Can you advertise cannabis or CBD products on Instagram?

Instagram’s policy on CBD advertising

What is the Instagram CBD policy and how it affects your CBD business.

As CBD begins to mainstream, many marketers are wondering what Instagram’s policy is on advertising CBD products. Here we break down the policies and provide some tips on how to market your CBD products on Instagram.

Instagram has been known to restrict cannabis advertising. Recently, the company announced a new policy that will affect how CBD products are marketed on the platform. The policy prohibits posts that promote the use of cannabis, including CBD products, whether they are derived from marijuana or hemp.

This means that you cannot post content that promotes the use of CBD products, even if they are legal in your state. You also cannot mention or tag any other accounts that promote cannabis products.

However, there are a few exceptions to this policy. You can still post about products that have been approved by the FDA for therapeutic use, and you can post about products that are made from hemp-derived CBD. You can also promote advocacy-related content that supports reforming cannabis laws.

So what does this mean for CBD marketers? It means you have work to do if you want to advertise online. The best way to conduct your CBD marketing is through organic posts, meaning you use the platform naturally as a user rather than trying too hard to sell your product or promote your account.

The following are some good practices when it comes to organic sharing:

You should try and share original, helpful content on Instagram about CBD products, such as facts or recipes. This will help build an audience of people who like and follow you organically. When they like and comment on your posts, you can ask them questions and gently direct them toward checking out your products.

An overview on the CBD marketplace:

Since the World Health Organization declared that CBD has no potential for abuse or dependence, more and more states have legalized both medical and recreational use of cannabis. 

Marijuana contains a high amount of THC (the psychoactive compound), which is what most people are looking for in a high. CBD is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t have the same “high” feeling. The market has begun to shift toward CBD products which are legal in more states, and can be found at many retailers online or in health food stores.

Instagram’s policy on CBD advertising is to disallow any “medical claims” from being made in an Instagram account or post. CBD is still a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medical use and can be abused by its users. 

This falls under Instagram’s policy on promoting illegal drugs and unapproved supplements, which we will get into below.

Instagram’s strict CBD advertising policy

Instagram is very strict about following this policy, and will delete any post or account which breaks the rule. The idea of CBD being illegal is perpetuated by all sorts of falsehoods online, so it’s important to make sure you are fully informed about what the laws actually are where you live.

There are many companies advertising CBD products on Instagram who get around the policy by using creative hashtags such as #CBD, #Cannabis and others.

These accounts get away with the policy because Instagram only deletes posts that mention specific diseases or pharmaceuticals that CBD can be used to treat.

More importantly, they get away with it because these companies do not actually represent themselves as selling cannabis, but tout CBD as treating various diseases. While there is no doubt that this type of marketing works, it’s still not allowed on Instagram.

Using organic marketing to advertise cbd products

Another trick to getting around the policy is selling hemp products which are legal because they do not contain THC, but then tagging their posts with #CBD or other cannabis hashtags. We may be seeing a shift in policy for this type of behavior, but until it is formalized, we remain very skeptical.

Organic CBD marketing on Instagram

The best way to market CBD products on Instagram is to do so organically, just like sharing any other content that users would see. Posting photos of your CBD products will help you increase your following and organic reach. When people like and comment on these posts, you can engage them in conversation about the product, try to sell it to them without being too pushy or spammy, and ask them to tag their friends who might be interested in seeing your products as well.

Just to be clear, selling actual cannabis products through Instagram does not comply with their terms of service. This includes CBD products containing any amount of THC. Instagram’s community guidelines state that transferring cannabis is prohibited on the site and that any content depicting the sale of drugs is not allowed.

Make regular posts about cannabis in general, whether you are selling it or not, will eventually get your post deleted if your account is found to violate Instagram’s policies. This includes pictures of simply growing marijuana plants in your garden.

Very few businesses can meet instagram’s CBD advertising policy and be able to advertise freely and successfully on instagram. 

Businesses need to make sure that they do not sell or promote products containing THC — even if they are derived from hemp — as well as making sure that their CBD content does not exceed 0.3%. There would also need to be a disclaimer regarding FDA approval on all advertisements.

Requirements for approaching Instagram about approved paid advertisement of CBD products:

Businesses also need to ensure the products they advertise on instagram have been analyzed by an independent 3rd party laboratory and have been tested for THC, CBD content, as well as contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides. The business needs to keep these lab results as part of their advertising records for compliance with instagram’s CBD policy.

Businesses also need to have been in operation for at least one year before being allowed to advertise on instagram, and must have a minimum of 50,000 followers. 

Businesses must make sure their profile is in compliance with all guidelines and policies set out by instagram in order to be a success. All businesses must also have a social media manager that is well-versed in instagram’s CBD advertising policy as well as their other advertising policies and guidelines.

In order to be able to advertise on instagram, the business needs to contact instagram directly using the form on their website. The form allows them ask for permission to advertise on instagram, and it states that a response will be given within 10 business days.

Instagram has a well-known policy against CBD brands’ ads — but some platforms are helping to get around that by allowing you to advertise CBD.

Facebook cbd ads and cannabis ad policies 

The facebook ad policy for CBD or any cannabis product is relatively lax, but in order to avoid being banned from the platform entirely, you have to make sure your ads are in compliance with their other advertising guidelines. Here’s a quick look at some of them.

#1 Follows the Facebook ad policy.

In order to run a successful facebook ad for CBD or any cannabis product, your ad must not violate any of Facebook’s existing policies and rules. These include:

#2 No inflammatory language (disallowed in headlines and images)

Facebook requires advertisers to avoid including “inflammatory or provocative content which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.” This includes both text and images. Cannabis-related ads may not make statements such as “Smoke Weed Everyday,” “When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade,” or anything like that. 

Even if you’re selling hemp oil products instead of marijuana itself, this language is still prohibited by Facebook’s advertising guidelines. Try selling it without using inflammatory or attention-grabbing language.

#3 Pay close attention to your images to avoid being banned from Facebook entirely. Facebook has a list of “restricted images.” You can’t use any of these in an ad if you want to avoid running into problems with the social media platform’s moderators, who have the power to remove your posting completely. 

If you do run into this problem, there are remedies to get it fixed, but it requires contacting customer support directly through their website and filling out forms when prompted. Some include:

If your account continues to be disabled after following every remedy possible, unfortunately you’re probably going to have to start over with a new account altogether. This isn’t ideal for that rely on Facebook marketing, but it’s better than getting completely banned from the platform.

The CBD and cannabis ad policy on Facebook is much laxer than Google, but in order to avoid running afoul of their moderators and having your ads taken down entirely, you should keep these guidelines in mind when creating your next campaign. 

If you want all the details, check out Facebook’s full advertising policies here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads.

Although instagram is owned by facebook, it does not mean that they allow CBD products and cannabis advertising on their platform. It is thus advised for businesses to approach them separately and make sure they comply with facebook’s policies as well as their other political and advertising guidelines.

How to advertise CBD products on Twitter:

• The CBD industry has made its mark on twitter, and there are many cannabis-related accounts that link to businesses worldwide. The CBDistillery claims they have found much success using twitter as their marketing platform due to the 500 million tweets every day, and its friendly community for cannabis-related topics.

How to market your CBD business on Reddit:

• There is a large community on reddit where medical cannabis and CBD oil are being openly discussed, and users have been helpful to those looking for legitimate sources of CBD oil. There is also /r/CBD/, which has over 35,000 members that allow sharing of CBD-related stories and content as well as asking questions related to CBD oil.

How brands are marketing CBD on YouTube:

• There are countless hours of video content being uploaded on youtube daily, and businesses have found it useful in getting their brand noticed quickly. Utilizing the right hashtags also ensures that your videos get found easily by cannabis-related keywords. There is also cannabis-specific media channels! For example, there is Pot TV as well as the cannabis-based news source Smell The Truth.

Using Pinterest to promote CBD Brands on Pinterest

• Because of its heavy user base of women, businesses have found it useful to host boards dedicated to CBD and other cannabis products. They can pin their own content and search for content related to CBD and cannabis topics so they can reach their target market.

Programmatic media is the best alternative to advertising on Instagram for Cannabis and CBD. 

What is Programmatic Media? According to The New York Times, programmatic advertising is the process of buying and selling ads through automated systems that allow for more efficient and targeted marketing. There are many benefits to this approach: it allows for a lower cost per impression (CPM), enhanced targeting capabilities, real-time bidding on ad inventory, etc.

Programmatic media ad campaigns can be used by CBD marketers to help boost their bottom line. One such example is using it as an alternative to instagram since instagram prohibits cannabis and CBD product advertisements. Programmatic media provides another outlet where businesses can promote their products without being discriminated against!

The biggest benefit is the lower cost per impression which comes along with better targeting. If you are advertising to a targeted group of people, the cost tends to be much less than if you are running ads in ad networks where you are unlikely to get many conversions.

Are you a CBD, Hemp Product or Cannabis brand looking to advertise on Instagram?

We know that instagram is the perfect place for your brand to reach its audience. It’s where your customers are! But it can be challenging to get started with advertising on Instagram, which has banned all cannabis and CBD ads. That’s why we created Sentient Media – an ad platform that allows us to run programmatic media campaigns for our clients who want to reach their audience on instagram but don’t have the time or resources needed to do so themselves.

When advertising CBD and cannabis products in programmatic media, it is important to remember that you are targeting a specific group of people. This means that your advertising campaign should be tailored to this group, and you should use relevant keywords and hashtags to ensure that your ads are found easily.

The main reason for utilizing programmatic media is it’s a powerful way to enable your cbd brand or cannabis brand to reach your audience. We strongly suggest using this tactic to reach new users and retarget current ones with paid advertisements vs. the headache different social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Google present when trying to use their platforms. Just dealing with facebook’s advertising policies, the risk of having your advertising account banned, and trying to reach a human moderator to appeal to is not for the faint of heart. Because Instagram’s advertising products are part of Facebooks platform, the two are heavily intertwined. 

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