD ban. The ad copy would only reference hemp oil, while the keyword the company is targeting would be CBD-related. It’s counterintuitive as CBD has a much higher price point, but their thinking is that if they can get the user to click through to their site, they have a good chance of getting the sale.

    What are the CBD Advertising Laws for the USA?

    CBD advertising laws are important to understand if you are considering starting a CBD company. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is told clearly what is allowed and not allowed in CBD advertising. Each state also has advertising regulations and business licenses. For instance, if you want to operate in Florida, you will need a CBD business license.

    According to the FTC, “Companies that represent expressly or by implication that what they sell can prevent, treat, or cure serious medical conditions in an ad will be held to the highest substantiation standards, and marketers can expect scrutiny of those claims.”

    The FTC also prohibits making claims about CBD products concerning prevention, treatment, and safety in an ad unless the CBD products have been through human clinical testing to prove the claims. Additionally, there are different requirements for retailers and wholesalers regarding CBD advertising. Retailers can make general claims about the benefits of CBD, but they cannot make specific health claims.

    On the other hand, Wholesalers can make specific health claims as long as they have substantiation from third-party scientific studies. It is essential to consult with an experienced attorney before starting any CBD company to ensure that you comply with all applicable laws.

    Think again if you were thinking about getting around the CBD advertising laws. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, has formed Operation CBDeceit to crack down on any deceptive advertising of CBD products – online or offline. So far, five CBD companies have faced the consequences of their ads. These CBD companies are:

    • Bionatrol Health LLC
    • CBD Meds Inc.
    • Epichouse LLC (First Class Herbalist CBD)
    • HempmeCBD
    • Steves Distributing LLC

    So before running CBD ads on google Adwords think about it again. Your AdWords account might be banned, or you can face legal action by FTC. So better to don’t run any CBD google ads on Google.

    CBD Advertising Laws for UK

    The MHRA is the executive agency of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care responsible for products classed as CBD sold in the UK. It also issues guidelines on what can and cannot be said when advertising medicine or healthcare products.

    So, you want to start selling CBD products in the UK? Here are the MHRA guidelines you need to follow:

    • Follow the UK’s basic advertising guidelines for CBD products as set out by the MHRA. This includes not making unapproved health claims or wellbeing claims and not linking to sites/platforms that promote ‘cancer cures’ or other medicinal biased information.
    • Make sure that any written content and published articles about your CBD products do not make any medical claims. This includes company names/logos, hashtags, links, and any shared testimonials/reviews.
    • Do not offer CBD products to treat any specific condition – stick to general descriptions such as “relaxing,” “energising” and so on.
    • Make sure you do not link to any sites/platforms that present CBD as a medicine. This includes explicitly medical sites and platforms where customers can obtain more information about CBD and its uses.
    • Make no explicit medical claims about your CBD products.
    • Do not link to sites/platforms that promote ‘cancer cures’ or other medicinally biased sites/platforms.
    • Do not publish articles that imply that CBD can or has been used to treat any illness.
    • Do not suggest customers talk to any medical professional.
    • Do not use any graphics, imagery, or product names that imply CBD is a medicine.
    • Do not make comparisons with licensed medicines.
    • Do not reference medical and clinical research and testing.

    So, what are the things that CBD merchants ARE allowed to do ( UK )?

    They can claim to maintain, help, or support health, healthy bodily functions, or organs. However, references to restoring or aiding in restoring a specific biological function or organ to a normal, healthy state are prohibited.

    How are companies getting around Google’s CBD ban?

    There are two main ways that companies try to get around Google’s ban on CBD:

    Option 1 – Advertise CBD products directly

    This approach usually has a two-day shelf life. A CBD company will set up standard search ads and drive visitors to a CBD product page on its website. The campaign will usually only run for a day or two before Google gets around to crawling your landing page and the rest of your website, and the result is that your ads will be disapproved. In most cases, a search ad campaign like this will get shut down within two weeks, but it’s usually a few days. The best-case scenario is that your ads will be disapproved; the worst case is a permanent suspension of your account. Google may even go so far as to flag your website or billing details, making it nearly impossible to create a new account.

    Option 2 – Get creative and promote your CBD product indirectly

    Setting up a new Adwords account every two weeks is not a practical solution which is why this alternative is the most commonly used. The method still operates in a grey area, so creating a new Google Ads account specifically for CBD advertising is best. This is to protect you if you sell other products through Adwords as you still risk having your account flagged.

    Set up a campaign as you usually would input your budget and location, and set the campaign type to “Paid Search Ads.” Keyword selection, as always, is important, and should include terms such as “CBD” and “hemp.”

    Then it’s time to get creative. When you’re writing the ad copy, you have to avoid promoting the product directly and instead use terms that hint at the products you sell. This might include terms such as “hemp oil.” The link visitors click on once they’ve seen your ad should take them to a landing page on your website that promotes your CBD product but does so indirectly.

    What are the risks of promoting your CBD products on Google Ads?

    There are a myriad of risks that you expose yourself to if you decide to try and circumvent Google’s Adwords policies, not least account closure, misleading clients, and potential damage to your brand.

    Account Closures

    Even if you are only referencing hemp in the ad copy and sending visitors to a hemp oil product page, you are still at risk of having your account shut down. There are many instances where a company advertising a completely legal, non-CBD product has been shut down because the site sells other CBD products.

    Misleading Clients

    It’s also not ideal from an ethical standpoint. If you are targeting the keyword “CBD” and advertising hemp oil in the Adwords copy, you are misleading the customer to click on the website.

    Damage to Your Brand

    Most reputable, well-established CBD companies avoid using Adwords, respecting Google’s decision to exclude CBD from their list of allowed supplements. Instead, they focus on other online channels to market their products and educate consumers about CBD. This means that you have a decision to make, do you want to sell your product using Google Ads and risk increasing the stigma that is already associated with CBD while at the same time potentially damaging your brand? Or do you want to take a more long-term view and put effort into building your digital assets to educate consumers and build customer loyalty?

    Is It Possible to Advertise CBD on Popular Mainstream Websites?

    Limitations of CBD Online Promotion

    Google Ads CBD

    There are a lot of products on the market that contain CBD, and many people use it for various purposes. However, unfortunately for marketers, Google ad does not allow CBD to be advertised on its platform. This is because Cannabidiol is derived from hemp, which is a type of Cannabis plant. Although CBD is not psychoactive, it is still considered part of the Cannabis family. According to google ads policies, it has a strict policy against promoting any products associated with this plant.

    As a result, in the UK, CBD advertisers who want to promote CBD products will need to find other platforms to do so. This may limit the reach of their advertising campaigns, but it is still possible to connect with potential customers through other channels. For a better understanding, check out these Google ads policies.

    Facebook and Instagram

    Facebook & Instagram has banned all ads for CBD products, except organic content and posts. That means you can post links to your website or store page to advertise this product on Facebook, but they will be rejected if Facebook (Uk region ) deems it as advertising marijuana which it doesn’t allow anyway, even though hemp contains zero percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). If a CBD ad leads people to a website where CBD is for sale, Facebook will look into the domain and remove it from rotation. For a better understanding, check out these Facebook ads policies.

    Twitter

    CBD advertising on Twitter is now allowed in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada after a recent change in their policy. This follows the trend of other social media platforms, which have also relaxed their rules regarding CBD advertising.

    However, Twitter’s rules are still stricter than most, as they ban all promotion of illegal drugs, recreational and herbal drugs, accessories associated with drug use, and dispensaries. This means businesses who want to advertise CBD products on Twitter must be very careful to ensure that their ads comply with the guidelines. But for those who are willing to work within the restrictions, Twitter can be an effective way to reach a broad audience with their CBD message. For a better understanding, check out these Twitter ads policies.

    Can I run Google ads for CBD products?

    No, you cannot run Google ads for CBD products. Can you advertise hemp on Google ads?

    Google Ads does not allow the promotion of hemp products at this time. However, there are some restrictions on what can be included in the ad. For example, the ad cannot contain any images or text that promotes the use of hemp for recreational purposes.

    Can you advertise hemp on Google ads?

    Google Ads does not allow the promotion of hemp products at this time. However, there are some restrictions on what can be included in the ad. For example, the ad cannot contain any images or text that promotes the use of hemp for recreational purposes.

    Is it legal to advertise CBD products?

    Yes, it is legal to advertise CBD products as long as they comply with the relevant laws and regulations. CBD products must not make any medical claims without appropriate supporting evidence. They should also be marketed responsibly, ensuring that people understand the difference between CBD and THC. If CBD products are advertised as dietary supplements, then there is likely no issue with advertising them. However, if CBD products are being promoted as a treatment for a medical condition, then it is likely that doing so would be illegal without prior approval from the FDA.

    What do we think?

    Having worked with CBD clients operating in the UK for the past three years, we’ve seen many Adwords accounts being shut down, and it’s not worth the risk. In some cases, Google goes as far as to ban the billing method used, making it difficult to open another account.

    Many CBD brands would argue that it is possible to advertise CBD on Google without going against their ad policy. To do this, they rely on ‘creative wording’ to find a way to promote CBD products on the platform. In this way, they would say that you can avoid the risk of violating Adwords terms and conditions entirely.

    From our perspective, it also strays into the grey moral territory. And in an industry still struggling to shrug off the associations with marijuana and a ‘stoner’ culture, this is yet another way that companies are bringing CBD companies into disrepute.

    It’s hugely tempting to go ahead with Google Ads to promote your CBD products, especially when you see many other CBD companies benefiting from the loophole that allows them to promote CBD indirectly. We do not believe this is a sustainable model and will always advise clients to pursue other above-board methods for promoting their products.

    Can You Advertise CBD on Google?

    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.

    Like any other business, you want to go advertise where the eyeballs are.

    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.

    Hopefully, this article can give you some clarity.

    Does Google allow CBD ads?

    The short answer is no.

    The long answer is it’s complicated.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 do make claims, then you have to be sure that you can back them up with credible medical research.

    How to put CBD ads on Google

    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.

    If you want to go ahead and advertise your CBD products on the Google advertising network, then follow these steps:

    • The first step is to create a new Google Ads account to use specifically for advertising your CBD product. If you run into problems, then it won’t affect your other Google Ads campaigns.
    • Once your account is set up, you can then set your budget and location and set up a campaign using the ‘paid search ads’ option.
    • The next step is to select relevant keywords for your product, such as “CBD, “CBD oils,” hemp,” etc. And then enter a cost-per-click bid for each keyword.
    • Now comes the tricky part. When you create and write an ad, make sure that you avoid promoting your CBD product directly , or you will get caught out by Google’s terms of service. It is better to just use a more vague description of your product. For example, focus on the benefits of it without naming it.
    • The final step is to create a specific landing page that your ad will take consumers to. Just like the ad itself, don’t overtly promote your CBD product on the landing page either – instead, make it an information page that users can then click thru to your product pages.

    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.

    Is there a better way?

    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 could hire a CBD content writer to write a blog that covers CBD topics to 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.

    This way, you will drive lots of traffic to your website without the risks.

    The bottom line

    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.

    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

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