Playing to Win, Part II: What’s Popular, What’s Not, and How to Shape Your Content Accordingly

As previously discussed, researching how other aesthetic providers approach the market can be a crucial step in developing a marketing strategy that will help you beat them. On the other hand, even the most comprehensive competitive analysis is of limited value if the insights it reveals aren’t relevant to the market you and they are trying to reach.

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of data available that shows what today’s aesthetic consumers are looking for. From popular procedures to satisfaction levels, savvy practices can use the data below to determine how to better shape their content marketing in the months and years ahead:

New technologies and changing tastes fuel new treatments

While well-established procedures, including liposuction and breast augmentation, maintain their popularity, new approaches and technologies are giving other treatments a significantly higher profile. According to the latest ASAPS statistics, the surgical procedures that saw the greatest increases in 2016 were:

  • Fat transfer to the breast (up 41%)
  • Labiaplasty (up 23%)
  • Buttock lift (up 21%)
  • Fat transfer to the face (up 17%)
  • Breast implant removal (up 13%)

Conversely, surgical procedures that showed the largest declines included chin augmentation (down 19%) and lifts for the face, neck and upper arm (all down 5%).

A similar story unfolded on the non-surgical front as the usual suspects (e.g., Botox, hyaluronic acid, etc.) maintained their list-topping popularity. However, a handful of other treatments posted some of the most impressive gains. Among them:

  • Photorejuvenation (up 36%)
  • Tattoo removal (up 13%)
  • Non-surgical skin tightening (up 12%)

Procedures posting notable declines included sclerotherapy (down 16%), hair removal (laser or IPL, down 9%), and dermabrasion (excluding microdermabrasion, down 8%).

Local search results can provide additional insight and better direction

The analysis cited above provides an excellent look at the nationwide totals for the previous year, but as such, they may provide a better look back than to the year ahead. At the same time, such statistics don’t take into account the very real differences in aesthetic interests that exist in different parts of the country. For that, recent search data is a better barometer, which is where Google Trends can help.

In a nutshell, you can use the free tool to ascertain search volume for any term(s), compare them to related terms, and track how the interest in them has changed over time and by location. Simply put, the more you know about what potential patients are searching for, the better able you are to provide content that fits their needs.

Consider, for example, a recent search for “fat transfer.” Over the last 90 days, the metropolitan area showing the greatest interest was Las Vegas, followed by Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach and Philadelphia. The tool also reveals other “related queries,” including “breast fat transfer” and “fat transfers butt.”

Digging deeper, though, reveals stark regional differences. Comparing the latter two search terms, it turns out that interest in breast fat transfer was highest in and around Albany, N.Y., while fat transfer to the butt was highest in Los Angeles. Such data can change quickly — a local news report or celebrity sighting, for example — but, over time, it can provide a treasure trove of actionable information.

Patient satisfaction scores indicate promotional opportunities (and potential problem areas)

Ultimately, it’s all about the outcome, and how patients feel about their aesthetic experiences may say as much, or more, than the number of people who underwent this or that procedure. That’s the idea behind RealSelf’s Worth It Rating, a real-time, cumulative figure that gauges patient satisfaction by tallying how many patients say they would do a specific treatment again. For example, a procedure with a Worth It Rating of 80% means that eight of ten would do it again.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the most popular procedures in the ASAPS survey also earn high Worth It Ratings on RealSelf. Among surgical procedures, breast augmentation and tummy tucks top the list with Worth It Ratings of 97%, followed by butt lifts (94%), eyelid surgery (93%) and lipo (91%).

The surgical procedures that ASAPS says showed the greatest increase last year, however, tell a slightly different story. Patients opting for breast implant removal and labiaplasty were the most satisfied (Worth It Ratings of 97% and 95%, respectively), while those who underwent fat transfer to the breast (87%) and face (83%) were less enthused.

Which, it should be noted, is not meant to suggest that they were unhappy with their experiences. Quite the contrary. After all, when more than eight out of 10 patients say they’d undergo a procedure again, it’s obvious that most are quite pleased, which also means that the insights they share about their experiences will likely strike a chord with others conducting their own research.

As word spreads, more people will make their own inquiries, more doctors will share their professional insights and, in time, more of the recommended procedures will get performed. And as doctors gain more experience, chances are that outcomes will improve, creating a virtuous circle and a better experience for everyone concerned.

Doctor Takeaway

When it comes to content, let patients be your guide

Even as familiar procedures maintain their popularity, new devices, products, and treatments are making their mark on aesthetic medicine. Patients have more options to choose from, more questions than ever, and more need for timely, relevant information. By monitoring the procedures these patients research, opt for, and subsequently review, doctors can gain the insight they need to create the content that will fit the bill and their own surgical calendars.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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