Disclaimer: This article doesn’t serve as advice on how to market products that are illegal to sell and advertise, but is rather a guide on marketing for those that, due to their nature, cannot be advertised on social media or the Google Ads network. ATKASA Digital Agency does not, in any way, condone the marketing of illegal products.


Search Engine Optimisation Offers a Powerful Alternative for When Ads Don’t Work

Whether through search engine optimisation or Google Ads, not every industry out there finds it easy to market their goods or services for numerous reasons, but there are those that, by their nature, fall under the controlled or banned substances lists issued by various governing bodies, and advertising platforms like Google and Meta.
Some of these unmarketable products require certain licensing and regulation before they can be sold, others, like those in the gambling, tobacco and nicotine industry, simply cannot be advertised online… not through the usual channels anyway.
I have worked with clients in these industries, as well as those selling CBD products, cosmetics, medication, and a slew of others that simply cannot take the usual avenues of digital marketing.

So how did I make it work for them?


Do Your Products Go Against Advertising Policies?

One of the first things you want to do (if you don’t already know) is to find out whether or not your product or service is one of those that goes against the standard policies of platforms like Facebook or Google Ads.
Fortunately, both of them give fairly exhaustive lists of what can and cannot be advertised, across a staggering number of industries.
Some of these include financial services, controlled substances, weapons, casinos, and more.

Here is a list of restricted categories for Facebook ads…
Here are the product categories that Google won’t let you advertise…

Each of the above links can be explored in more detail to get specific information about what can and cannot be advertised on their networks.


Organic Advertising

This, in short, means that for many brands and products, paid approaches to advertising are simply out of the question.
You can try to run ads, but the inclusion of certain keywords and mentions, even the content present on your website, will likely cause ads to be disapproved. Push the issue and you might even see your campaigns and accounts get deactivated.
This means that your alternatives will have to come from organic advertising.


Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation is one side of this, and covers what you’ll need to do on search engines.

SEO should be a standard in any digital marketing campaign, but for those products that are sensitive by nature, it is crucial to get this right, and by-and-large, will not limit what you can advertise (assuming the product or service is not outright illegal).


Social Media

Organic will have to play an important role in social media advertising as well, since you won’t be able to boost posts or run paid ads.

Building your community with engaging posts and encouraging followers to share your content is a good start.

Another important step is to start getting involved with groups on social networks that are in line with your niche. Join as many as you can (as the brand), or even create a few of them on your own and start inviting people who are likely to be interested.

This will not only grow your following, but could serve as the perfect platform for communicating your offers to a group of interested people.


Content Syndication

Content syndication works similarly to search engine optimisation where backlinks are concerned, but more often than not will come with a bit of a cost.
Through it, you write articles that will be hosted on 3rd party websites like news sources or interest websites, and have those articles link back to your website or product/service pages.

You need to make sure that there is some relevance to what you’re offering to make sure you’re reaching interested audiences, and you will also want to select a publication that has a high volume of monthly visitors who might read the article.


Programmatic Ads on Private Networks

A great alternative to the Google Ads network is private programmatic advertising. This is when websites will run your ads in strategic places on their websites, for a fee… so it essentially works in the same way that the Google Display Network does.
As it is with content syndication, you want to make sure that the sites you choose have some degree of relevance to your ads, but also a volume of visitors that makes the price worthwhile.


Contact ATKASA Digital Agency for Details

If you have a product or service that isn’t exactly straightforward when it comes to how you can market it, why not speak to us at ATKASA Digital Agency to see what your options are?
Get in touch with us by visiting our website today to find out more about our services.