Chart: Most effective forms of advertising for cannabis businesses

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Many marijuana business owners identified word of mouth and social media as the most effective methods of marketing/advertising for their companies, according to data gathered for the Marijuana Business Factbook 2017.

Small marketing budgets, restrictions on certain forms of advertising and resistance from mainstream media platforms to accept cannabis-related ads mean marijuana businesses must find efficient, alternative ways to promote their companies.

And many companies have found success by letting their customers speak for them, both in-person and online.

Here’s some additional context:

  • Although social media is proving to be an effective form of marketing/advertising, marijuana companies are still struggling to figure out what kinds of ads are acceptable on major platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. It’s not uncommon for a cannabis company’s social media page to be taken down, often with no explanation.
  • Given their lack of advertising options, many marijuana businesses have developed an internet presence, whether it be through a website or an app. Google does not allow marijuana-related advertisements on its network, though some companies have managed to avoid detection and run ads anyways. Approximately 20% of ancillary and plant-touching businesses identify the internet as their most effective method of marketing/advertising.
  • Within the “other” category, newspaper/magazine advertising was the most frequently cited form for ancillary and plant-touching companies to effectively spread their message. Declining ad revenue in traditional print media has led some publishers to embrace the marijuana industry, and niche publications targeting marijuana businesses or consumers have become more prevalent in the industry.
  • Just over 10% of plant-touching businesses don’t do any marketing, which is significantly higher than the 2.5% of ancillary businesses that don’t market their product or services. Plant-touching businesses that are not consumer facing – such as a cultivator that sells marijuana only to infused product manufacturers – may not see a need to invest in marketing/advertising efforts.

Eli McVey can be reached at