Here’s a hypothetical scenario to chew on: You’re a dispensary owner/operator and you’re looking to spread the word about your brand. But once you scrape together the precious hours to conceptualize an ad campaign, write and proof headlines and copy, and find appropriate (and legally compliant) images and design the ads, you realize you have no idea where to place them. Which websites even host cannabis ads? Do you have to reach out to them all individually?
All too often, dispensaries try to go it alone when crafting their marketing campaigns, only to find—after all those hours—that they have no idea where to share them. And while some efforts—like social media influencer campaigns—are well within the abilities of most any dispensary, placing the display and PPC campaigns that can reach those untapped millions of cannabis fans requires something else. Welcome to the world of the marijuana advertising network.
The marijuana advertising network isn’t a specific organization, or place, or secret club. It’s a natural evolution of the advertising network, a type of business that connects advertisers (such as dispensaries) with publishers, or websites and apps, that have consented to host legally compliant cannabis ads. And here’s the stark fact: If you want your campaign to reach a large audience, you need to engage with a marijuana advertising network.
We can help. In today’s post, we’ll share some background information on advertising networks, and tell you a little about the cannabis-specific advertising networks we work with here at Foottraffik.
Unlike many marijuana advertising networks, our offerings include graphic design and copywriting services, to ensure our clients’ ads reach the widest and most appropriate audience they possibly can. We’ll share some details about these services, and why they may be a lifesaver for dispensaries eager to reach the next stage of growth and success.
Marijuana Advertising Network: Background of Ad Networks
As we alluded to earlier, an advertising network—or “ad network”—is a business that helps advertisers find publishers to run their ads. Scholars of digital marketing generally name DoubleClick, founded in 1996 by two partners, as one of the first successful advertising networks. Some 12 years later, it would be acquired by Google for a cool $3.1 billion.
Today, there are three main varieties of advertising network, based on how they operate and interface between advertisers and publishers:
- Vertical Network: These advertising networks are set up to represent all the publishers they interface with, with the goal of providing 100% transparency to advertisers regarding exactly where their ads will run. As such, they generally charge full market price in exchange for providing high-quality traffic, targeted within verticals such as “autos” or “leisure travel.”
- Blind Network: These networks keep the identities of publishers hidden, meaning that advertisers have no control over where their ads are shown (though some networks offer a “site opt-out option”). As such, the traffic they provide is generally lower-quality and less targeted, reflected in the price point.
- Targeted Network: Sometimes dubbed “next generation” or “2.0” networks, these businesses make use of cutting-edge AI and machine learning to target ads based on consumer behavior and context. They’ll also perform analysis on consumer clickstreams and social graphs to deliver extremely targeted traffic to advertisers.
So, how does Foottraffic leverage the power of advertising networks for our clients? Let’s count the ways.
Marijuana Advertising Network: How It Delivers Results
In the days when advertising only took place in magazine and newspaper pages—or giant billboards by the side of the road—individual advertisers would enter into agreements with individual publishers, with ads typically charged by “impressions,” or the expected number of viewers who could reasonably be expected to see those ads.
Of course, things are different now. One of the original impulses behind DoubleClick—the aforementioned ancestor of the modern advertising network—was to eliminate the time-consuming and clumsy practice of all those multiple (and largely redundant) contracts. By bundling dozens or hundreds of publishers into a single network, it vastly simplifies the process of getting ads out to consumers. And needless to say, in the digital realm, we can use far more effective and granular ways of tabulating (and charging for) a given ad’s effectiveness. For a refresher, read our recent article on pay-per-click advertising, and why it’s largely the industry standard.
Here at Foottraffik, we work with a highly selective group of marijuana advertising networks to deliver highly targeted and compliant cannabis ads to millions of web users every day. Depending on the client, the campaign, and the goal, we’ll select from among the network types listed above, and increasingly, we’re relying on a still-emerging ad-server model: Programmatic advertising.
We’ve written about programmatic advertising before, and you can bet we’ll continue to share more in the months to come. Simply put, programmatic advertising refers to the use of software to automate and streamline the ad-buying process. And while the mechanics around how it works are complex, the notion is simple: To make the purchasing and serving of advertisements faster, more intuitive, and more effective.
Then there’s the subject of legality. One of the major advantages of partnering with a dedicated marijuana advertising network is that it guarantees that cannabis-related content will only be shown to age-appropriate audiences, and then all the ad assets—the imagery, copy and other design elements—stay on the right side of the law.
Speaking of which, this is a great point to pivot to specific elements of a successful advertising campaign, and why you might want Foottraffik to partner with you to create high-converting, impactful (and compliant) ads to send to our advertising network.
Compliant Graphic Design and Copy Writing for Exceptional Returns
One very major advantage of partnering with a dispensary digital marketing agency like Foottraffik is that we take an active role in envisioning, designing, and implementing your marketing campaigns. From concept to copy, image selection to design, we harness the power of our seasoned team to put your ads right where they belong: In front of the untapped millions of cannabis consumers hungry for your products and services.
Like everything else in life, it all begins with a conversation. What are your specific goals and targets for a given campaign? Are you trying to drive signups to your loyalty program or email marketing database? Do you have a seasonal offer targeting cannabis tourists or other highly specific demographics? No matter the goal, we work in close collaboration with you to make sure our efforts are hitting all the marks, and ensuring your marketing efforts meet or exceed expectations.
Then there’s the topic of copy. We write a lot about, well…writing here at Foottraffik. While it may seem easier to write fewer words than more of them, the opposite is more often true. There’s a special art to creating a compelling appeal in a limited space. And at the risk of patting ourselves on the back, we’re pretty darn good at it. That’s one reason our clients include everyone from plucky startups to historic dispensary trailblazers to industry-leading multi-state operators.
What about images and design? Especially in the heavily regulated cannabis sector—where product and consumption shots are typically barred—how ads look and feel is as important as what they say. That’s why we employ a crack team of graphic designers, photographers and image manipulators to ensure that every aspect of our clients’ ads sends the right message. Believe us: Good design is about a whole lot more than looking good; it’s a good feeling you can take all the way to the bank.
One last thought we want to leave you with before we close out. Every collaboration we enter into is just that: A collaboration. When we partner with a client, we consider our resources—whether they be access to our marijuana advertising network or our in-house copywriters, designers, and more—to be an extension of their team. Because their advertisements are an extension of their brand, our clients always have the final say over any marketing materials we help them produce.
Are you ready to take your dispensary to the next level? Reach out any time to schedule a conversation and learn how we can help you succeed.