No matter how you slice it, 2020 was a crazy year. But from the standpoint of the cannabis industry, it was also a year of phenomenal growth. One data point we want to focus on is the growing importance of online sales. Our data shows that those dispensaries with an online ordering component saw an astonishing 22% leap in sales, compared with those who only serve walk-in traffic.
Pandemic or not, the message is clear: You need to have a robust online ordering component to your dispensary. And beyond that, you need to be driving new customers to your offerings by harnessing the power of digital advertising.
In today’s post, we’ll run down a few of the most effective digital marketing tools we lean on at Foottraffik to deliver phenomenal results to our clients. These include:
- Display Ads
- Google PPC Ads
- Video Ads
- CTV Ads
Ready? Strap yourself in for a warp speed tour of the world of dispensary digital advertising!
How to Drive Online Orders with Dispensary Digital Advertising: Display Ads
Google isn’t the only name in town when it comes to search engines, but with a whopping 92% of the market share, it might as well be. And among Google’s digital ad platform offerings, one of the principal ones is the Display Network. That’s where advertisers program “display” or “banner” ads, one of the key pillars of the dispensary digital advertising universe.
Display ads are the graphic advertisements that appear on specific websites or apps (“publishers”) that have licensed their digital real estate for this use. Because they allow marketers to target specific customer segments based on demographics, location, and many other criteria, they’re among the most cost-effective tools on the market.
How do they drive online sales? Because a high proportion of cannabis sales are made by consumers on the go, serving a compelling display ad at just the right moment can spur an “Aha!” moment and inspire a sale. What’s more, these display ads are infinitely targetable in terms of which geographic locations they show in. For example, some of the places you might want your ads to show include:
- Your Dispensary: A radius around your dispensary or delivery area, targeting consumers when they’re most likely to buy.
- Your Competitor’s Dispensary: The same tactic—only reversed—can increase your market share by targeting consumers near competing dispensaries.
- Near Popular Landmarks: You can use precise and sophisticated targeting tools to determine where your customer base is likely to congregate, then offer them deals they can’t turn down.
How to Drive Online Orders with Dispensary Digital Advertising: Google PPC Ads
You already know what PPC ads are, even if you don’t think you do. Whenever you perform a web search, a number of the results show higher on the page because their owners paid the search engine to display them there. Alternatively, they may show in a separate sidebar or carousel, or have a tiny (and easy-to-miss) “Ad” icon next to them.
Like display ads, PPC ads—that’s short for “pay per click”—are a central pillar of digital marketing. And unlike traditional ads, which are billed based on the number of expected impressions, you only pay for PPC ads when an actual consumer clicks on them. That’s a huge deal, and a properly planned and executed PPC campaign can lead to some truly impressive clickthrough rates and return on ad spend (ROAS). What’s more, they can directly drive online orders by directing those clicks to custom landing or menu pages loaded with can’t-miss offers and enticements.
How much does each click cost you? Because advertisers bid on the keywords to determine the top spot on search engine return pages (SERPs), there’s no simple answer for that. And some of them—like “best cannabis in ____”—will naturally cost you more than more obscure ones will.
That’s why we constantly analyze keyword trends here at Foottraffik, aiming for a mix designed to deliver industry-leading returns for our customers. We should know: We launched our Google Ads service in 2016; since then we’ve upped our game by adding cutting-edge tools like AI / machine learning for customers who can meet the $1000 minimum monthly ad spend.
How to Drive Online Orders: Video Ads
Not too long ago, the idea of producing a video ad seemed out of reach for the average dispensary. Today—especially after a year-and-a-half of reduced in-person transactions—they’re quickly becoming a must when it comes to sharing your brand’s message and identity.
Video is flashy and cutting-edge, but in a sense they’re no different from the display ads we described earlier. Appearing on Google—as well as dedicated video search engines such as YouTube, Bing, and Dailymotion—these ads are fast becoming the norm. And the public has spoken: Some 54% of surveyed consumers report they would like to see more video content from brands.
In the next few years, as ultrafast 5G technology gains traction, many analysts believe video will become the dominant style of digital ad. Get a head start by reading our recent article on advertising cannabis on YouTube.
How to Drive Online Orders: CTV Ads
If the notion of video dispensary ads bakes your noodle, wait for this one: Cannabis ads on connected television. “CTV”—short for “connected television”—is set to jump in popularity in the next few years, with some analysts predicting that by 2022, some 58.2% of the US population will be streaming video via OTT and/or Smart TV devices with a built-in internet connection.
In 2020, research analysts Conviva reported that television streaming in the US was up 26%, and one of the biggest drivers was the growth of what’s known as “Over The Top” (OTT) service, meaning TV-style content that is distributed over the internet as opposed to by traditional television channels.
Just as video ads are set to fuel the next generation of cannabis ads, CTV is the perfect platform for them. We believe that this still emerging arena is going to be a major factor driving online cannabis sales in the coming years.
Want to get started with one of these advertising methods? Contact us to learn how we can help you on your path to selling more!