(Photo Credit - Shannon Kringen)
As the legal marijuana industry grows, the need for advertising grows right along side it. Unfortunately for cannabis industry participants, there are some major hurdles when it comes to advertising. Whether your business sells paraphernalia or CBD-rich hemp oil, it's paramount to reach interested consumers. Even if your business offers B2B services in the cannabis space such as consulting, it can be challenging to reach the right eyes.
If you sell cannabis related products or services, your options of where to advertise are few and far between. Many of the larger players in the advertising world have refused to touch the industry due to marijuana's federal illegality, thus leaving opportunities to be filled by smaller and more focused advertising networks.
In 2016, it was estimated that the cannabis industry was worth $7.2 billion. Medical marijuana sales alone are estimated to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. It's no secret that the legal marijuana industry is growing at an astounding rate, but few people realize how many millions of dollars worth of advertising budgets are up for grabs. Newer cannabis-specific ad networks are emerging, and are already capturing the market.
What was once fringe in terms of advertising is slowly becoming main stream, and nothing has made that more apparent than the recent rankings from Quantcast showing that the cannabis-specific digital advertising network, Mantis, is officially ranked 98th out of the top 100 largest digital ad networks in the United States.
How has Mantis risen to the top 100 digital ad networks? The tech giants aren't even touching this multi-billion dollar industry. These big players in the digital advertising space include tech giants like Alphabet Inc., a.k.a. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation's Bing (NASDAQ:MSFT), and AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL). Facebook even bans us from advertising!
This phenomenon in the digital advertising world does not seem to exist in the non-digital ad world. Non-digital forms of advertising such as billboards have become "the cannabis industry's ad darling," according to Leafly. Back in June, a McDonald's franchisee near the Colorado / New Mexico border even rented a billboard from Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR) to advertise breakfast burritos saying "Usually when you roll something this good, it’s illegal!"
Clearly the advertising scraps that the digital ad giants leave behind are worth big bucks to the companies willing to take advantage of the opportunity. We wouldn't be surprised if other non-digital advertising companies like Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (NYSE:CCO), Outfront Media (NYSE:OUT), and AirMedia Group (NASDAQ:AMCN) were taking notice.
While digital ad networks may have sworn off the cannabis industry for now, despite its rapid growth an potential for revenue, they can't ignore it for long. Their lack of interest in the space has allowed Mantis to really carve itself a place in the circle.
When and if federal legalization, decriminalization, or de-scheduling passes, cannabis will become even more mainstream. At that point, there is no question that even more ad networks will pop up to help service the brands in the space. Eventually, it's likely that the bigger players will allow the advertising of cannabis-related products, although in all likelihood, it will be regulated in similar ways as tobacco and alcohol are advertised.
For now though, competition in the space is low, and it seems as if Mantis has done a good job positioning itself as a leader in the industry. Be sure to subscribe to one or more of our free e-mail newsletters so you never miss an important cannabis update. Also, don't forget to connect with The Daily Marijuana Observer on social media via Facebook, Twitter, StockTwits, and Instagram.