Using Instagram ads to grow your aesthetics clinic

Welcome to the aesthetic world of Instagram advertising. A place where it’s easy to reach out to people who are local to your clinic and likely to be interested in your treatments – increasing your chances of getting new customers through the door.

Instagram is a big platform with a big audience – and a big chance of finding the kind of people your business depends on: new customers.  

This is an article about how you can use Instagram to go beyond follows, likes and comments – and drive new customers to the front door of your clinic. We will also reveal how Instagram can act as a gateway to an even wider audience.

Let’s dive in.

One quick thing, before we begin…

What if we told you that it’s possible to use Instagram ads in a way that practically guarantees a positive return on your ad spend? Let us show you how – it won’t cost you a penny. Interested? Find out more here.

Okay let’s get moving.

“The digital strategy the Adbetter team created for us immediately started paying for itself several times over in just the first month, by delivering significant new customer revenue. It also has allowed us to open up our customer base to new audiences that I never thought would be our target audience.”

Kiana Djazeb, Director & Founder, Snatch & Glow

What are Instagram ads?

Let’s start with the fundamentals. Instagram ads are image based or video based content that you can use to promote your clinic to Instagram users who don’t already follow you. Ads are displayed in the feed, in Stories and alongside content discovered via the Explore page.

And they get results.

In a survey of Instagram users, 83% of people had discovered new products or services through the platform. Your ad can take several formats. And you can select from a wide selection of campaign objectives that will help your ad to achieve the desired outcome.

Format: what sort of ad will you post?

From static images to 60-minute videos – your ad can take many different forms. In-feed ads tend to look similar to normal posts, but include a “sponsored” label to show they’re an ad.

  • Image ads: Single image ads. Nice and simple. You can also include a headline, a description and a call to action (CTA). They’re good for campaigns with a single, clear message or strong visual content – and are the closest you can get to regular Instagram posts.
  • Stories ads: These are full-screen images or videos ads that appear between users’ Stories. Stories are a popular part of the platform, with over 500 million Instagram users viewing Stories every day. Due to taking up the full screen, these ads are more immersive than in-feed ads.
  • Carousel ads: With a carousel ad you can show up to ten images in sequence – each with the potential to have its own headline, description and CTA. Carousel ads are a great choice for showcasing a series of services or treatments.
  • Video ads: These videos appear in a user’s feed and can be up to 60 minutes in length. However Instagram recommends keeping video ads below the one-minute mark.
  • Explore ads: Explore ads appear within the Explore area of the app – shown after a user clicks on a photo or video. With 50% of Instagram users opening the explore page every month, it’s a great place to promote your brand alongside trending content tailored to individual users.

Objective: what do you want your ad to achieve?

When creating your ad, Instagram allows you to specify the outcome you are hoping to achieve.

  • Brand awareness: Increase awareness of your aesthetic clinic and treatments.
  • Reach: Get your brand in front of as many new people as possible.
  • Traffic: Drive clicks to your website or any other URL.
  • Video views: Get video views from users most likely to be interested in the content.
  • Lead generation: Gather personal info from interested users (such as email addresses).
  • Messages: Encourage users to send a message to your brand account.

Call to action: give your users a nudge

Your ad will appear with a call to action: a short statement encouraging your audience to do something. There are several options to choose from – including:

  • Contact us
  • Book now
  • Send message
  • Check availability

What audience can you reach with Instagram ads?

Instagram puts an audience of 1.44 billion in the palm of your hand. And thanks to the platform’s powerful audience targeting tools, you have the opportunity to sift out the users who are local to your clinic and likely to be interested in your services.

Audience characteristics you can work into your targeting include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Connections
  • Relationship status
  • Education
  • Online behaviour

…and an awful lot more.

By defining audience criteria, a crowd of 1.44 billion can quickly shrink to a few thousand. That’s a good thing. Because when you know who your audience is, it’s easier to craft a message that gets their attention. 

As you run an aesthetics clinic, it makes sense to get specific about the location of your target audience. And you can get hyperlocal – promoting your ad to users within a small radius of your clinic. You may also wish to target users with interests such as skincare, beauty and cosmetics.

Give yourself time to experiment with the audience targeting options.

And remember: the more targeted, the better.

First Instagram, then (37% of) the world!

Instagram is owned by Meta, who also own Facebook – a platform with 2.96 billion monthly active users (or roughly 37% of the world’s population). And once you are advertising on Instagram, you have the option to run your ads on Facebook too – further increasing your chances of audience exposure.

If you do decide to fire your campaign across both platforms, an algorithm shared between platforms will track your ad performance and serve it where it’s receiving the highest engagement. A little more buck, yes. But plenty of extra bang in return.

How much do Instagram ads cost?

Your treatments help people to feel like a million dollars. Unfortunately you don’t get to charge them that. The good news is that you don’t need a bulging bank account to get started – and get results – with Instagram ads.  

The precise cost of running your ad will depend on factors such as:

  • The type of audience you are targeting
  • Where your ad is placed
  • The duration of your campaign
  • The competitiveness of your industry
  • Time of day
  • Time of year

However, it’s worth knowing that you could get started for less than many people spend on coffee each day. Not bad for the opportunity to connect directly with people likely to be interested in your clinic’s services.

What sort of imagery should you use?

Yes, Instagram is a photo sharing platform. No, you don’t have to be a photography expert. A photos-first platform like Instagram is a great place for promoting aesthetic services – giving you the chance to showcase the kind of results that you can provide for your clients.

Here are some content ideas.

  • Walkthroughs of specific treatments summarising the process and the results
  • Photos of clients who have received a treatment
  • A video compilation that reveals a day in the life of an aesthetic specialist
  • Bust some of the myths about certain treatments or call out bad practice
  • Interviews where previous customers talk about treatments they have received

Remember that people don’t open Instagram to look at ads. You only have around 1.5 seconds – sometimes less – to pique the curiosity of your audience. So keep things short, sharp and punchy, with a clear message that addresses the likely ambitions or doubts of your audience.

Experiment with a mix of image-based ads and video-based ads. Try variants that are less polished and a little rough around the edges. Social media users are becoming increasingly blind to ‘polished’ ads, and the trend is towards user generated content that feels real and authentic. The less “ad-like” your ad feels, the better.

Stay away from stock images. You have a smartphone at your fingertips that enables you to snap quality images within a matter of seconds. It’s far preferable to have imagery that is totally unique and authentically yours. You can also turn any of your existing Instagram posts into an ad.

Finally, it helps to keep your ads focused on a specific treatment – rather than a general promotion of your clinic. As we noted in the previous section, keeping things targeted is generally good for conversion.

>> Clinical photography tips for aesthetic professionals

>> How to grow your medical aesthetics business with marketing

A/B testing: find your best ads by magic

If you haven’t yet heard of A/B split testing, get ready to meet the best friend of your ad spend.

Let’s say your ad consists of four elements:

  • Image
  • Headline
  • Description
  • CTA

Instagram allows you to create several variants for each element. By doing so you can quickly create an ad with hundreds of possible variants. Instagram’s algorithm will then test the variants on a small subsection of your audience to see which are most effective at driving engagement. Based on the results, the best-performing variants will then be preferentially served to the rest of your audience – boosting the chances of your ad getting the results you are hoping for.

A good tip is to keep the visual element of your ad to a size of 1080 x 1080 pixels. This image size works across the vast majority of ad placements across both Instagram and Facebook, maximising your chances of exposure from a single ad.

Retargeting: play the long game

Retargeting focuses on people who have previously engaged with your website, your social pages, or one of your previous ads. Let’s say they clicked a link or completed a form. These users are clearly interested in your services. But they may not be ready to make a booking with you just yet. With a retargeting campaign, you can serve them new ad content that builds sustained awareness of your brand and nudges them over the line to conversion.

Rules and regulations for Instagram ads

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 Instagram ads. Especially when promoting aesthetic treatments. For instance, while before and after shots have long been the hallmark of promoting cosmetic services, they are banned from Instagram. Even driving traffic from your ad to a page that shows before and after shots can get you into trouble.

Here are some additional tips for ensuring your ads are approved quickly, and avoiding a regulatory wrap on the knuckles:

  • Make sure your language is as clear as possible
  • Make it clear that your cosmetic procedures are not medical procedures
  • Don’t make any unrealistic claims – e.g. “it will take 20 years off!”
  • Talk about the nuances of each treatment – e.g. there’s more than one type of filler procedure
  • When editing images of your client following a treatment, you cannot alter the part of the image showing the results of the procedure

For a more detailed explainer:

>> Ad regulations for medical aesthetic clinics

Are you ready to build more revenue for your clinic?

To really make the most of your ad spend and drive revenue for your business, a few extra steps are required. You need to monitor the performance of your campaign and allow yourself to be driven by data – doubling down on the strategies that work, and ditching the strategies that don’t.

Or you could let us do it for you.

At Adbetter we have proven customer generation strategies for Instagram – and we can share them with you. Maybe. You see, we only work with businesses where we are 100% sure we can deliver new customers and revenue growth. No secretive processes. No confusing marketing terminology. Just full management of your campaigns – and an easy to understand live reporting dashboard showing the impact we are making. Could it work for you? Find out with a no-obligation, fee-free proposal. Let’s go.