Centro develops enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations. CannaVu operates an ad exchange for cannabis and CBD marketers. Together, these two companies are working to change the way cannabis brands advertise online and break down the barriers that have slowed industry growth.
Centro’s technology solution, Basis, is an automated, intelligent digital media platform. The company says Basis is the only solution of its kind to consolidate digital operations across programmatic and direct campaigns. It’s also the only programmatic platform with access to CannaVu, creating new opportunities to introduce customers to brands in the cannabis industry and automate how they are reached through trusted, mainstream partners.
Currently, CannaVu operates the country’s largest ad exchange for curated, compliant advertising opportunities for cannabis and CBD marketers. The company is also known for having created the largest cannabis “intender” audience segment, which identifies user device IDs for people who have visited any of 4,000+ medicinal and recreational licensed dispensaries in the U.S. once, twice, or six or more times.
“As Centro was growing our work with cannabis and CBD businesses, campaigns and media activation [had] to be run in a customized fashion, working directly one-to-one with publishers because of the wide range of local and state regulations and individual publisher policies with this segment,” said Centro president Tyler Kelly. “It is challenging to scale and automate digital advertising, and there are very few supply sources that enabled that.”
With 2020 right around the corner, Kelly says now is the right time for companies like Centro to start pushing even further into the cannabis market. Fast growth among both cannabis and CBD businesses is causing a land grab for customer attention, but because cannabis and CBD brands are so new to most consumers, their ads need to be viewed in “well-lit” environments, at least initially. With several websites and media properties still not allowing cannabis advertising, many brands in the industry are lacking in reach, and Kelly says they’re experiencing poor campaign performance due to low-quality inventory.
“By January 2020, medical or adult-use cannabis or CBD products will be legal in 33 states. These are new products entering numerous markets,” Kelly says. “These companies, which have raised collectively billions of dollars in funding, need to build their brands and need to get people to interact with them initially by advertising on well-known sites with quality content.”
Scale is one of the key issues that businesses in the space face. Kelly says Centro’s partnership with CannaVu will open up more inventory for campaigns and make it easier to scale. The partnership is also expected to make campaign automation and activation frictionless, with the hope that more seamless campaigns will drive ad spend to publishers with quality audiences.
“CannaVu has done the hard work upfront in sourcing the quality publishers and sites that allow cannabis and CBD advertising, and then matching the users located in legal areas who are visiting those sites,” he says. “The brands in this space are able to activate campaigns, find audiences that have expressed some real-world and online interest in these products before, and reach them at scale in real-time. The accuracy in audience targeting, plus the well-lit environments and publishers that CannaVu sources from, lift campaign performance.”
The success of a partnership between Centro and CannaVu could open the door to even more sources of ad spend for all parties in ad tech. Kelly says publishers who have not been open to advertising from the CBD and cannabis space previously may change their policies when they see the volume of ad spend as well as the automated monetization and sales processes.
“The brands in the space will have more opportunities to engage and educate consumers on the benefits and value of these type of products,” Kelly says. “And these moves collectively build towards normalizing this segment.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.