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Endemic Cannabis Marketing: How to Leverage Programmatic Advertising in 2024

The cannabis industry continues to grow rapidly, with the U.S. market expected to reach $40 billion by 2030. As competition intensifies, cannabis and CBD brands are turning to innovative digital advertising strategies to reach target audiences and drive sales. One of the most effective approaches is programmatic advertising.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising automates the process of buying and placing digital ads using data and algorithms. Rather than manually purchasing ad placements on individual websites, programmatic platforms allow cannabis advertisers to efficiently target ads to relevant audiences across a wide network of publishers.

Key benefits of programmatic for cannabis and CBD brands include:

  • Reach - Access mainstream and niche audiences across display, mobile, audio, video and connected TV

  • Targeting - Leverage audience data to precisely target based on demographics, interests, behaviors and location

  • Efficiency - Streamline ad buying and optimize performance in real-time

  • Compliance - Ensure age-gated ads meet state and local regulations

Programmatic Advertising Channels and Formats

Cannabis marketers can take advantage of a variety of programmatic channels to engage consumers:

Display Advertising for Cannabis Brands

Contextual and behavioral targeting allows brands to serve display ads to cannabis consumers on mainstream sites like USA Today, Newsweek and ESPN. Platforms like Mantis and Traffic Roots specialize in compliant cannabis and CBD display advertising.

Mobile Advertising

Reach on-the-go cannabis consumers with hyper-local targeting and geofencing around dispensaries. Mobile app data can also identify audiences based on cannabis-related apps they have downloaded.

Connected TV (CTV) Advertising

CTV ads allow brands to reach cord-cutters as they stream content on ad-supported services. Cannabis advertisers can run video ads and interactive brand experiences targeted by age and geography.

Digital Audio Advertising for Cannabis Products

Engage listeners with audio ads dynamically inserted into ad-supported streaming music and podcasts. Platforms like Spotify prohibit explicit cannabis creative but allow brands to target relevant audiences.

Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH)

Programmatically target digital billboards and screens in retail, transit, entertainment and point-of-care venues. DOOH networks like Vistar Media allow dispensaries to advertise in high-traffic locations.

Cannabis Programmatic Advertising Platforms and Tools

A number of mainstream and cannabis-specific ad tech platforms enable compliant programmatic campaigns:

  • Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs): TheTradeDesk, Basis by Centro, MediaMath, StackAdapt

  • Cannabis Ad Networks: Mantis, Traffic Roots, Safe-Reach, Cannabx by MNI

  • Data Providers: Fyllo, Surfside, Happy Cabbage

  • Geospatial Analytics: Foursquare, PlaceIQ

  • CRM and Loyalty: SpringBig, Alpine IQ

  • Ecommerce and POS: Dutchie, Blaze, Flowhub

By combining first-party customer data with third-party audience segments and location intelligence, cannabis brands can precisely target high-value consumers across their digital journeys.

Best Practices for Compliant Cannabis Advertising

When developing programmatic campaigns, cannabis and CBD marketers must carefully navigate a complex web of state-by-state regulations. Key compliance considerations include:

  • Age-gating: Ensure ads are only shown to adults 21+

  • Geo-targeting: Restrict ads to states and localities where cannabis is legal

  • Content restrictions: Avoid health claims, appeals to minors, depictions of consumption, pricing and promotions.

  • Publisher vetting: Work with ad platforms and publishers that understand cannabis compliance.

Forward-thinking brands are also getting ahead of the curve on data privacy, preparing for the deprecation of third-party cookies and aligning with regulations like CCPA and GDPR.

The Future of Cannabis Advertising is Programmatic

As legalization accelerates and stigma recedes, cannabis is becoming an increasingly mainstream CPG category. But that doesn't mean digital advertising for cannabis products is getting any easier. Fragmented state laws, publisher policies and platform restrictions will continue to pose challenges.

Programmatic advertising offers a scalable, data-driven solution for cannabis and CBD brands to cut through the noise and connect with consumers. By leveraging emerging ad formats and platforms purpose-built for the cannabis industry, savvy marketers can engage high-value audiences while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Is your brand ready to grow with programmatic? Let's talk!


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