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Compliant Advertising 101:  Geographic & Demographic Targeting


Due to the state-by-state nature of marijuana legalization in the United States, it may seem impossible for cannabis brands to engage in digital advertising without violating federal or state law. Even though cannabis advertising is legal in some states, the laws vary greatly, resulting in a confusing environment for cannabis brands seeking to advertise their products online. 

Because each state sets its own marijuana marketing laws, cannabis brands must carefully target their content to avoid missteps. A single digital advertising error could have negative ramifications for the entire industry. And giants like Google and Facebook have already barred cannabis advertising, making social media advertising inaccessible for cannabis brands.

Nevertheless, cannabis brands and consumers interested in marijuana and CBD merchandise deserve to find one another online through landing pages, websites, and apps. And Vana has the sophisticated ad-tech software to foster that connection. Our unique geographic and demographic targeting technology is the key to bridging the gap between the cannabis industry and digital advertising. 

What is Geographic and Demographic Targeting?

For those who are not completely sure what geographic and demographic targeting is, we have defined those terms below:

1) Geographic Targeting:

Delivering different content or advertisements based on that user's geographic location. This is done on the city or zip code level via IP address or device ID, or on a more granular level through GPS signals or geo-fencing.

2) Demographic Targeting:

Delivering different content or advertisements based on user's age, gender, income, and more. This is done on the city or zip code level via IP address or device ID, or on a more granular level through GPS signals or geo-fencing.


Enter Dynamic Compliance For Digital Advertising

Obviously, cannabis brands cannot serve ads to anyone under age 21 or advertise in states where cannabis use is still illegal or highly restricted. This poses a challenge for cannabis brands advertising online since internet content is accessible to people of all ages located all over the country. 

The ability to target ads by geography and age is essential to compliant digital advertising for cannabis brands. Luckily, Vana's highly sophisticated ad serving software does just that through what we call "Dynamic Compliance." This means that all our advertisements will only be seen by consumers who are of age and in states where online cannabis advertising is allowed.  Furthermore, all creative served will have your business license for that particular state dynamically populate.

Some of the largest digital publishers in the country, including BuzzFeed and Hearst, trust Vana to protect their interests with fastidious attention to detail. They understand that our system makes sure that statements made by brands and companies include correct state-specific language.

And the cannabis brands we serve? They can depend on clean, compliant geographic and demographic targeting to glean consumer information and help them tap into an energetic market — one that’s poised to move past the $30 billion mark in just a few years.

Geographic and Demographic Targeting Revolutionizes Cannabis Advertising 

In addition to securing compliance with state laws, geographic and demographic targeting can vastly improve the effectiveness of your cannabis brand's digital advertising campaigns. The data pulled from geographic and demographic targeted marketing campaigns can illuminate strategies and tactics to get the most out of your advertising dollars. Consider the following:

Primary Customer Base 

Geo-targeting indicates where the most appropriate audience sits by tracking engagement and awareness rates. Cannabis brands may discover their products sell best within a specific concentrated region, allowing them to further target advertising to improve lead generation and sales. At the same time, brands may notice a lack of interaction in certain regional pockets. Leveraging this information, they can pull money from underperforming areas to put into thriving alternatives.

Similarly, demographic targeting can indicate the types of customers that are most frequently purchasing your brand's products. This allows your brand to focus on targeting customers in the same age range or with similar interests as your top-spending customers. 

Emerging Customer Base 

Over time, cannabis brands focused on online advertising will likely notice an uptick in click-through rates in unexpected hotspots. By studying incoming data from legal, robust geo-targeted advertisements, Vana can help brands understand the difference between a blip on the radar and a wealth of prospective customers. 

The same goes for demographic targeting. Understanding who your most frequent customers are allows your brand to target its marketing campaigns to that specific audience, whoever that may be. It also provides insight into what types of advertisements work with certain audiences, allowing your brand to shift its messaging to attract different types of customers. 

Message Resonation

When it comes to delivering the right message to prospective buyers, content is king. Sleek, upscale banners may work for people already familiar with a brand, but curious buyers new to cannabis products might require digital advertising with a different tone, imagery, and verbiage. Geographic and demographic targeted marketing offers real-time feedback, allowing Vana and our clients to rapidly switch content to grab attention — and fuel transactions.

For example, after partnering with Vana, CANN, a cannabis-infused social tonic, saw its monthly campaign visibility increased tenfold. Now, CANN confidently enjoys tremendous reach (not to mention incoming data) while remaining in full compliance with the law. 

Vana Ensures Compliant and Effective Advertising 

While it may seem that cannabis brands have their hands tied in terms of compliant advertising, Vana has successfully removed the barriers to reaching broad audiences while remaining legally compliant, creating golden opportunity for the legal cannabis industry. 

When cannabis brands conscientiously employ geographic and demographic targeting, they build a foundation of quality over quantity. Instead of working off assumptions, they can base each advertising move off of hard facts. This enables marijuana and CBD businesses to maximize their advertising dollars, ultimately generating consistent messaging that consumers find irresistible.

To learn more about how Vana can help your brand elevate its digital advertising with geographic and demographic targeting, click here.

The Vana Team

By: The Vana Team

Vana is the leading compliant marketing platform for cannabis and CBD. We reach over 200 million unique consumers per month and offer compliant advertising and marketing solutions for brands and retailers across the cannabis and CBD industry.