Having launched not so long ago, we thought we would invest a small amount of money in promoting our Facebook page in order to grow our audience. I was not very optimistic as I had read multiple times that paid advertising is a living nightmare for any cannabis related content pretty much on all social media channels.
I have acquired some modest experience using paid ads on Facebook as it is a great tool to test business ideas by generating traffic to redirect to a landing page. During these tests, I don’t think I have been able to launch single ad that got approved immediately, so, this time, I wanted to see what the influencing factors that allow an ad to go through really are, and if I could get an ad up and running without any revision.
What I thought
It can’t be done. My pessimism however changed quite quickly when I read this article from Allison Edrington (@AllyEdrington), editor of The Gangjier, who managed to get her Facebook ads up and running after an annoying email exchange with the ever so frustrating Facebook customer service. You can read about her experience here.
When selecting groups of interest to target your audience, I selected mostly cannabis related groups (eg. High Times Magazine, 420 group, etc.). I thought this would for sure raise some kind of flag but it didn’t. I’m not sure if Facebook doesn’t keep into account what content you are targeting or if some other factor was involved.
What I learned
It can be done. In theory, if you are part of a group advocating for the legalisation of cannabis, and not promoting a medium to grow or consume the product, you should be in the clear, event though Facebook staff tend to ban your ads by default.
What I did
As far as I know, most of the initial filtering process is done automatically, and a human will only give the final approval.
My plan was to try and get through all the auto-screening in order not to raise any flags so the human making the decision would just give a quick look and approve it. I tried this with a couple of adverts and they all worked on the first go, so I must be on to something.
So here are the points you should focus on. They are very basic, but they allowed me to get my ads accepted without any review.
1. Avoid any cannabis related words. My initial sentence was supposed to be “news from cannabis startups worldwide”, but I changed it to “industry specific news worldwide”. If you see our logo, there is pretty much no risk of not understanding our topic, so no loss there.
2. Stick to the 20% text rule. You really want to check if your picture has more than 20% of the area populated with text because it will be automatically rejected. Facebook makes this easy by providing a Grid Tool that tells you if the picture is ok or not. If you are not sure, be conservative and be safe with your text.
3. Remove your ad-block for the time being or you won’t be able to get a preview of your image. You can switch it back on as soon as you see what the ad will look like.
4. Get all your parameters right the first time as every time you change something, the campaign is paused and has to be reviewed again. Honestly I don’t think that these changes are really monitored, but you never know.
I am not sure if I have been extremely lucky, if Facebook has started to pay more attention to what is indeed legal content and promotion or if I am on so something. Nevertheless, if you are a cannabis entrepreneur and you are struggling to get your ads accepted, you might want to try these few simple tips.
Got any experience yourself in advertising cannabis related pages? Let us know how it went and what tricks you used in our comment section below.