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Can Marijuana and Cannabis Related Industries Advertise on Facebook?
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How We Advertised Medical Cannabis on Facebook

This case study highlights the steps taken to improve the overall attendance of the Canadian Greenhouse Conference trade show through strategic Facebook advertising tactics and objectives.

This project was conceived, executed and managed by the cannabis marketing team at VPDM Digital Marketing, a strategic partner with ColaDigital.ca. This team is the existing cannabis marketing and marijuana dispensary marketing team now at ColaDigital.ca.

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To read and download the new updated 2018 case studyplease go here.

Interested in Cannabis advertising on Google? Read our case study on advertising cannabis services on Google Search.

2017 Executive Summary:

Client Overview

– The Canadian Greenhouse Conference is a two-day large trade show with 300+ boothswhich takes place at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario in October.

– The conference targets vegetableflownursery, and cannabis growers.

– The primary focus is to provide valuable information from experts in the industry to help grow greenhouse business.

– It is also seen as a way to network with other professionals to share industry challenges and solutions.

– This client has never done any Facebook advertising.

– The main goal is to increase the number of attendees from 2016.

The Problem With Advertising Medical Cannabis on Facebook:

– Facebook has strict advertising policies that won’t allow users to promote prescription drugs, recreational drugs, or drug-related products.

– Using words like ‘marijuana’ or ‘cannabis’ could get the ads disapproved.

– Using standalone imagery of medical cannabis could get the ads disapproved.

– If ads were continuously disapproved, it could affect Facebook’s trust score of your Page, which can limit the results of current and future ads.

– In severe cases, it may even cause the account to be banned.

Our Challenges With Cannabis Marketing on Facebook:

– We were on a time crunch as we only had two months to generate awareness, create audience lists, and move users through the conversion funnel to get them to register for the trade show.

– New client with no Facebook advertising history. Had to build custom audiences.

– Our team HAD to find a way to get our Facebook ads approved, while still promoting medical cannabis, use cannabis imagery, and mention marijuana or cannabis growing in the ad copy.

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To view the new and updated 2018 Case Study which includes cannabis advertising on Facebook and Google, please follow the link.

Our Solutions & Implementations:

– After several tests using different images, with and without cannabis, testing different ad copy using medical cannabis and medical marijuana terminology, we finally found a wayfor our ads to get approved!

– We found that adding a hyphen to the term ‘medical cannabis’ to get past Facebook Ad Manager’s ad approval algorithm – i.e. “medical-cannabis” got approved!

– We also found that if we used marijuana imagery, but added branded watermarks and text overlay to get past Facebook Ad Manager’s ad approval algorithm, worked as well.

– After discovering how to get past Facebook Ad Manager’s strict regulations on advertising drugs and drug-related products; specifically medical cannabis, we were able to create an effective social media advertising conversion funnel.

– This funnel got people to register the trade show, while we gained valuable insights into the type of ad creatives that worked for the client’s target audience.

– We increased impressions, website traffic, link clicks, and grew our custom audience retargeting lists.

– Our targets included horticultural and agricultural industry professionals.

– Retargeting was included to all those that engaged with the cold audience ads, all website visitors, as well as to past conference attendees.

– Ad budget was heavily monitored and maximized: we distributed the budget amongst the best performing ad sets, while eliminating the low performing ads.

Our Impact:

– Increased overall attendance by 25%

– Increased impressions by 92%

– Increased website page views by 70%

– Increased unique users by 68%

– Increased link clicks 112%

– 8/10 relevancy score for ads with marijuana imagery

– $0.50 0r less for all cost per link clicks

Key Takeaways:

– Until Facebook updates the advertising policies to include the promotion of medical cannabis, marketers will have to develop tactics such as hyphens and watermarking images to be able to have their advertisements approved.

– Having a conversion funnel set up in your social media marketing campaigns will help to maximize the overall conversions of your Facebook advertising.

– While these improvements shown were done over a two-month period, it highlights how important it is to always be testing, monitoring, tweaking according to the data and perfecting the content.

– NEVER set and forget and always try to improve your strategy and your content.

– Maximize your ad results by distributing budget accordingly and eliminating low performing ads.

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