cbd target market

Social Media Consumer Insights on Who the CBD Industry Should Be Targeting

From CBD gummies to CBD bath bombs, the market for CBD is growing stronger day by day. Investment bank Cowen & Co’s recent report predicted that the CBD market will hit $16 billion by 2025. With such immense growth, we couldn’t help but to use Synthesio’s social listening platform to take a closer look at what people are saying online about CBD. Today, we’re diving deep into the CBD market and using social media consumer insights to discover who the industry should be targeting.

What exactly is CBD?

Let’s start with the basics. CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol (ka-ne-buh-DI-ol). According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon from Harvard Health Publishing , cannabidiol is the “ second-most prevalent ” active ingredient of cannabis, or marijuana. The first is THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which produces the primary psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. But the CBD that’s found in CBD products is derived not from cannabis, but from the hemp plant. By itself, CBD does not cause a “high.”

In the medical community, cannabidiol has proven effectiveness in treating cases of childhood epilepsy. Last year, the FDA approved Epidiolex , a drug containing CBD, to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

Outside of prescription medicine, CBD has grown to be one of today’s hottest ingredients, commonly used to address anxiety, insomnia, pain, and other conditions. For our research purposes, we divided CBD products into four major sectors: sublingual, inhalation, oral, and topical.

Sublingual : Use of CBD oils, which is often taken by placing a few drops under the tongue

Inhalation : CBD vape pens

Oral : Edible capsules, gummies, chocolate bars, etc. which contain CBD

Topical : Any product that’s meant to touch the skin or scalp, usually in the form of lotions, creams, shampoos, bath products

What insights does social media give us?

Let’s start by looking at the volume alone. After analyzing online conversations about CBD within the past year, our social listening platform found that the volume of conversations has been steadily increasing.

Then, we looked at which CBD products are talked-about most. To those already familiar with the industry, it may not be surprising that the sublingual sector of the CBD industry is the most popular. Around two-thirds of online conversations about CBD products were specifically about CBD oils!

Our numbers align with recent surveys evaluating CBD usage. Of all surveyed CBD users, 48% report using oils. The second-most-popular CBD products are vape pens, which 37% of users use, followed by ingestible products, like edibles and capsules.

Now that we know what people are talking about, let’s take a look at where people are talking. Unsurprisingly, Twitter’s in the first place, hosting around half of the conversations about CBD! Next, a shocking 25% of conversations took place on forums (a.k.a. Reddit). In third place was Instagram, where around 10% of discussions took place.

Why is it necessary to understand the what, where, and why of online conversations about CBD? A National Institutes of Health report stated that 38% of people found out about CBD from Internet research. That’s only 3% behind the 42% of people who heard about it from a family member or friend!

A significant portion of existing CBD users and (presumably) the industry’s target audience is getting information online. It’s word-of-mouth, through the Internet. Knowing where people read and engage is just step one of creating a targeted marketing campaign.

Social Media Consumer Insights on Generational Differences

So who’s talking about CBD online? Turns out, maybe an age group you didn’t expect.

Unsurprisingly, adults aged 18-35 are the most vocal about CBD online. But here’s the outstanding part: some 45-55-year-olds are also using the Internet to talk about it.

We were curious about whether there are differences in how different age groups approach CBD. Recent research has found that adults aged 18-24 and 25-34 are more likely to associate CBD with treating anxiety, whereas other age groups associated it with pain relief.

We decided to check out whether social media reflected this bias.

The age demographics of social media users who mention CBD and anxiety together are clearly concentrated in their twenties and early thirties.

The age range of social media users who mention CBD and pain is more varied. Notice the increase in users aged 35-45 and 45-55. Also, when compared to anxiety-related posts, take note of the dramatic decrease in users aged 18-25.

It appears that older users are more interested in the pain relief benefits of CBD, while younger users are more interested in the anxiety-reducing effects. This insight should drive marketing campaigns.

On our platform, we even found tweets that highlighted this difference. While younger adults tend to mention CBD with anxiety relief, older adults recommend it for pain relief.

From these insights, we know that demographics both young and old are receptive to using CBD. The trend is heading that way, and the market will grow.

Social Media Consumer Insights Reveal 2 Target Audiences

It’s already been established that CBD oil and CBD vape pens are the top dogs of the industry. The numbers alone tell us that story. Interestingly, though, our platform found a high correlation in the mentions of the two topics. Or, in other words, the volume of conversations behind both topics evolved in a very similar way this past year.

Simultaneously, CBD lotions and gummies also demonstrated a high correlation this past year.

What do these two pieces of information tell us about the industry? Well, we think that there are two distinct target audiences here: a group looking for immediate relief, and one that isn’t. Let us explain.

When thinking about CBD products, we like to talk about bioavailability. This refers to the amount of CBD that’s actually getting into your system. When using oils, the CBD goes directly into your bloodstream, giving you a bioavailability of 20-30%. Similarly, vape pens and cartridges allow the CBD to travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, giving you a bioavailability of 30-40%.

Meanwhile, the bioavailability of CBD gummies is at a meager 5%! And for topically applied products, like lotions, the bioavailability is nearly nonexistent.

What does this mean? This means we have one group of people interested in CBD products whose effects are felt almost immediately. On the other hand, another group is interested in CBD products with small doses, like gummies and lotions. These are two distinct groups of users! With these insights, companies can further narrow down the target audience and develop effective campaigns to reach them.

What does this mean for the industry’s future?

Our social media consumer insights on the CBD industry reveal some important things. One, there’s a demand. And, two, different demographics are open to these products, but in different contexts. Younger audiences see CBD as a treatment for anxiety, while older adults are open to the idea of using it for relief from chronic pain. Some people want immediate relief, while others are interested in products with low dosages. With pharma companies facing growing backlash against opioids and other drug developments, CBD is an expanding industry that warrants a closer look. In the next five years, the field will look vastly different. Now is the time for companies to begin R&D into various applications of CBD, or invest altogether in a promising company. Social media intelligence platforms allow companies to identify growing trends and their target audience before it’s too late to enter the game. Schedule a demo here .

Social media consumer insights on the booming CBD market revealed distinct target audiences looking to use CBD in different ways.

How To Market CBD in 2020

A growing market with opportunity

Allegue Wessim
Jan 13, 2020 · 7 min read

Despite fierce competition, CBD is still a growing market. However, digital marketers find it hard to increase sales. There are several reasons for this:

  • Ban on CBD advertisements on Google
  • CBD is shadowbanned on Amazon
  • The market is saturated with different brands and varieties of CBD
  • Lack of education about its uses
  • Not a part of everyday life

The CBD market is expected to take off in the next 30 to 40 years. In fact, the cannabis industry is ahead of most industries because of its general youth and purebred entrepreneurship. Hence, it’s a never-ending innovation game.

Industry Analysis

Looking to enter the market? Maybe yo u ’re wondering if you can succeed on a small budget and still compete with the bigger companies. Not really (or should I say not yet). Building a strong brand around your products takes intentionality and time — let’s look at the state of the CBD industry.

Problems within the industry

Most entrepreneurs entering the market are too ideological and romanticize the business instead of being realistic. Additionally, a focus on short-term revenue often leads to short-term businesses. And the advertisement restrictions on Google and Facebook deter many people from trying to enter the business.

To be successful, plan ahead and focus on long-term mass production rather than a short-term return on investment. This business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Here’s a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat) assessment of the industry:

Strengths: existing sales funnel, product variety, and knowledge of the field.

Weaknesses: not enough of an audience, little to no presence on social media, and website limitations to convert sales.

Opportunities: growing market, micro-niches are not yet saturated, and movement to remove current online ad restrictions.

Threats: high competition, not widely adopted, and bad associations with marijuana as a drug.

Target Audience: Go Super-Niche

While many try to cover the entire CBD market, you can differentiate yourself from all the noise with a specialty or niche. For example, if marketing CBD to the elderly is a niche population, then targeting elderly people with travel anxiety is a super-niche market.

Once you identify your target audience —male, 18 to 35 years old, animal lover, eco-conscious, compulsive buyer, etc. — tailor your marketing materials (e.g., ads, deals) to them.

Selling Your Products

You have options when it comes to how you sell your products. Mobile-friendly websites, multiple landing pages, and influencers using your products are great ways to market and sell your products.

Mobile-friendly websites

A mobile-friendly website is a must for online selling — 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their cell phone in the last six months.

Your landing page should contain your best products with a direct link to buy. Offering multiple means of payment like Paypal is also helpful.

Landing pages

Create multiple landing pages on Shopify or similar sites that only feature one product for a particular or niche audience. For example, CBD for recovering martial artists, CBD for vegan artists, and CBD elderly people with arthritis.


Influencers are single-handedly the most important tool for marketing CBD online. It’s also a great way to kickstart affiliate marketing and your dropshipping businesses. Offering small samples for micro-influencers should be enough, but with popular influencers, you’ll want to negotiate commission for sales they help generate. A special landing page for them to monitor your data is a must. (This is mainly for product shoutouts and special deals.)

You should aim for micro-influencers that don’t cost too much or promotional pages from your target audiences.

Unique Selling Propositions

In addition to establishing yourself with a super-niche product or audience, you’ll want to use unscalable efforts — these are efforts that initially boost your sales but cannot be sustained in the long run. Capitalizing on social responsibility is another booming trend you’ll want to partake in.

Complementary products

Complementary products are a great way to generate buzz about your product and encourage users to buy the full product. Additionally, free samples in the hands of an influencer can be just the thing you need to attract customers.

Social responsibility

Join the ranks of Nike, McDonald’s, and Facebook by giving back to this world while also making a profit. You can accomplish this by increasing the price of your product (not too much) and donating the increase in price to charity, or by donating some of your profits to a social cause.

Create a special packaging

Packaging is a mindful feature that separates one brand from the other and defines how your product will be perceived. Remember that minimalistic, paper packaging with your logo and a slogan on it can do the trick. It’s all about creativity and how you want the customer to interact with your product.


A unique story will separate your brand from the competition. Having a super-niche market is really important and your website should help tell this story.


Make sure your website’s font is legible — poor font choices (e.g., illegible, too small) will send customers packing. A few fonts I recommend are Crimson Text Regular and Source Sans Pro Regular, Lato Light and Lato Regular, Luckiest Guy and Bitter Regular, Montserrat Bold and Roboto Regular, and Raleway Bold and Source Code Pro Regular.

Everything on your website should be intentionally designed to sell your product.

Subscribe section

Many businesses overlook this but collecting customer data and having them subscribe to an email or other publication will allow you to remain in contact and keep them informed about your latest products and deals. In addition to a subscribe section, you can enable a pop-up that requests the user’s contact information (mostly their email).

Video section

The video section is a must-have for 2020. You can start by using stock videos with simple messaging about your product that is featured on your website and social media channels.

Marketing Channels

You should aim to post at least ten times a day across all channels to start and you can up it to 64 pieces of content a day.

Things you post about should include information about your products (and its benefits) and news about your super-niche audience.

Start a podcast

The podcast format continues to gain momentum in popular culture. For example, not only could you use the audio version in SoundCloud or Apple Podcast but you can add the video format to Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. It’s the most efficient way to engage people online, display your knowledge, and create a true community.

Think like a media company

The more you communicate, the better your chances are to gain exposure. In our era, everything has a story and people buy because of the brand, not the product. Focus on sharing your journey with its ups and downs so people can empathize with you.

As ads for CBD are getting banned our opening here will be the animal world. Instead of contacting CBD influencers you’ll contact horse race lovers or pocket dogs owner with an audience. You’ll proceed to ask them how much they charge to share your ads to drive traffic to your website or promote your products.


You need to engage with every person in your super-niche audience and write meaningful comments. It’s also useful to engage with your competition as it creates a healthy environment and will help you create new opportunities and business ideas. Not to mention, commenting is free and can produce results.

Don’t bother with Facebook and Google ads

Anyone that tries to direct you towards using Facebook and Google doesn’t know anything about this industry — CBD advertisements are banned on these platforms. Instead, create valuable content and run promotional campaigns with micro-influencers as suggested above.

Tip: since the word CBD is being shadowbanned from social platforms, I recommend replacing the term with natural hemp oil. Checking traffic volume is a helpful way to see what keywords are trending with your target audiences.

The numbers you should look for

When it comes to influencer marketing there are a couple of things that you keep in mind:

  • The goal of the campaign
  • Your unit of measurement
  • Choosing a tracking platform
  • Reviewing KPI’s
  • Assessing performance


Create a portfolio of successful go-to influencers. They might cut you a deal or offer you free promotions if you’re regularly working with them. Remember to space out your influencer campaigns to see the full impact before moving on too quickly.

Email Marketing

Use the emails you collect to engage your audience — periodically send them relevant articles, news, and deals. Mailchimp is a great way to manage your mailing list.

Bonus Tactic

Create a game for your customers where they have to search for clues to win free samples or discounts. This can be incorporated both offline and online and has been proven to increase customer engagement and customer retention. Here’s a guide if you want to learn how to create a game for your business.

We’ve covered a lot in this article, here’s a quick summary:

Despite fierce competition, CBD is still a growing market. However, digital marketers find it hard to increase sales. There are several reasons for this: The CBD market is expected to take off in the…