These Brands Are Using Instagram to Dominate the Aesthetics Market

Instagram Ads for Enhancement Products Demonstrate Industry Trends

Aesthetic services are notoriously difficult to advertise online. Facebook and Instagram heavily censor ads for most cosmetic enhancements. Google has certain censorship guidelines that limit plastic surgery promotions. And, for most aesthetic brands, finding creative ways to side-step these limitations can be both necessary and grueling.

On the other hand, direct-to-consumer enhancement products seem to have a much easier time with digital promotions. In the last few years, a growing number of trendy new brands have come to dominate the aesthetics market through Instagram ads targeting a mostly Millennial audience. These brands are doing tremendously well using Instagram as one of their primary promotional platforms.

The products that are seemingly blowing up overnight on Instagram are fairly telling of the ongoing trends in the overarching aesthetics industry. They demonstrate an increased interest in more natural and subtle approaches to beautification, a growing Millennial consumer-base, and a desire to be able to try less-permanent approaches to enhancement. Still, regardless of what types of aesthetic-based products or services you offer, it's certainly worthwhile to check out some of these successful marketing tactics to emulate and learn from.

Your Smile Direct (@yoursmiledirect) - 38.3K followers - Raised $2.5M by 2018

Your Smile Direct offers a direct-to-consumer version of the traditional invisible orthodontics at a slightly lower cost than the industry leaders like Invisalign. Their Instagram posts often feature models who use their product referred to endearingly as "Our Smilers". Rather than spend their entire budget on influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, Your Smile Direct appears to focus on gaining traction with smaller-scale partnerships like the one shown above. Their posts are overwhelmingly positive, bright, consistently-branded, and oriented toward a youthful and energetic audience.

SmileDirectClub (@smiledirectclub) - 262k followers - Valued at $3.2B in 2018


While Your Smile Direct is doing decently well in the UK and Europe, SmileDirectClub is rapidly growing in the US and Canada market. They're offering a similar direct-to-consumer and competitively priced version of invisible retainers and have seen some remarkable growth in the last year. Their Instagram ads are animated, colorful, and give a quick narrative-based tutorial on how the at-home retainer process works. Instagram scrollers can easily watch their ads with the sound off and immediately recognize what they're selling and why they should be interested.

Candid Co. (@livecandid) - 33.2k followers - $15M Raised by 2018


Another competitively priced direct-to-consumer invisible retainer company, Candid Co. has a very active and well-branded Instagram presence. In this screenshot from one of their ads shown above, a Candid Co. customer gives a brief and heartfelt testimonial about his successful use of their product. The ad features easy-to-follow subtitles (for those with the sound off), a simple and personalized approach, and an overall feeling of natural, genuine satisfaction with a clear target audience involving the growing Millennial male cosmetics consumer-base.

HiSmile (@hismileteeth) - 1M followers - $100M in revenue in 2018


HiSmile is a rapidly growing direct-to-consumer teeth whitening brand with an incredibly successful marketing approach. The two twenty-something founders attribute much of their growth to aggressive social media advertising campaigns that have relied heavily on big-hitting influencers like Kylie and Kendall Jenner. They have stated that their Instagram strategy involves finding under-utilized pockets in the platform where they can insert their brand and dominate the competition. The screenshots from the ad above demonstrate how their promotional content is humorous, simple, and ultimately relatable for their young and fast-paced audience.

hims (@hims) - 55.1k Followers - Valued at $200M as of 2018

hims is a direct-to-consumer startup that focuses on products for erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and skin care. They've become known as the "Viagra for Millennials" and are a part of a growing trend that's making ED & hair loss socially acceptable for younger men to talk about and treat. With that in mind, hims generates social media content with a youthful and often humorous touch, making use of eggplant emojis and popular memes. The post shown above uses a simple and clever animation that depicts ED pill expanding until it breaks out of its frame. It's short, funny, well-branded, and sticks to their overarching approach of using humor to create a positive outlook to a somewhat embarrassing or unnecessarily serious situation.

Birchbox (@birchboxman) - 33.6k Followers - Valued at $485M as of 2018

Birchbox is capitalizing on the growing Millennial male consumer-base that are seeking beautification products with a masculine touch. They aggregate cosmetic products based on treatment type and deliver them via a subscription model directly to their customers. Birchbox understands that their younger male audience desires quality enhancement-based merchandise but would rather have the research and curation done for them. They also have a somewhat unique opportunity (similar to aesthetic service providers) to leverage their partnerships with other companies in order to optimize their social media efforts. The screenshot above demonstrates their simple, educational, and brand-aggregated approach to content generation.

Tips for Upping Your Brand's Insta-game

Know your audience and engage with them. Understanding what types of people are most likely to purchase your products or services is absolutely vital to creating successful Instagram marketing strategies. Before you can craft the most clever and exciting ads, you need to do some research and determine exactly who you want to click on them. You should also do your best to constantly engage with your audience whenever possible. The majority of the successful Instagram-brands listed above don't let any messages, comments, likes, or shares go unanswered.

Create fun, engaging, and shareable content. Regardless of who your audience is, you're going to want to make ads that people enjoy looking at, clicking on, and even sharing (if possible). Creating viral content is not an easy feat, but aiming for posts that are remarkable rather than just simply informative is a good place to start.

Be open to experimentation. Don't just stick to the plan if it doesn't seem to be working. Always be willing to spend a decent amount of your advertising budget on experimental approaches. Just remember to keep track of which tactics work and which don't, and then be ready to amplify your efforts based on the successes.

Make use of (micro) influencers if you can. Marketing on Instagram is primarily driven by influencer activity. Some of these "brand ambassadors" can make hundreds of thousands of dollars per sponsored post! A lot of smaller businesses don't realize that you can still utilize influencers without spending your entire marketing budget. Try finding smaller, more localized users with enough followers to generate traffic but not enough to break your bank. These "micro-influencers" are perfect for promoting your brand on a budget and have the potential to be incredibly effective.  

Add predictive imaging technology to your marketing toolkit. Using New Look Now's predictive imaging technology is an excellent way to optimize your Instagram promotions and make your aesthetic brand stand out amongst the rest. With New Look Now, potential patients can scroll through their news feed, click on your ad, and easily upload a photo to "try on" any treatment that you offer. You can use the "Try On" language as a call-to-action (proven to increase clicks for a variety of practice types) and create fun and exciting advertisements that your audience will actually want to interact with.

New Look Now's predictive imaging technology can be used in all of your digital marketing content and is proven to increase lead generation, improve consultation-to-treatment conversion rates, and boost overall revenue for aesthetic service providers. With a New Look Now account, you can easily link your uniquely branded photo-upload page within your outgoing emails, banner ads, website content, social media posts, or anywhere else you see fit. It's an engaging and educational way to get patients excited about the treatments that you offer, whether you're focused on hair restoration, periodontists, plastic surgery, or even direct-to-consumer enhancement products.

Sample Instagram post for “trying on” Rhinoplasty with New Look Now’s predictive imaging technology

Sample Instagram post for “trying on” Rhinoplasty with New Look Now’s predictive imaging technology

Want to learn more? Click here to schedule a one-on-one meeting with our Senior Sales Executive, Ashton Leavitt.