Ad regulations for medical aesthetic clinics

Nobody likes red tape. Red tape gets in the way. Red tape slows you down. But maybe red tape in the aesthetics industry could give you a competitive advantage?

Much like advertisers can’t just say any old thing during a TV ad break, or plaster whatever they wish across the nation’s billboards, there are certain rules you need to be aware of when it comes to advertising your clinic – and the medical aesthetic services you provide.

Red tape and rules are often frustrating. But when you think about it, the regulatory landscape of the beauty & aesthetics industry is a good thing. It helps to keep customers safe. And it helps to discourage your competitors from doing anything underhanded. It also preserves the reputation of the industry.

And that’s the point. Those who fall foul of the rules will get caught out. Those who follow the rules have a competitive advantage. Not least because knowing that you are on top of your regulatory responsibilities will give you the ability to run your business with confidence.

And there are few finer feelings than that.

One quick thing, before we begin

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The rules are there in black and white – and a bit of blue

There’s an extensive guide to the rules regarding advertising aesthetics. It’s written by the Committee of Advertising Practice. It’s regularly updated. And it’s available as a PDF right here. You should read it.

Below is a quick summary of some of the things you should be thinking about.

Before and after: yes or no?

Before and after shots: so often the go-to of aesthetics marketing. And rightly so. But proceed with caution. Many advertising platforms – Facebook and Instagram included – do not allow before and after shots in advertising material. They don’t even allow you to post an ad that links to a webpage that has before and after shots.

On platforms where you are able to advertise with before and after shots – such as Google and TikTok – you must follow strict rules about the retouching of images. Images are allowed to be edited, but you must not edit any part of the image that relates to the treatment that is being promoted.

For example: in an after shot showcasing a teeth whitening procedure, you cannot digitally manipulate the teeth to look whiter. But you can edit out the goldfish bowl behind the person you have photographed.

>> Using TikTok ads to grow your aesthetics clinic
>> Using Facebook ads to grow your aesthetics clinic
>> Using Instagram ads to grow your aesthetics clinic
>> Using Google ads to grow your aesthetics clinic

Use language appropriate of a clinician

Clarity of language is crucial when advertising aesthetic services. Accurately describe the treatments you are promoting, rather than using colloquialisms. For instance, using the words “lip job” downplays the treatment.

You should also take care to avoid language that could be perceived as playing on the insecurities of your audience. And no unrealistic claims – such as: “it will take 20 years off!”

No doubt your expertise can help people to look younger. You know that. We know that. But making unprovable claims is inviting trouble.

Don’t rush your audience into a decision

In marketing, creating a sense of urgency is a time-tested tactic to encourage action.
“While stocks last!”
“Everything must go!”
“Available until Friday only!”
But with medical aesthetics marketing, you have to be very careful how you use it. For instance, any promotions must be given a timeframe that’s long enough for your audience to make a balanced decision. Pushing promotions that are close to expiring is banned.

Show that you are properly qualified

You wouldn’t want just anyone taking a needle to your face for a dermal filler – and the authorities agree. That’s why you need to show that you are appropriately qualified to carry out the procedures you advertise. Rightly so.

Different platforms, different rules

If you are advertising on social media or any other digital platforms, be aware that they also have their own rules and regulations. Take care to check in with them before you start any campaign.
Here’s what they say:

>> TikTok advertising policies
>> Facebook advertising policies
>> Instagram advertising policies
>> Google advertising policies

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