AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
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89th Annual Meeting Abstracts

Who is Communicating Best with the Cosmetic Marketplace? A Detailed Analysis of Traffic Through the Internet Sites of Cosmetic Practitioners of Different Training Backgrounds
Matthew C. Camp, MD1, Wendy W. Wong, MD1, Jason L. Mussman, MD1, Subhas Gupta, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS2.
1Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA, 2Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, USA.

PURPOSE: Cosmetic surgery has in recent years seen an influx of practitioners from other fields of training. Many of these new providers are knowledgeable in marketing and public relations, and are beginning to attract a surprisingly large amount of cosmetic patient care. The purpose of this study is to measure the amount of traffic being attracted to the web sites of individual practitioners and organizations vying for cosmetic patients. This study investigates the trends of the past 12 months, and identifies changes of special concern to plastic surgeons.
METHODS: The web sites of 1,307 cosmetic providers were monitored over a year’s time. Web activity of two million individuals loaded with a self reporting software package was recorded and analyzed. The web sites were categorized according to the specialty training of the site owner, and total unique hits per month were tallied of the most prominent specialties. The dominant web sites were closely scrutinized, and web optimization strategies used by each were examined in detail.
RESULTS: There is a tremendous amount of web activity regarding cosmetic procedures, and the amount of traffic on the most popular sites is continuing to grow. Overall, in the last year the web sites of plastic surgeons have increased their reach by 10%, growing from 200K to approximately 220K unique visitors a month. We remain the profession with the largest number of web visitors a month. However, when combined, the web sites of all other providers of cosmetic treatments have outpaced our growth significantly. The traffic going to non-plastic surgeons has grown by 50% - 200K visitors a month in September of 2008 to 300K visitors a month in September of 2009.
CONCLUSION: In this time of flux in to the provider pool of aesthetic services, communication with the public is of utmost importance. The web has become the single most important source that consumers use for easy access to information. It is critical that we remain the authority in dispensation of information regarding the services that plastic surgeons provide. If we do not act now, our message risks being drowned out by the maelstrom of our competitors.

Figure 1: Number of monthly visitors to private web sites of cosmetic practitioners according to professional training background.

Figure 2: Number of monthly visitors to the web sites of plastic surgery vs non-plastic surgery trained cosmetic practitioners over a one year period.


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