ABI Flash Poll: Digital Marketing in Aesthetic Medical Practices

Analysis provided by John Powers, PhD, Director of Education and Research for the Aesthetic Business Institute.

For the first time, digital marketing spends in 2019 will surpass traditional advertising in the United States, according to eMarketer. By the end of the year, it is expected that digital ad spending will grow 19% to $129 billion, or around 54% of total of US ads. Within those digital ads in 2019, mobile will account for more than two-thirds of the spend ($87 billion). 

The recent survey by the Aesthetic Business Institute (ABI) clearly shows that this digital trend is also taking place within the aesthetic medical industry.

According to the ABI survey, 88% of aesthetic practices pay for digital marketing as part of their promotional plan, and 80% reported that this is an effective method to gain new leads and clients. The spend is significant for these practices within this huge majority. Over 30% spend between $2,001 and $2,500 per month on digital marketing, another 23% spend $2,501 to $5,000 per month, 15% claimed to spend $1,501 to $2,000, while another 15% spend between $1,001 to $1,500 each month. These spends are also a regular occurrence within the industry as aesthetic practices are utilizing digital marketing currently – over 69% report they spent money on digital marketing in the last month. 

“As the ABI Flash Poll shows, utilizing digital marketing with your aesthetic practice is now the norm,” added John Powers, PhD, director of education and research at ABI. “It is clear that a practices’ clients and potential clients are spending huge amounts of time engaged with these digital platforms. If you wish to share your messages with them, digital is where you need to target.” 

What digital marketing methods are most utilized within the aesthetic medical industry? According to this ABI Flash Poll, Facebook is a dominant partner with 100% of respondents using Facebook ads and 69% paying for boosted Facebook posts. Google also is a very popular source for digital spends, with 85% reporting that they use Google Adwords and PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns. Instagram, owned by Facebook and the fastest growing social media network in 2019, saw 54% of aesthetic practices purchase ads on their platform. Another 23% said they have paid for Instagram sponsored posts. Finally, over 46% of practices have used an online reputation management service. 

In addition, with the growing complexity and dominance of digital marketing, 77% of aesthetic practices shared that they use an external agency or consultant to create and manage this function. 

Characteristics of Those Surveyed

For those who completed this ABI Flash Poll, 69% represented an aesthetic medical practice or med spa, 15% a cosmetic dermatology or surgery practice, 8% involved plastic surgeons, and 8% an OB/GYN or Urogynecology practice. The majority of practices responding to the ABI Flash Poll are from the southern part of the United States – 63% are from the southeast or south-central regions of the country. Another 18% are located in the northeast, and 9% from the southwest. In addition, 66% surveyed were from a practice that reported an annual gross revenue between $1–$3 million, 15% were $3–$4 million, and 8% are over $5 million.