Authored by Jenny Brodowsky, VP of Media Sales, Fyllo
Cannabis marketers continuously find themselves facing dual challenges: adhering to advertising restrictions in a highly regulated market while navigating evolving consumer privacy compliance rules. And they must build their audience with engaging marketing at the same time - an impressive feat if they can pull it off.
However, more than 80% of cannabis industry leaders reported difficulty getting the right message to the right audience, found the 2022 Cannabis Digital Marketing Survey. Furthermore, 40% of respondents cited regulatory limitations as one of their top three digital marketing challenges.
Modern consumers prioritize their online privacy above all else, forcing advertisers to rethink their traditional, tracking-based approaches. Innovative, privacy-compliant solutions like contextual targeting present cannabis retailers with the opportunity to grow and thrive in a competitive and highly regulated market.
Contextual targeting is not new. In fact, it’s one of the earliest methods for reaching consumers on the web, but it’s seeing a revival with the rise of privacy restrictions. What’s even more important though, is that contextual targeting has been revolutionized. Thanks to powerful technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing, it’s more than just simple keyword analysis. The ability to identify context, meaning and sentiment allows marketers to find new, relevant audiences and engage with consumers in meaningful ways at exactly the right moment.
Today’s contextual targeting is more powerful than ever before and cannabis marketers looking for a competitive edge should take notice.
Performance beyond compliance
Cannabis marketing is subject to strict regulations and restrictions in many jurisdictions, but these laws are rapidly evolving and vary widely in scope. Increasing data privacy concerns have led to a proliferation of privacy regulations such as GDPR in Europe and CCPA in the United States, in addition to browser-specific limitations.
Contextual targeting minimizes the risk of fines and lawsuits by displaying cannabis content only on websites that are age-restricted and compliant with local laws. By avoiding exposing ads to inappropriate audiences, cannabis brands and dispensaries can maintain a positive brand image and prevent potential backlash.
Contextual targeting also allows cannabis marketers to align their brand with specific topics and values that resonate with their target audience, such as wellness, sustainability or certain lifestyle choices. As a result, brands can strengthen their identity and their connection with consumers.
Furthermore, because contextual targeting doesn’t involve tracking users it’s more resistant to ad blockers, even in browsers with restrictions on cookies and data collection. Ads remain visible, maximizing campaign effectiveness while maintaining privacy compliance.
Increased relevance and reach
Today’s cannabis consumers don’t fit any one definition, but contextual targeting enables marketers to still find their audience by accurately analyzing page content to place ads in contextually relevant environments. This contributes to a more seamless and less intrusive advertising experience for users, helping to build positive brand associations and leading to increased engagement.
And new innovations mean you can take contextual targeting one step further. A seed audience can be extended into context to target lookalike audiences and predict where other consumers like them will appear online based on semantic similarities. Marketers can use contextually targeted ads to align their brand with themes, topics or values that resonate with viewers who might be open to cannabis but aren’t consumers – yet.
For example, a fitness buff reading an article about recovery might see an ad for CBD-infused muscle oil. Or a beauty influencer could find herself looking at hemp serums while searching for skin regimens. Even an ad for a THC-infused beverage could appear on a party or event planning website as an alcohol-free beverage alternative.
With contextual targeting, cannabis marketers can expand their reach to new and relevant audiences, connecting with potential customers in fresh and innovative contexts.
Scalable, future-proof cannabis advertising
Contextual targeting is independent from user-specific data, making it a scalable and sustainable solution for the cannabis industry. Marketers can reach broader audiences without extensive data collection and management, ensuring long-term growth potential.
Although the industry is growing, most cannabis marketers have to maximize audience engagement with limited resources. Contextual targeting enables cannabis marketers to allocate their advertising budget efficiently. By focusing on specific contexts or channels, advertisers are more likely to reach their desired audience, optimizing their expenditures and maximizing their ROI.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, contextual targeting will be a powerful and sustainable solution for reaching new audiences without compromising on privacy, performance or user experience. Embracing this innovative approach to marketing will enable cannabis businesses to adapt to the shifting legislative landscape and flourish in a privacy-centric world, paving the way for a bright and successful future.
Founded to solve the critical problem of compliance at scale, Fyllo empowered ambitious cannabis and CBD brands to drive performance without compliance worries and in the process, transformed marketing technology for highly regulated industries.
Now, Fyllo’s mission is simple yet powerful: power outperformance in a privacy-first world. Having revolutionized marketing for the highly-regulated cannabis industry, Fyllo acquired Semasio to provide cutting-edge contextual targeting solutions for brands looking to make an impact in a privacy-first era. Today, we empower marketers, from emerging brands to Fortune 500 companies, to blend personalization and privacy, reach and relevance, safety and scale, and more — all without compromise. And it's in this balance that we find a winning formula for marketers across all industries.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you crush your next campaign.