One of the great things about digital marketing for healthcare businesses is that it’s continuously evolving and changing. 

That’s great if your job is to know, learn and constantly improve – and you live and breathe it!!

It’s not so great if you’re running a healthcare business, running Facebook ads for your clinic and trying to keep up to date with the nuances of each advertising platform – as well as being a committed clinician delivering excellent care and outcomes for your patients.

If you’re having trouble keeping up, then read on – in this blog post, we’ll help you understand the latest changes to Facebook targeting and what you need to keep in mind to be successful in 2023.

What’s changed about Facebook ads in 2022

Back in January 2022, Facebook changed the detailed ad targeting options inside the Facebook ads manager that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive. 

These include referencing causes, organisations, or public figures related to health conditions, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

Thousands of options were removed, although these weren’t based on people’s physical characteristics or personal attributes but things like their interactions with content on Facebook instead.

Why has Facebook targeting changed?

These targeting changes are in response to evolving data regulations, new privacy-enhancing technologies, and a global shift towards increased data-sharing restrictions. 

It’s part of a broader data trend as other tech giants move towards increased privacy for their users, and that’s why the Facebook ads changes have been inevitable. 

Facebook is trying to balance the needs of its advertisers with the protection of its users. However, the problem is more complex.

Facebook wants to deliver the best experience possible to get even more active and engaged user accounts. The most effective ads with the highest relevance provide that experience. 

When you see an ad that is highly relevant to you, it feels like useful information to help solve a problem or achieve a desire you have – and not a piece of advertising. 

But to make ads relevant and improve your experience, specific targeting options need to be available to Facebook advertisers.

What does Facebook say?

In Facebook’s own words…

“We’ve heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups… We feel confident that we can evolve our ads system to meet the needs of everyone we serve while working diligently to continue supporting one of the best things about our platforms – helping people connect with and discover the businesses and organisations they care about.”

You can read the full statement here.

How do the changes in Facebook targeting affect marketing for healthcare businesses in 2023?

As a healthcare business, the first thing that probably caught your attention is the change to targeting around ‘health causes’.

But the good news is there’s no need to worry.

We don’t use targeting around health causes in our campaigns, and you shouldn’t either. 

Instead, we keep our targeting very broad. The magic happens when we spend time crafting highly effective ads built on proven marketing principles, and then we let Facebook’s Algorithm get to work.

So, if you’re running your own Facebook ads, keep your targeting broad. 

For example, with regular monthly Invisalign ads, don’t worry too much about custom audiences and keep it simple:

facebook targetting

Gender: Female

Age: 20 – 55

Location Radius: 1 mile for big cities like central London, 10 miles for more rural areas.

Device: Mobile only


Can Facebook ads for your clinic still be profitable?

Yes! Your ad spend will be unaffected by these reduced targeting options.

Facebook ad campaigns that are effectively designed can reach the correct audience that healthcare practices desire.

Healthcare businesses are local businesses, and you can use Facebook ads for advertising in your local area, allowing you to engage with the people nearby who are interested in your treatments.

With the right strategy, the Facebook ads manager and business manager provide the right tools and ad targeting options you need for attracting first-time patients who may not already know about your practice.

It’s crucial for healthcare providers to advertise on platforms used by their target audience.

With 2.9 billion active users on Facebook, the new patients you want are likely using the platform daily, meaning there is potential for you to reach them there. 

Facebook users have already shown a preference for using the platform to get information and interact with businesses they like.

As ever, successful Facebook ads are based on solid foundations. So here are our top 6 tips for the most profitable campaigns and the treatment uptake you want.

Top 6 tips for running profitable Facebook ads

Top 6 tips for running profitable Facebook ads for your clinic scaled

#1 Write ads that resonate with human problems, needs or aspirations

Patients want to see how you can help them – not a menu of services you offer, so write about that in your ads. Make sure your ad sets you apart – don’t talk about yourself – talk about how you can help achieve what your patients want.

#2 Don’t be vague

At the end of the day, Facebook advertisers want people to click on their ad, so you’ve got to make it clear who your offer is for, the value you will deliver for them (that’s the transformational improvement they’ll receive) and where to click to get it! (that’s your Call To Action or CTA).

#3 Have a good hook or offer

Example of Facebook ads for your clinic

Highly effective Facebook advertising is built around strong offers that people want (rather than something you feel like offering). The offer should be crafted depending on the type of campaign you are running.

For monthly campaigns, for example, we recommend offering a free consultation, which builds value. 

Whereas for Open Days, we recommend building a package of discounts based on what your clinic most likely includes in the treatment package already.

#4 Never use stock images

People don’t relate well to stock images in your ad set – they don’t look or feel authentic, which will be a barrier to the effectiveness of your ads. Actual pictures of real people work best, so always use images of your team or patients (with permission!).

#5 Don’t resort to heavy discounting

Example 2 of Facebook ads for your clinic

Heavy discounting attracts those who just want the lowest price – and that’s a race you don’t want to win – so why even try? 

For the right kind of new patient, an offer to make a saving on your usual bundle of related treatments or products will be enough. 

But you must articulate the value of that bundle by assigning a value in pounds next to each item.

#6 Have a good online presence

Having a well-populated Facebook page will give potential new patients confidence to go ahead and book in for a consultation at your practice. 

The great thing is that it costs nothing to have an excellent online presence that will boost your credibility, other than some time and consistency.

Continuing to reach your audience

Facebook is a mammoth social media platform that’s trying to stay in step with public sentiment and expectations around privacy – especially regarding its ad platforms.

While many targeting options are being removed, the good news is that it’s pretty much business as usual for the healthcare businesses we serve.

Despite the new privacy-enhancing technologies and regulations, if you stick to getting the fundamentals right, you’ll set yourself up for continued success.

For the clinics we help, that’s:

  • getting more patients who want the treatments the clinicians enjoy doing the most
  • getting those who value their skills
  • attracting those that want to pay them what they’re worth

For more great content, head on to our blog and video series.

If you need help growing your healthcare practice using the full power of the Facebook ad platform, just book a free strategy call with one of our experienced growth experts here.

Additional Resources:

8 essential ingredients of a winning Invisalign open day ad

7 key Facebook ad metrics to track performance for your clinic

Google ads vs Facebook ads – Which is better for your clinic in 2023?