5 min read

Three Ways to Use Rich Media Ads for Cannabis Brands

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To some, the growing marijuana industry is equivalent to a modern-day gold rush. As of November 2022, only 13 out of 50 states remain against the use of marijuana either for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Despite the forward progression for acceptance of marijuana at the state level, the industry remains heavily regulated in how and where an advertisement for cannabis can be displayed. The rules can vary by advertising supply partner, but here is what we’ve seen:

Cannabis advertisements cannot include:

  • People (non-celebrity/athlete)
  • Smoke or consumption
  • Health claims (i.e. pain relief, hangover cure, etc)

This means that brands eager to capitalize on the cannabis boom must tread carefully, but it doesn’t mean that they need to sacrifice creativity in order to do so! 

With a projected 2028 market value of $197.74 billion in revenue, your cannabis business will need to stand out among the competition. Rich media ads provide the perfect opportunity for cannabis companies to highlight their brand and product in a unique, engaging way, while staying compliant with industry regulations.

Below, we discuss three ways rich media can be used for cannabis advertising to move your audience through the funnel.


1. Generate Brand or Product Awareness

If your main KPI is awareness, look to polite rich media formats that render inline with content to capture the attention of your target audience. 

Showcase Your Brand Story with Outstream Video

Stop the scroll and capture attention with cross-device, outstream video. Video is the perfect format to showcase your brand story and introduce yourself to a new audience. A VidTile unit maximizes reach and politely delivers video inline with content across desktop and mobile. Branded overlays add an extra punch to generate brand recall and inspire action.

Rich Media is Proven to Drive Cannabis Brand Preference

Via a proprietary study, PadSquad tested the impact of rich media ad units on brand awareness for cannabis brands. We created high impact rich media ad formats to showcase offerings for a cannabis retail company. The creatives were designed to increase brand awareness and consideration within newly legalized U.S. markets. All of the designed formats exceeded performance benchmarks and drove between 9-29 point lifts over the control for brand preference.


2. Increase Consideration with Engagement

The myriad of interactive capabilities available in rich media formats are a sure-fire way to drive deeper, more meaningful engagements with your audience. From interactive product cards, to product hotspots, and gamification, compliant engagement opportunities are endless.

Feature Inventory with Product Cards

A common roadblock for cannabis advertisers is finding a compliant way to communicate product benefits. With rich media ads, you can combine sight and sound to elicit a feeling rather than make a direct statement. 

For cannabis products that promote a calming effect or relaxation, consider staging your retail packaged product in a cool color scheme nestled within the calming beauty of nature with gentle, soothing music. A single rich media ad placement can feature a variety of Product Cards that can add variety or showcase many products to drive consideration.

Bring the Full Branded Experience to Mobile Devices

By using rich media formats with larger canvases, you can fully immerse consumers into your brand in a responsible way. Squad Stories ad formats leverage the popular social media story behavior, expanding the total available real-estate by offering up multiple content panels to showcase your brand value props. 

Story units allow you to combine interactive rich media functions into one unit for the ultimate engagement. Highlight available inventory via product cards on one panel, showcase an interactive map with store locations on another, and finally, make shopping easier by serving up more info on each cannabis product type. 

More ad real estate equals more engagement with your consumers. Take them on an interactive journey through your rich media ads to move them throughout the funnel to purchase.


3. Drive to Purchase

Finally, tap into lower funnel tactics like shoppability and map functionality to drive brick and mortar visits and product purchases.

Drive Foot Traffic with Tap-to-Map Scrollers

Bring foot traffic to your physical location using a tap-to-map rich media ad placement. Your retail location can become a well-recognized image in the digital world too. With a combination of geolocation services and interactive map functionality, you can use rich media ad placements to showcase your nearest locations to your target audience and invite them to stop by. 

This interactive ad style helps potential customers become familiar with your brick-and-mortar location before they walk in the door. And often, it can help mobile looky-loos become real customers simply by connecting the dots between your digital brand and your physical business.


Final Thoughts on Rich Media Ads for Cannabis Brands

As cannabis steers towards mainstream popularity and acceptance, rules and regulations may continue to change. As it stands now, each state has its own governing rules for advertising marijuana or its derivatives. Still, getting your cannabis brand recognized is not a lost cause. There are several methods to achieve an authoritative presence among the competition, and rich media advertising will help by engaging the audience and encouraging interaction.

Embrace new possibilities with rich media in your digital marketing campaigns while remaining on the right side of applicable legal compliance. Contact us today to learn how we partner with cannabis brands looking to make an impact with remarkable ad creative.

Want to learn how alcohol, pharma and cannabis marketers can work around ad restrictions? Click here to read more from PadSquad CEO Dan Meehan.

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