The Body Politic: The Strange Connection between Aesthetic Medicine and Electoral Politics

bbl, breast surgery, red state, blue state, mobile, local

With new candidates entering the 2016 presidential race on a near-daily basis, it’s not surprising that pollsters and pundits are reviving the old red state/blue state metaphor to highlight the differences between liberals and conservatives, progressives and traditionalists, Democrats and Republicans.

Turns out, though, the differences may not be limited to opposing views about taxes, social services and the size of the federal government. According to an analysis of pageviews on RealSelf, you can also draw party lines when it comes to aesthetic procedures. Simply put, aesthetic consumers in red states tend to be most interested in breast surgeries while those in blue states are thinking about their butts.

The numbers tell the tale: Analyzing 5 million RealSelf pageviews during Q4 2014, three topics dominated searches by state: breast surgeries, Brazilian butt lifts and tummy tucks. Fourteen blue states had BBLs as the most searched procedure compared to nine red states, while breast-related surgeries were the most searched topic for 15 red states vs. 11 blue states. (Tummy tucks took the top spot in just nine, making it the aesthetic equivalent of a third-party candidate.) The above map shows how the top two contenders fare across the nation.

Of course, unlike presidential politics, interest in aesthetic procedures isn’t a winner-takes-all proposition. Regardless of the color of their particular state, aesthetic consumers of all political stripes consider all sorts of procedures. Nevertheless, the data do offer insights for anyone hoping to reach them:

Know where your potential patients are coming from: Google Analytics makes it easy to see exactly where visitors to your practice website are coming from. Clicking on the Location tab (under Audience/Geo) will bring up a global map highlighting what countries/states/cities generate the most traffic, valuable information when determining how and where to allocate marketing resources.

Improve your rank in local search: Chances are many of those visitors arrived after conducting a search with a geographic component (e.g., tummy tuck Chicago or cosmetic surgeon Seattle). Such “local intent” is one of the factors Google uses to determine search results so it’s crucial that your practice website provide the appropriate signals: address, phone number, map, Google My Business listing, etc.

Make sure mobile users can find you: Earlier this week, Google announced a watershed event: More Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on computers. Coming on the heels of the company’s earlier announcement stating that it will factor mobile-friendliness into its calculations, the days of dismissing mobile as a “nice to have” are over. As more people spend more time on their phones and tablets, providing a good mobile experience will be crucial to engaging with today’s increasingly savvy aesthetic consumer.

In a way, it’s like politics: Red, blue or otherwise, if no one hears your message, you run the risk of being an also-ran.

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, and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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