Weedmaps and Leafly were two of the original cannabis websites, and both continue to dominate online traffic for cannabis marketplaces. You may want take advantage of a platform, but which one is better for your dispensary? We are breaking down each platform to help you decide which one is the best fit for you and your business.
Looking from the top down, Weedmaps is primarily focused on finding nearby dispensaries whereas Leafly has a more comprehensive database of products and strains alongside dispensary information. Each company is now public on the NASDAQ and has expanded their offerings beyond the basic services they started with. So, which should you pick?
Founded in 2008, Weedmaps was the ultimate directory of cannabis dispensaries in the United States. The “stoner’s paradise” quickly became a destination for cannabis consumers to connect and share experiences during the early days of legalization. In 2010, Weedmaps was purchased by General Cannabis Incorporated, which also purchased Marijuana.com shortly after in 2011. Come 2013, General Cannabis Incorporated sold all assets back to the Weedmaps’ original founders Justin Hartfield and Keith Hoerling. Since then, Weedmaps has been focused on monetizing its platform and advocating for cannabis rights. In 2021, the company went public via SPAC transaction with the ticker $MAPS.
Leafly was founded in 2010 as a cannabis use and education platform. Leafly boasts more than 5,000 strains listed online, millions of product reviews, and thousands of educational articles. Leafly was acquired in 2011 by Privateer Holdings and the original founders Scott Vickers, Brian Wansolich, and Cy Scott went on to create Headset, a cannabis analytics platform. Leafly broke ground as the first cannabis company to place an advertisement in Times Square, and today it is the most visited cannabis website. In 2021, Leafly was also taken public via a SPAC with Merida Capital.
As of 2022, both Weedmaps and Leafly have millions of monthly active users. Both companies rake in the majority of profits by selling advertising to retailers and brands.
If you're going just by traffic and engagement stats (from Similarweb), Weedmaps beats Leafly (as of November 2022).
But it's more complicated than just total metrics, it also depends on where your local customers prefer to comparison shop. In many western states, Leafly is the dominant marketplace whereas Weedmaps sees a far higher amount of monthly users in California and the Midwest. In most cases, it is valuable to have a profile on both websites, but priority and ad spending should be given to the one that your local audience uses the most.
Leafly costs $600 to $4,000 monthly depending on location.
Weedmaps costs $400 to $1,500 monthly. However, more competitive markets may spend $10,000+.
Weedmaps and Leafly are the top two largest cannabis marketplace solutions. If a marketplace is what you're looking for, these are both solid options. In addition to the marketplace, you should also think about getting direct traffic to your website and menu, critical components of cannabis SEO. This is where Dispense can help.
No matter which marketplace you choose to list on, your business should always make sure it's working to convert customers to loyal shoppers on your own domain. This is incredibly important for retailers in order to gain – and retain – full access to customers' details and insights. The downside of marketplaces is that they are built on iFrames, so you're forgoing the SEO that drives organic search traffic to your menu.
In a data-driven world, your menu data is precious. By using cannabis software like Dispense, retailers can leverage their menu and product data to do SEO automatically, driving revenue via organic search traffic.