Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Vicky Papadimas!

The Cannabis Craze & Its Digital Opportunity

Like every industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the cannabis industry felt some changes…but not in a bad way. In fact, people turned to cannabis to help them through this terrifying time, with cannabis businesses doing what they can to cater to those needs including looking into resources like so they can be on top of what customers need any time of the day. Sure, live events were cancelled and billboards were suddenly a massive waste of money, but the combination of stress, anxiety and panic drove people to buy more and more of the best delta 8 gummies to calm their nerves and keep them sane and healthy, than they did do before.

The whole world was in a state of panic and anxiousness. In fact, some people couldn’t sleep or eat and started becoming cleaning freaks. Some also started isolating themselves from the world to the point where they were no more able to hold normal conversations even with their family members. Such was the distress during the peak time of the pandemic! However, that was when CBD products like dry herb vaporizers (visit this site to learn more about this) seemed to provide some saving grace for them. These and many more cannabis items rushed to the rescue of those who appeared to be on the brink of existential crises. Thanks to the many online dispensaries that acted quickly on their part to deliver products at the earliest!

Then of course, people were also bored, especially ravers and festival/concert goers, so that meant an increased sale of some of the best bong brands soared. Being stuck in quarantine meant people looked towards cannabis because of the apparent benefits to health and mood. Still, cannabis businesses (cannabusinesses) still face lingering misconceptions about its benefits, not to mention laws that differ by state. There’s a dynamite opportunity for increased digital spend coupled with valuable content that can re-educate the masses.

Read more here: Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

Superbowl Ad Breakdown: The COVID Effect

  • ViacomCBS says its Super Bowl ad inventory is pretty much sold out, with 30-second spots selling for at least $5.5 million.
  • For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not run an ad in the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s diverting its ad budget to focus on efforts to improve awareness and education around Covid-19 vaccines, in partnership with the public-service advertising nonprofit Ad Council. (Their seltzers will see some air time, though)
  • On that note, expect lots of ads for hard seltzers and light beer, like this take on the old “make lemonade out of lemons” advice; 2020 gave us a sh*t load of lemons, so they made some Bud Light lemon seltzer.
  • Indeed will run its first ever Super Bowl commercial featuring real job seekers to offer hope and inspiration for job hunting.
  • Tide always crushes it. This year, they’ll air a 60-second spot featuring Jason Alexander. Doritos, Pringles, M&Ms, General Motors, Mountain Dew will be back, too.
  • Hellmans and Huggies make their first Super Bowl debut.
  • E*Trade, DoorDash, Fiverr, and Mercari also make their first debut, each examples of tools that saw new popularity during the pandemic.

Walmart Taps Trade Desk Over Xandr

After more than a year of testing, Walmart announced the release of its custom-built version of the Trade Desk DSP for its retail media business. Walmart’s DSP is a separate, walled-off version of the Trade Desk, filled with exclusive Walmart data and inventory and utilizing a self-service model to give buyers more transparency.The Walmart DSP will also be the only way to access Walmart’s advertising inventory– like and in-store ad placements. See what they did there?

Good News: Giant Dinosaur Discovered

Some bones first discovered in Argentina in 2012 may be the largest land animal in our planet’s history. After subsequent field trips, digs, and analysis over twelve years, paleontologists now believe the tail vertebrae, pelvis, and other bones discovered belong to a titanosaur from 98 million years ago. The dinosaur could be larger than 76 tons and 122 feet from nose to tail. Imagine catching one of those in your backyard!

Stay safe,

Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

With the legality and perception of cannabis changing, how can cannabis advertisers adjust their strategy for maximum ROI?
How shifting perceptions and COVID’s impact leave a massive opportunity for digital and programmatic.

2020 was a big year for the cannabis movement and cannabis advertising. In the US, cannabis is now fully legal (medical and recreational) in 11 states plus Washington, DC., and legal for medical use in 34 states. Legal cannabis sales reached nearly $20 billion this past year and are expected to top $40 billion annually within the next four years (TechCrunch).

This means that the cannabis industry is skyrocketing – businesses in this area are becoming increasingly popular. Now that it is legal, people want to make the most of it and experiment with it. For instance there are many ways to take and to use it. It might be in a vape, smoked like a cigarette, ingested in tablet form, and there is a wide variety of equipment such as this devil bong for example, on the internet to buy for it as well.

For cannabis advertisers, there are still several hurdles: state by state differences in legality, lingering misconceptions coupled with shifting demographics and reputation, and lack of information or educational resources.

We’ll cover: changing attitudes, emerging demographics and usage data, the coronavirus pandemic’s effect, and digital strategies for success.

Changing Attitudes & A Disconnect Between “Typical” Weed Users and Those Purchasing

The “typical” cannabis user is no longer just your older brother’s friend hanging in their parents’ basement. Cannabis users and perceptions of usage have evolved and expanded. From cancer patients and the elderly looking to increase their appetite and minimize pain naturally, to tech-savvy “biohacker” types looking to maximize their health, and everywhere in between (Healthline, WebMD, Harvard Medical, TechCrunch, and Vogue all have written about it, to name a few).

According to data from Oasis Intelligence and Adweek, there’s no single description for cannabis consumers, but as a composite, they’re 30-something college graduates working full-time jobs. They’re committed to social justice and legal reform, they’re hungry for information, and they use cannabis primarily as a wellness tool (Adweek). 48% say they consume cannabis for wellness rather than recreational purposes, with 19% making no distinction between the two (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek). This means cannabis is more than an alternative medicine and might just be…a health trend.

Based on the data, most use cannabis weekly, price is a major factor in choosing a brand to purchase from, and usage and spend have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.


Cannabis Usage Trends:

  • 83% use cannabis weekly (Oasis Intelligence Poll of 20,000 participants via Adweek).
  • 60% spend more than $50 a month on cannabis products, and 38% spend more than $100 (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek).
  • Flower and edibles are the most popular forms of cannabis, while interest in infused beverages has doubled recently, with 17% of survey participants saying they use the products (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek).
  • Price is a key driver for 50% of consumers, and 46% bought directly from a dispensary. (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek)
  • Washington is the leading U.S. state based on cannabis sales for recreational use, with delta 8 carts from Area 52 being the most popular cannabis product in Everett (Statista).
  • 44% report planned increase in cannabis use during COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in 2020 (Statista)
  • In 2019, almost 127 million people had used marijuana in their lifetime, a substantial increase from 104 million in 2009 (Statista)
  • 66% of respondents replied in favor of legalizing marijuana in October 2019 (Statista).

The Pandemic Effect

on Cannabis & Cannabis Advertising

Ecommerce skyrocketed: With more stuck at home than any time in recent history (coupled with stress and anxiety), it’s no surprise that cannabis use jumped at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. With people unable to leave the house, cannabis advertising on facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc. increased to capitalize on this opportunity. 44% report using or planning to use multiple times per day, and 39% answered five or more days per week. Luckily, many dispensaries were classified as “essential” businesses during pandemic in many states alongside grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies (TechCrunch). Retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States were projected to eclipse $15 billion by the end of 2020, an increase of approximately 40% over 2019 sales figures, according to Marijuana Business Factbook, and experts estimate that the pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. One brand, Dutchie, experienced a 700% surge in online orders and a 32% increase in average order size since March.

Decrease in events or in-person exploration and educational opportunities: This goes without saying, really. But it’s worth it to note that the cannabis industry relied heavily on live events for educational and experimentation purposes. Those new to the “cannabis game” could attend a live event to speak with experts, try new products such as nerds rope thc, and determine the best purchase for their intentions. Cannabis advertisers should experiment with live virtual videos or events that are short and educational to help potential consumers make purchase decisions, as well as look to written content. Original content – over live events – can live longer on the internet and allow new and returning consumers to access it at any time. For example, During the pandemic, Charlotte’s Web CBD and cannabis product company debuted the education series “Searching for Answers.”

Cost-Conscious Buying & Trust: The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn obviously shifted the focus of consumers to more cost-conscious purchasing patterns. Expect far less impulse-buying and more research and cost-evaluation from consumers that will likely stick around. This is where education comes into play; consumers will be more likely to spend with a brand that shows expertise and trustworthiness than those who are flashy. As an example, when they are looking to buy marijuana, the marijuana packaging will be the first thing they notice. Customers have become very environmentally conscious during this pandemic. For repeat purchases, consumers would “stick” to a brand they are more familiar with instead of experimenting with new brands every time.

The Importance of Original Content, Trustworthiness, & Education in Cannabis Advertising

Like other industries that require an educational component to their sales strategy, cannabis will require valuable content creation and scalable distribution efforts to educate the public on the benefits of cannabis and its changing reputation.

Individuality and original content will also matter. According to CMO Sam Boyer to Adweek, “Original content will be a huge driver for cannabis advertising. It’s definitely more engaging at a time when people are looking for information and want to hear about health and wellness. The authentic voices will really stand out.”

Bidtellect Case Study: How A Leading University Targeted Content To Reach Students Across Multiple Geos

Why Digital Advertising and Programmatic For Cannabis Advertising

  • In 2018, 84% of spend on cannabis retail advertising went to outdoor ads like billboards. The second largest share went to newspapers with 5% of total spend, while only 4% went to digital advertising (Kantar).
  • Cannabis advertisers spent $370 million on digital display ads in 2019, an increase from $238 million in 2018. (DashTwo)

According to PrograMetrix, outdoor advertising faces strict restrictions depending on the state (a required placement distance from schools and children, for example); beyond billboards, marketers most frequently advertised through events (at which no cannabis could be offered or consumed); on endemic cannabis websites like High Times and WeedMaps (which only reached a small niche of cannabis consumers); and in any print outlets who would accept their ads (which ranged from alt-weeklies and print magazines to larger local papers).

Scale with programmatic: To reach beyond niche sites and dated demographics, programmatic offers the chance to scale. Huge numbers of high-traffic, mainstream sites will accept programmatic cannabis ad buys-sites like USA Today, HuffPost, Newsweek, Politico, The Chive, and ESPN (PrograMetrix). Cannabis advertisers in legal states are also required by law to ensure that their marketing campaigns target adults 21 and over- programmatic platforms are more able to adjust accordingly, not to mention measure ROI and meet tangible KPIs and goals. Programmatic ad buys offer this data by tracking conversions; ad buys in print outlets or one off digital events, for instance, cannot.

As of 2019, digital ad spending surpassed traditional (TV, radio, print, etc.) for the first time in history, and by 2021, 70 percent of all digital ads-and 88 percent of display ads-will be bought and sold using programmatic technology. Cannabis is considered the fastest growing industry in the United States and Canada, but well behind in its digital spend. It’s time to catch up: the opportunity is a gaping hole.

For more information on compliance, we recommend:

Here’s How to Run Compliant Digital Cannabis Ads

The Ultimate Guide to Programmatic Advertising for CBD & Cannabis

What We Celebrated, Valentine’s Day Digital Strategy, and eMarketer Content Marketing. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 22nd

What We Celebrated, Valentine’s Day Digital Strategy, and eMarketer Content Marketing. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 22nd

Hello Bidtellectuals!

At the beginning of this week, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for racial equality and the economically disadvantaged primarily through nonviolent protest movements in our country. Might I also suggest reading about Coretta Scott King, who significantly influenced her husband’s strategy and thinking, committed herself to various causes voicing underrepresented communities, and continued his legacy after his death.

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Marcos Vladimir López Castellanos!

Valentine’s Day: Campaign Strategy

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, but before you write off this holiday for 2021, consider that consumers spent $1.7 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for their PETS last year. Meanwhile, between July and August 2020, total retail sales in the United States rose by 0.6%, a worthy indicator for continued increase in ecommerce spend into 2021. Valentine’s Day is a special time for many, so customers are trying to find things that will stick out and catch their attention, whether that be a personalized gift or jewelry like gold bangles for women, they want to be wowed by what they see so they can make a purchase for their partner/wife/husband, and so on.

Plus, Valentine’s Day itself is evolving from a holiday for lovers-only to one celebrating any important relationship in your life. Brands now more than ever are considering to approach digital agencies such as WebEnertia to target a specific group of audience and promote their products and services. Furthermore, these brands also need to ensure the content they promote online to gain more customers does not appear negative in any way. Occasionally, these factors may vary by country and culture.

Though you can market your brand on your own, it’s important to understand that because digital marketing agencies specialize in promoting brands online and building online relationships with customers, they know how to expand your brand’s reach online. They can assist you in marketing your business online in order to attract new customers, increase sales, and improve the reputation of your brand. Taking the help of agencies like WebCitz, if you choose to market your brand digitally, it can have many advantages over traditional advertising methods like print ads and direct mail, billboards, TV, and radio. It can help your brand make better use of its resources while also giving customers the ability to do business with you on your terms.

However, if you’re not sure how to maintain your brand’s reputation with regard to these factors, you may want to hire a reputation management service to do it for you.

Read the latest rundown and predictions for Valentine’s Day 2021 here, where you can also download our Onesheet for quick access. Check out our video for 5 strategy recommendations for digital advertisers.

Latest eMarketer Survey Proves Power of Content Marketing

In an August 2020 survey, eMarketer asked respondents how they would like to discover products digitally. The overwhelming response pointed to content recommendations: trends, categories, and surveys were the top three responses, while influencer marketing and smart home device recommendations fell to the bottom of the list. Creating content that offers advice, value, and expertise continues to be the most successful form of digital product discovery; be sure to distribute your content at scale effectively.

Good News: Purple Power

Regardless of where you fall politically, it’s important to acknowledge the United States elected its first woman Vice President: a historic moment. Girls growing up will now finally be able to see someone like them in one of the highest offices of power in our country. In a nod to the accomplishment, Vice President Harris wore purple, a prominent color during the women’s suffrage movement when it symbolized loyalty. Purple also symbolizes political unity, since it is a combination of the colors red and blue, or each of the respective political parties.

Stay safe,

Social Media, Parler, and President Trump. And eMarketer Adjusts its Forecast. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 15th

Social Media, Parler, and President Trump. And eMarketer Adjusts its Forecast. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 15th

Hello Bidtellectuals!

We’re already half way through January – can you believe it? If you started off feeling bright and hopeful for the new year, but are feeling discouraged and down with all that’s going on, might I recommend these 5 Easy Self Care Tips to Life Your Mood Today. 

Updates: Social Platforms & President Trump

  • Twitter has now permanently suspended President Trump ‘due to the risk of further incitement of violence’ in a statement. Trump responded through a series of tweets on the @POTUS account, which were swiftly taken down.  Twitter also suspended @TeamTrump, an account associated with the Trump campaign, after it shared a portion of Trump’s statement condemning the company’s action.

  • Facebook and Instagram are maintaining President Trump’s account ban through the final two weeks of his presidency.

  • YouTube announced Tuesday that it has now suspended his channel for at least a week, citing concern over “ongoing potential for violence.” 

  • Google announced Wednesday it would pause political ads on its platforms until after Inauguration Day.

  • Snapchat locked Trump’s account “indefinitely.” 

  • Twitch disabled Trump’s account until he leaves office.

  • Shopify shut down two online Trump memorabilia stores.


The Latest on Parler: 

  • Amazon, Apple, and Google have all booted new conservative-leaning social media site Parler from their platforms in a span of a little more than 24 hours. Amazon suspended the social media platform over the weekend for failure to moderate “egregious content” related to the Capitol riots and the others quickly followed suit.

  • Parler now finds itself “homeless,” and facing hackers that are “crawling” its information.

  • In response, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday.

  • Parler is also working with the FBI to share information linked to the Capitol rioters.


eMarketer’s US Programmatic Outlook for 2021

“Please don’t be ugly, please don’t be ugly…” (TikTok, anyone?)

 As we all recall, eMarketer had to adjust its pre-pandemic forecast once corona-f-this hit the U.S. The good news is that advertisers reported better-than-expected results throughout the summer leading eMarketer to adjust its outlook AGAIN. 

US programmatic digital display ad spending grew more than 10% in 2020 and will rebound to 24.1% growth in 2021. WHEW at least something is looking bright.


There’s Still a Pandemic: How Each Industry Has Felt It

With everything else on the news (understatement), coronavirus has taken a second seat. But its impact on industries and advertising is still being felt. Since the pandemic upended life in the United States in March, Bidtellect has been tracking its effect on advertising, industries, and consumers. Check out our ongoing compilation of those resources, from retail to travel to B2B to quarantine cocktails. 

→ Read More: Industry Update: The Impact of the Coronavirus Crisis


Good News: What I’m Watching Lately

Who knows if you wanted a recommendation or not, but here’s what I’ve been watching lately that is perfect escapism and pre-pandemic-happiness-inducing. Take them or leave them. 

  • Lupin (Netflix) – part spy-drama, jewelry heist, and revenge scheme. You won’t be able to turn it off.

  • The Crown (Netflix) – incredible acting and beautiful exploration of historic events.

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC and Hulu) – probably one of my favorite shows. Hilarious, heartwarming, everything we need right now.

  • Pretend It’s a City (Netflix) – any New Yorkers or New York lovers will love Fran Lebowitz’s curmudgeonly humor, directed by Martin Scorsese.


Stay safe,


Which Social Platforms Banned Trump and How to Adjust Your Creative Messaging. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 8th

Which Social Platforms Banned Trump and How to Adjust Your Creative Messaging. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 8th

Hello Bidtellectuals!

When I began to draft this newsletter at the beginning of the week, the sentiment was still an excited and hopeful “Happy New Year!” Well, it feels as though 2020 is having a good laugh at us.

We send our fervent hopes and prayers to Washington D.C. for peace and safety after the week’s events, and to our representatives who upheld our democratic process in the face of violence.

Advertisers Pause Ad Campaigns, Announcements Indefinitely

Advertisers are rethinking their social media strategy, pausing campaigns, and halting planned announcements after this week’s events in Washington D.C. Announcements slated for Thursday from at least three major companies have been postponed in reaction to ongoing volatility, according to Ad Age. And brands have and continue to pause paid social advertising and TV campaigns on news networks this week.

Bidtellect recommends reallocating social media budgets to a brand safe demand-side platform that can place ads on reputable publisher sites around relevant information to avoid any chance at bad content association.

→ I know it’s “Dry January” for many, but you probably need a drink. Just saying.


Social Platforms Ban President Trump 

  • Following Thursday’s events, Twitter suspended President Trump’s account for twelve hours and removed two of his tweets.
  • Facebook and Instagram followed suit, with Facebook announcing a permanent ban through the final two weeks of his presidency (and Instagram is owned by Facebook).
  • YouTube, owned by Google, announced more general changes that will penalize accounts spreading misinformation about voter fraud in the 2020 election, with repeat offenders facing permanent removal.
  • Snapchat on Wednesday locked Trump’s account “indefinitely.”
  • Twitch, the live-streaming site owned by Amazon and used by Trump’s campaign to stream speeches, disabled Trump’s account until he leaves office, saying it didn’t want to be used “to incite further violence.”
  • E-commerce company Shopify shut down two online Trump memorabilia stores for promoting people or organizations “that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.” (AP News)

Start 2021 With a Growth Mindset When It Comes to Creative Messaging

Start 2021 with a growth mindset by enhancing your creative messaging for maximum engagement. Be authentic and go for an emotional response in your messaging, but the key is to utilize dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to adjust to best-performing creative assets in real time. Bidtellect CEO Lon Otremba contributes to the piece on Forbes.

Good News: How to Find Happiness During this Time

Not exactly good news per se, but I found this piece on how to find happiness during the pandemic, which could certainly be applied now, to be informative and helpful. If you’ve been glued to the news this week (guilty) and feel a sense of dread and anxious uncertainty (also guilty), this expert recommends making plans. The anticipation of seeing a friend for a walk, over Zoom, or even a phone call, for example, boosts happiness more than the activity itself. And studies have shown that control was the number one contributor to people’s overall level of happiness: Those who felt they had a sense of agency in their day-to-day lives were far happier than those who did not. So plan a virtual happy hour.

Stay safe,

adexchanger final straw twitter facebook ban trump