Paid advertising on Google can be complicated, and further problems when trying to sell a product that the federal government deems illegal for consumer use. A clash between cannabis companies and Google is an ongoing struggle that will continue into the foreseeable future.

Currently, 11 states have approved cannabis for recreational use [Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington], and while you might think that advertising cannabis products and services within one of these states would be okay, you’d be wrong. Despite state laws allowing the legal sale of cannabis, Google adheres to federal policy and will block geo-targeted ads within these selected states.

So is Google not going to allow PPC advertising for your business?

They will with these workarounds.

Cannabis PPC Advertising and Word Choice

As mentioned, Google’s advertising policy follows federal regulations, and therefore, the internet giant prohibits the “promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury.”

(Google doesn’t allow for paid promotion of recreational drugs.)

Google receives millions of PPC ad requests every year. Due to the massive number of ads that need to be reviewed for policy violations, Google AI is responsible for being the gatekeeper between approved and disapproved advertisements.

The algorithm is tasked with scanning for a list of keywords that would break policy standards. So one way to run Google PPC ads for your cannabis company is creative copywriting. Crafting ad copy that beats around the bush will decrease the chance your ad gets flagged.

For example, a cannabis agricultural company might run a PPC ad with the following text: “Increase your organic plant growth with an all-in-one lighting and cooling system. Contact us to learn how to improve your cultivation process.”

Example words to avoid:

  • Cannabis
  • Marijuana
  • Weed
  • Drugs
  • CBD
  • Bongs, Pipes, Vaporizers

An important side note when addressing word use with Google AdWords, your ads are not going to be approved if your company name or URL has a flagged word/phrase in it. Therefore, a company name like “American Marijuana Solutions” is extremely unlikely to be able to run PPC advertisements.

Alternative PPC Options to Google AdWords

If AdWords doesn’t seem like the right or most successful medium for your company, other dedicated platforms exist for cannabis-specific PPC advertising.

Sites like MANTIS and Traffic Roots are just two options that help businesses connect with fellow businesses and consumers. By being able to bid for ads on reputable websites, cannabis products and services are allowed to be displayed in full detail.

(Platforms like MANTIS allow advertisers to manage campaigns similar to Google AdWords.)

These platforms work as a middleman between advertisers and publishers looking for greater monetization opportunities for their site(s). MANTIS and Traffic Roots offer a variety of advertising options like display, native, and video, in addition to allowing advertisers to manage their campaigns in a similar fashion to Google AdWords.

Need Help Advertising Your CBD Products Online?

Elevato Marketing is a full-service digital agency specializing in cannabis advertising. With a team of experienced professionals, we are ready to help connect your products with the right clients. Contact us to see how together we can benefit your business!