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In the following post, we’ll examine which cannabis and CBD industry brands are running display ads in 2021 as we discuss the statistics we uncovered.

Additionally, we’ll see how brands are positioning themselves in the world of hemp digital marketing, what visual and textual elements are most prevalent, what offers are being made to entice buyers, and what calls-to-action are most commonly used to drive clicks and conversions.

CBD & Hemp Digital Advertising: Who Is Running Ads?

In this report, we reviewed 100 display ads, 60% of them were from CBD or hemp brands. Among these were producers of CBD oils, topicals, capsules, tinctures, edibles, inhalers, hemp flower, and pet products.
Almost a quarter of the ads in this category featured multiple hemp products in their ads, while the other three-quarters focused on one primary product

CBD & Hemp Ads

Ancillary brands made up 26% of the display ads we examined for this study. The category included hemp digital marketing, and business services, vaporizers, dab rigs, glass, rolling papers, and an eBook. The categories include:

  • Accessories for cannabis consumption (such as vapes, dabbing equipment, smoking paraphernalia, and online headshops): 62% of ancillary ads
  • A third of ancillary ads relate to industry services (including B2B and B2C services, jobs, and investment opportunities)
  • Information (including events and eBooks): 8% of ancillary ads.

What Are Hemp Display Ads Focusing On?

If we are onboarding a new client for a display advertising campaign, we recommend they test two types of ads:

One that focuses on a specific product or category from their offering, and another that focuses more generally on their brand. While this recommendation may vary depending on the specific objectives of the campaign, in some cases hemp digital marketing is what draws an audience, while in others the audience is looking for products with specific benefits.

Taking a step back and considering the overall focus of the display ads in our study, rather than just the specific products they advertised, was informative for our analysis. Of our 100 ads, 60% were product-focused, 31% were brand-focused, and 9% were focused on something else. Specifically, the ads focused on:

  • A single product: 35%
  • A general brand: 31%
  • Multiple products: 25%
  • Service offerings: 6%
  • Events or information: 3%

Hemp Display Ads

Unique Value Propositions Used in CBD & Hemp Marketing

Then we reviewed top selling points highlighted in brands’ display ads. While the following categories are not mutually exclusive, several brands used multiple selling points in their ads, using call-outs or badges to emphasize additional benefits.
Eight of the top selling points were cited by at least three brands, including:

  • “Free”: 7% of ads
  • “Natural”: 7% of ads
  • “Full-spectrum”: 6% of ads

CBD & Hemp UVPs

Static Vs. GIF Display Ads: Which Are Most Popular?

In this report, we reviewed the use of .gif formats in ad creative. These formats feature an element of movement like a short video loop, which helps draw the viewer’s attention to the ad and fit more information into the allowed banner dimensions.

We found that 8% of the ads we reviewed were in .gif format. Use of .gif imagery included panning to fit a large bong into a horizontal banner ad.

Choosing A Promotion For CBD Marketing Campaigns

Marketers often review the discounts offered by cannabis, CBD, and ancillary brands and found that 31% of advertisers offered a discount, while 69% did not.

Those who offered a percentage-based discount (as 30 of the 31 advertisers did, with one exception offering a fixed price-based discount) followed a modified bell curve distribution, peaking at 15% and falling to zero at 70%.

Most Common Calls-To-Action In Cannabis Advertising

Our display ad set was reviewed with a call-to-action, or CTA, included as part of the creative. Best practices for hemp digital marketing and advertising (and our own internal data) suggest that a clearly visible CTA button can increase click-through and conversion rates: Unfortunately, 20% of the advertising creative we reviewed included no CTA.

CBD Ad Campaign Promotions

One third of brands used a “Shop Now” button; another third used some other form of “Shop” button (e.g. “Shop CBD Tinctures”), meaning that 65% of all CTAs encouraged users to make a purchase. Additional “Learn” CTAs made up 8% of the buttons, while “Buy” and “Order” CTAs made up 5% each.

Some other action words-such as “register,” “take,” “find,” “get,” “grow,” “join,” and “try”-made up the remaining 17% of CTAs, and one button had only an arrow icon with no copy.


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