The only mass advertising campaign promoting orthodontists as specialists and educating the public to see an orthodontist in person, the all-digital AAO Consumer Awareness Program engages viewers to learn more by clicking to visit the AAO consumer website, .

CAP FY24 Performance Metrics (June 1, 2023 – May 31, 2024):  

  • 1.2+ billion impressions (views) achieved – CAP ads appear across platforms like Google display, Paid Search on Google and Bing, YouTube online video, Facebook, and Instagram.  
  • Over 143 million video views – a 70% increase over FY 2023.
  • 14 million-plus+ ad clicks – an 80% increase over last year.  
  • 15 million consumer website page views – a 15% increase over last year 
  • 10 million users to the AAO consumer site (the highest recorded for the AAO) and 2.6 million visits to the site’s Find an Orthodontist locator

 The AAO’s digital media agency, Steady Rain, helped drive significant improvements in key CAP metrics including those listed above. The budget for the CAP was consistent with last year, with accomplishments driven by effective media buying and strong consumer engagement with AAO creative campaigns resulting in lower cost per user. 

AAO staff monitor the agency dashboard daily, meet with the agency bi-weekly, and provide frequent reports to the AAO Council on Communication (COC), which oversees the CAP.

The efficiency of investment in the CAP increased as Steady Rain and the COC worked with AAO staff to improve search engine optimization (SEO). Throughout the last fiscal year, Steady Rain worked closely with the COC’s website sub-committee and AAO staff to enhance and refine landing page content, improving search engine optimization (SEO). Initiatives included development of new content for the site’s Smile Insights blog, updated technical functionality and improved integration of site content.  

New creative campaigns and public information initiatives also brought success to the CAP during FY24, with consumer-targeted activities including:

Media Outreach Following the SmileDirectClub Closure: In December 2023, the AAO distributed media advisories and press releases to provide key messages about patient health and safety as related to mail-order orthodontics.

We offered guidance to SDC customers, shared the risks associated with other mail-order orthodontic companies and stressed the importance of both an in-person examination and X-rays before starting any orthodontic treatment. As a result, over 672 stories ran based on AAO representative interviews and combined with press release publication by many media outlets, generated more than 41 billion potential views (based on reported individual outlet viewers).

Straight Talk Campaign: Straight Talk rolled out in May 2023 and continued through April 2024. Aimed at educating consumers while dispelling common myths about orthodontics, the campaign featured real orthodontists who delivered straightforward insights and tackled common consumer misconceptions.  

Topics included the best age to take your child to an orthodontist, myths about baby teeth and how an in-person exam enables an orthodontist to develop and ideal, customized treatment plan for a patient.

The Holderness Family Collaboration: A well-known influencer family with over 6 million subscribers on Facebook and YouTube collaborated with the AAO on a video and blog post about the importance of seeing an orthodontist.

The video, titled “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait,” is a heartwarming and relatable portrayal of how braces can be a rite of passage for many teenagers and how they can help improve smiles, bite, and self-confidence. The video was seen by over 1.2 million users across social media channels and received very positive feedback.

Taryn Newton, Influencer Program: Our collaboration with this influencer launched in mid-February 2024. Her audience is 99% women in our target demographic, women aged 25-44.

Taryn is a mom of five kids, aged 1 to 17, with an Instagram following over 1 million. She created a series of engaging Instagram posts informing her followers of the importance of seeing an orthodontist by age 7, increasing brand awareness for the AAO, and helping drive traffic to the consumer website.

The AAO was featured in multiple Instagram stories and posts and in Taryn’s newsletter, which is emailed weekly to her subscribers. Her AAO Instagram posts received overwhelming engagement from followers – the most of any campaign that she has ever done.

Mewing Awareness, Turtles Partnership and Bullying Bites: Short- term campaigns during 2023-24 included:

Mewing: An old TikTok trend emerged as the subject of a Netflix launch in January. This practice, based on a theory and practice to reshape jaws, was developed by an orthodontist but not based on scientific evidence and research. An AAO consumer blog, organic social media posts, press releases, and paid search keyword terms helped educate consumers on this topic. From January 16-31, 2024, the press release had 369 total mentions, garnering more than 1.5 million potential audience impressions.  
Bullying Bites: For the fifth year, the AAO’s #BullyingBites campaign coincided with National Bullying Prevention Month. This initiative empowers both members and patients to act by creating awareness and spreading the message of kindness. The campaign saw a surge in engagement, with over 65,000+ social media impressions.  
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Partnership: AAO partnered with Paramount Pictures and the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The AAO created resources for members to use in their marketing outreach and social media, raising awareness about the importance of orthodontic treatment and portraying braces as trendy and approachable, particularly among children and teenagers. 

Science of Smiles Campaign: Launched in April 2024, the Science of Smiles campaign positions orthodontists as the ultimate authority through a series of engaging and educational videos. The campaign highlights orthodontists’ unique education and training and establishes them as the go-to experts, sought after for exceptional knowledge and skill in straightening teeth and aligning bites.

This campaign, while still new, is seeing impressive results in all paid digital channels from its recent launch of videos addressing why in-person X-rays and consultations matter, and questions about the cost of braces.

The next videos in the series are set to launch soon. Watch the eBulletin in early July to learn more.