Cannabis videos spark social media trend after garnering over three billion views

Despite the popularity of cannabis videos, YouTube and Facebook are cracking down on 4/20-related content

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

April 20th, famed for being a “4/20 ” celebration that unites cannabis connoisseurs around the world, has already been and gone this year. Nonetheless, the effects of the 2019 event are still being felt, what with the recent 4/20 celebration being hailed as the most profitable event for cannabis retail sales to-date.

Social media played a big role in creating a buzz for the 4/20 event that spread like wildfire across the global industry. According to data supplied by Tubular Insights, the number of cannabis-related videos uploaded to social media platforms has surpassed 150,000 over the past 12 months.

The noticeable spike in cannabis content could be attributed to the fact that medical cannabis legislation has now been enacted in 33 U.S. states and Washington D.C., in addition to recreational legislation being enacted in 10 of those states.

Northern neighbor Canada legalized weed for adult-use in October of last year; further stimulating acceptance of the plant and encouraging its progressive infiltration into social media.

Cannabis content on social media is being used to educate and market

Social media content views and engagement combine to harness excitement about the plant that is gaining worldwide recognition for its ability to relieve pain, stress, chemotherapy-related nausea and ease epilepsy-associated seizures, among many other things. Publishers and brands are capitalizing on the rise of 4/20 content being shared on social media. After all, it provides them with an opportunity to interact with consumers and prospective customers through educating, informing and encouraging consumers to take action.

Social media analysts have determined that, within the last 12 months, a whopping three billion views have been generated by media companies and influencers on popular social media platform Facebook.  On video-sharing platform YouTube, 701 million views were generated by cannabis publishers and influencers within the same period of time.

Facebook seems to be the most powerful outlet for sharing 4/20 content

The most widely-used social media platform on the web, Facebook boasted 2.32 billion users as of 2018. With so many people around the world logging into their account on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that the platform is commonly used as an outlet for cannabis discussions. Within the past 12 months, 42,200 weed-related videos have been uploaded to Facebook. Engagement is strong at 80.3 million in the last 12 months. A whopping 1.6 billion views were generated by media publishers in the past year, inclusive of cannabis content published by big-name publishers like Business Insider and NowThis Media.

Herb turned out to be one of the most influential publishers in the cannabis space. Over the past year, Herb’s videos – which are catered towards 4/20 enthusiasts -–accumulated 190 million views and 5.6 million engagements.

While they may prove popular for sharing cannabis content and educating the general public about everything from weed’s medical benefits to legislation updates, YouTube and Facebook are cracking down on 4/20-related content. Why? So long as the plant remains illegal at the federal level in the U.S., marketing the sale of cannabis is considered breaking the law.

In February of last year, numerous well-known cannabis channels – many with hundreds of thousands of subscribers – were removed without warning from YouTube for allegedly violating its policies. This led to the birth of cannabis-focused content platforms, such as WeedTube. This particular platform launched a smartphone app on April 20, 2018.

Facebook, on the other hand, recently announced that its artificial intelligence (A.I.) software was intelligent enough to differentiate between images of fried broccoli and cannabis.

Most-watched cannabis videos on social media platforms go viral

In spite of rules and restrictions regarding the sharing of cannabis content on social media platforms, Facebook and YouTube have still managed to generate an astounding number of views. So many people viewed specific videos on the platforms that they went viral, based on Tubular’s data.

They included Los Angeles Insider’s “Edible Marijuana Leaves,” which attracted 77 million views and 1.1 million engagements. Trailing closely behind with 60.6 million views and 1.2 million engagements was “Weed Ice Cream Rolls” by VTRND. The video doubled its views following a second upload – a strategy that proves effective at triggering viral content outbreaks.

In third place was a news video uploaded by Business Insider demonstrating “How Marijuana Gummies are Made”. As legislation continues to unfurl across the U.S. and the rest of the world, more cannabis content will be shared, which is sure to translate into increased engagement, awareness and profit for the industry at large.

You can view the full list of the most popular viral cannabis videos in the image below.

Marijuana Videos Light Up Social Media with 3 Billion+ Views