What the Biggest Cannabis Websites That You Can Advertise On?
The Google Medic update is mostly done, and we have seen some dramatic shifts on who Google likes in the cannabis space and who Google moved back in their rankings. Many brands are looking for sites that they can advertise on with the restrictions currently on mainstream ads on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google. So, who are the big boys online that have cannabis traffic and how did the Google update help or hurt certain sites?
First, the Rules.
There is no real way to see someone’s exact traffic without getting access to their Google analytics account. That being said, the two best external resources to check traffic for a website are Alexa and SEM Rush. They both give 50,000-foot level views of website traffic, time on site, bounce rate, page views per visit, etc. Is it a perfect method? No, but it is the closest metric to compare everyone evenly. The haters will say that Alexa and SEM Rush are not good ways to look at traffic since it misses traffic on certain sites for a variety of reasons, but in general, if it is using consistent methods, all the sites should be off by a certain percentage. For example, if Alexa is 15% off and missing traffic on one site, then it should be missing similar traffic on all sites for whatever reasons, meaning, as long as Alexa and SEM Rush are off for everyone, the scale is relative, not absolute.
I can only speak for us, but we know Alexa misses about 18% of our traffic based on our server logs and Google Analytics. Why? We have apps that people use that Alexa is not able to see within our custom funnels and app builds. The Cannabis.net app in Android has over 50,000 downloads now, so that is a decent amount of people using the social network that Alexa has no access, too. We would actually rank higher in US traffic if we turned off our apps and forced people to use a browser, but than user experience would go down, so no reason to do that except ego and vanity.
Some sites will say the Alexa traffic number is way off and I always ask, “Where is your missing traffic?”. If they don’t’ have an app, then there is really no excuse on why it would be drastically off. If you tell me your traffic is way off, tell me why then.
Anyway, these number adjust slightly every 24 hours. These are the number as of today’s date and article publishing.
Some sites have done their own major redesigns that have hurt their Google or traffic numbers over the past few months, for example you can check the 90 day trend for Herb.co and Leafly. Some sites have moved up greatly due to increased content and better social sharing of their articles as cannabis news and legalization has heated up. Sites that are doing CBD articles are seeing an increase in traffic as Google search volume has tripled for CBD related keywords. This story has been covered a few times in the cannabis space over the past 2 weeks.
Prime examples are Marijuana Moment and New Cannabis Ventures. Marijuana Moment covers everything to do with Washington, DC and cannabis legalization. They cover all Federal bills, hearings, testimony as it relates to cannabis, so as legalization gains momentum, more people are looking for updates on how Federal bills and laws are progressing. New Cannabis Ventures is a major stock site that covers the financial markets as they relate to marijuana companies. As more people want to invest in marijuana stocks, more people will be seeking information out that New Cannabis Ventures specializes in.
Let’s take a look…
Leafly – You could debate that the Weedmaps sites when all put together have more traffic but both Weedmaps and Leafly are the two giants in the online traffic game. Leafly has just done a brand-new redesign of their site focusing on dispensary reviews and their strain guide. Part of the Peter Thiel empire, they are part of the Privateer Holdings family, that includes Tilray, Ease, Marley Brands, and Leafly. Originally they made a name for themselves by developing a massive strain guide and many users reviews of strains.
Weedmaps – You could flip flop these two depending if you want to count some of Weedmaps other domains like Cannabis.com and Marijuana.com. Their traffic has remained constant despite the plethora of negative reviews and problems the company has run into over the past 12 months. It will be a test to see if their traffic holds up when they remove all illegal operators from their map and more mapping competition comes online each day. They recently laid off 25% of their workforce to cut costs and prepare for a possible IPO.
MJ BIZ DAILY – The Wall Street Journal of the cannabis space, covering news from around the globe about marijuana and cannabis legalization. After a recent funding round, they have expanded their coverage with more hires on the reporter side and covering Europe, some of Asia, and all of North America.
Cannabis.net – Full mapping for cannabis business, full blogging and video content, a full cannabis social network, strain guide, CBD superstore, cannabis job board, and cannabis events calendar. Two interactive apps for IOS and Android. The clear winner in time on site, page views, engagement with users, and bounce rate. Just a ton of stuff to do and see on the site. With optin forms for cannabis information and products on the site, the email list is up to 35,000.
Rate card – https://cannabis.net/advertising
Marijuana Moment – As mentioned early, all things having to do with cannabis legislation and Federal government bills, hearings, and interviews around legalizing cannabis. They are the go-to source for marijuana bill coverage, primarily in DC, but they also cover the state-by-state bills and laws.
High Times – The legendary magazine is also an online source for information and cannabis coverage. They have been trying to go public on NASDAQ for a few years but haven’t made it yet, so they did a crowdfunding campaign over the past year to try and get approved for a public listing somewhere.
Leafwire – A LinkedIn for cannabis businesses, run by Peter Vogel. The site has done well for its short history compared to the legends like High Times.
New Cannabis Ventures – One of the largest cannabis financial news sites focusing on everything to do with cannabis companies in the public markets.
Merry Jane Media – Snoop Dogg’s media company that does cannabis news and videos, and of course, Snoop Dogg shows and content
The Fresh Toast – A millennial based website that mixes in cannabis news and stories with pop culture stories, run by the legendary JJ McKay. The mix is about 60/40 cannabis content to pop culture and regular non-cannabis features. Big news recently was signing a syndication deal with Tribune Content Agency to have their article posts online through the Tribune newspaper and websites network.
All of these websites accept cannabis or CBD based advertising, and rates and offers can vary wildly by websites, so make sure you shop around. Be sure to check the content on each website, as styles and target demographics will be very different for a site like New Cannabis Ventures (stock market news) and Merry Jane Media (Snoop videos).
The cannabis crowd is so large and diverse that there is plenty room at the table for a variety of cannabis websites. For example, seniors are the fastest growing niche of cannabis buyers, will we see an AARP of weed type site emerge and capture that market? There is a cannabis site out there for everyone, so this is just a list of the ten sites that have the most eyeballs and can drive traffic for your brands.