Your 4/20 Cannabis Digital Advertising Checklist: audience data, ad creative, attribution 

Your 4/20 Cannabis Digital Advertising Checklist: audience data, ad creative, attribution 


You’ve got discounts prepared. Your social media posts are ready to go. The biggest sales day of the year, 4/20, is in just a few weeks. 

In Surfside’s 4/20 Report, we found that 4/20 cannabis sales last year were more than 150% higher than average. The weeks leading up to 4/20 also see significant increases in sales activity. April is a big month for every cannabis business. So the real question is whether your ad campaign is ready to drive the best possible results. 

Here’s how you can make sure that you’ve got everything ready for your cannabis advertising campaign as 4/20 gets closer: 

  1. Get Your Customer Data in One Place. 

Dispensaries and brands have valuable, first-party customer data that can help drive the accuracy of ad campaigns. Email lists, CRM platforms, loyalty programs, and SMS marketing tools are all great sources for customer data. The trick is to consolidate it so that you can get a full view of the customer.  

A lot of times, information may be missing – you may have a phone number, but not a full name. Or an email, but no purchase history. Your goal is to get a full view of the customer by aggregating all the data sources you have. Put all the details in one central CRM or spreadsheet to keep track of it. That way, you can make sure that you can customize the ads for each group. 

For example, if you have a customer group who only purchases flower and you’re advertising a special for edibles, you probably don’t want to waste ad budget showing ads to flower buyers.  

  1. Segment Your Audience. 

You might have heard about ‘audience segmentation’ before. It’s especially important in marketing channels like email, SMS, and digital advertising, where you have to make sure your messages are reaching the best customers. 

To segment your audience, you should create different groups of customers based on preferences, characteristics, and demographics. 

One way to think about your segmentation strategy is to start with the campaign objective. Are you launching a new brand? Opening a new dispensary? Want customers for a specific location? Or do you want to target new customers who look like your current loyal customers? 

In our breakdown of 4/20 marketing strategies for dispensaries, we talked about key audience groups that we’ve seen drive a lot of success. Whatever customer groups are most important, make sure you have an ad campaign that’s personalized for them – that’s what will drive the best results. 

  1. Change Out Your Ad Creative. 

Most cannabis consumers know that 4/20 is coming up. But do your ads show it? 

This is where it pays off to have a seasonality mindset. Consumers are inspired to purchase by holidays, seasons, and cultural moments – like 4/20. 

Your ads should reflect the season. Make sure your creative has 4/20 specific language and imagery. By doing that, consumers who are already in the 4/20 research and purchasing process are more likely to notice, engage, and convert with your ads. 

  1. Set Your Goals. 

Are you looking to drive more orders to your online menu? Foot traffic? Awareness of a new location or product? 

The success of your cannabis advertising program, like any other industry, should be defined by the metrics that matter most to you. At Surfside, we often measure by return on ad spend (ROAS) as our guiding metric. That’s a simple way to understand whether the money you spend on your ads drove a return. 

The key to understanding how to measure your goals is how you’re tracking ad performance back to sales in the first place. If you’re using a cannabis advertising platform, you should look for one that has first-party integrations with e-commerce software and point-of-sale systems, which can allow you to see ad-driven sales tracked all the way through the actual purchase.  

  1. Adapt and Improve. 

When you’re working with a cannabis advertising platform, make sure that you can access an analytics dashboard that clearly shows which campaigns and ads are performing the best. That’s the data you’ll want to use to improve your current ads and continue to refresh them. 

Ultimately, the more transparency you have into ad performance, the better you can gauge what really resonates with your customers – from products and web experiences to messaging and deals.  

‘Tis the Seasonality 

As you continue to run promotions for your cannabis business, you’ll learn more about what really works for your customers. By understanding your audience and customizing ad campaigns based on different segments, you can really measure what products and offers drive results from different groups. And when you know what works best, you can prepare better for the next big event, making sure that it’s the best one yet.