Cannabis CBD

New Ad Targeting Group: Cannabis Consumers

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More than ever, marketers need differentiated sources of data in order to keep their audience insights fresh. They’re doing business in a world where attention is scarce, where meaningful response is both expensive and unpredictable, and where many consumers have become disinterested with, and even adversarial to, advertising.

Brands in every consumer category can transcend these trends and breathe new life into campaign strategies by engaging a new growth audience: cannabis consumers (inclusive of both CBD and THC). 

According to a new commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting among marketing leaders in the US, most brands (>75%) are already interested in cannabis consumer data to better understand and reach new and existing customers. 

They recognize that sustainable, long-term growth requires keeping pace with their customers’ interests, like cannabis, as they evolve over time. They also see the value of this massive audience that possesses ideal attributes for campaign activation up and down the funnel. 

An untapped opportunity for marketers

There are now 61 million people in the US regularly consuming cannabis, or about one in four adults, according to MRI-Simmons’ new 2020 study. Their research revealed not only the scale of the consumer base, but also a very distinct mindset and high-value attributes for marketing.

For people with preconceived notions about cannabis, the findings might seem surprising – they’re a diverse population with big, busy lives; they’re active, athletic, social, and hard-working. One in four have a household income over $100K, one in three are managers, a third have graduate degrees, and one in five watch Fox News. 

For mainstream marketers returning over and over again to the same target audience segments (and their diminishing returns), cannabis consumers represent a fresh, new growth opportunity. As an audience, cannabis consumers represent a vast, yet previously untapped audience with very appealing behaviors and shopping habits. Here are some of those characteristics.

Spenders, not savers

Cannabis consumers are 23% more likely than the average US adult to say that they’re spenders rather than savers and tend to make more impulse purchases. But they’re more than splurgers; they’re the kind of shopper that’s willing to pay more for quality products. Almost 40% say that a brand name is the best indication of quality, and they’ll only buy brand-name foods.  

Dedicated discoverers

In a marketplace where apathy and inertia create an unrelenting downforce for marketers, cannabis consumers are actively on the lookout for new products, tastes, and experiences. They’re early adopters on a large scale — 25% more likely to say that they’re the first to try new products and services. They’re also 28% more likely to say they are the people that others turn to for advice and new ideas.

Vocal And visible

We already knew they were influencers (we’ve all heard from Jay Z Gwyneth Paltrow, Ron Gronkowski, and Martha Stewart), but they’re also the micro-influencers that move today’s markets. They’re more likely to say that they’re leaders in their social circle, love being the center of attention, and keep their social feeds continuously updated.

Putting the data to work

In search of new growth, one large domestic beer brand worked with Fyllo to increase awareness of a new ready-to-drink format and drive engagement in key markets. 

To prove the value of CBD audiences, a campaign was designed to compare the performance produced by first-party lookalike audiences modeled off of visitors to the brand’s website and new audiences built from Fyllo CBD-infused audience segments (traditional demographic, lifestyle, interest and brand audiences enriched with CBD and THC purchase data). Both audiences were served identical rich media creative units that clicked through to the brand’s product pages where in-unit map features enabled them to search for retailers and bars that carried the new product near them. 

The results were clear: CBD-infused audiences outperformed lookalike audiences by 40%. The campaign also surpassed Q3 industry benchmark by fivefold on the overall engagement rate for similar ad units, reinforcing data that shows cannabis consumers are more responsive to advertising and more receptive to trial compared with conventional audiences. 

A New Source of Growth 

In a marketplace where brands face an uphill battle to create and sustain connections, today’s cannabis consumers actively seek out brands and welcome them into their lives. They’re an opportunity to reach a newly-addressable audience – with both the scale and mindset to be a new pathway to growth in 2021 and beyond.

Conrad Lisco is CMO at Fyllo.