The 2017 House of Delegates met April 21 and April 24 in San Diego. Among other resolutions, delegates voted to reduce the AAO Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) assessment for 2017-18 from $800 to $600 per actively practicing US member. (Active Canadian members pay 80 percent of the US assessment.) * The purpose of the assessment is to fund extensive paid advertising and public relations efforts throughout North America, designed to educate consumers about the superior qualifications of orthodontists to straighten teeth and align jaws.

The 2015 House of Delegates set the CAP assessment at $800 per active US or Canadian member for three years, beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal/dues year. The program’s current move to a digital focus will result in cost savings, however, which the HOD wished to pass on to members.

Consumer Awareness Program Intensifies Emphasis on Digital Marketing

In recent years, the AAO began incorporating digital advertising into the CAP, but continued a main focus on traditional media outlets.  So as to connect with today’s modern consumers, the CAP is now in the process of significantly expanding the AAO’s digital footprint via multiple strategies that will leverage largescale online opportunities – including, but not limited to:

● Updates to search engine optimization (SEO) and overall design for the consumer website;
● Expanding reach and content for improved social media marketing;
● Growing the overall search presence for AAO so as to be easily found in search results when consumers are conducting research on orthodontic care options;
● Development of new creative materials for online use.

More Than 1.5 Million Consumers Take Action After Viewing Facebook/Instagram Ad

New awareness ads targeting parents of children 5-17, and adults who have shown interest in braces or orthodontic treatment, are now launching on social media. The first video ad in the series focuses on the importance of direct, personal supervision of an orthodontist during treatment. The ad is part of the AAO’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of do-it-yourself orthodontics or at-home self-treatment.

During the ad’s first few weeks online, it was viewed by more than 3.5 million users, of whom more than 1.9 million demonstrated engagement by taking an action such as:

● Visiting the American Association of Orthodontists page for more info;
● Clicking through to visit the AAO consumer website,;
● Reacting to, commenting or sharing the ad.

April Sets Record For Highest Traffic On Consumer Website

The month of April set a record for the highest trafficked month on the consumer website, This includes the most sessions, the most visitors, and the most page views over all previous months on the site. With the Consumer Awareness Program’s new focus on digital marketing, the amount of traffic to this site is expected to increase greatly in the months to come. The highlight of the site is the “Find An Orthodontist” directory, where consumers can enter their location to receive a results page of AAO members near their address.

Look for details about the 2017-18 CAP program, which will include further digital expansion, in the June issue of the Practice Management Bulletin. Watch your in-box for eBulletin announcements of the continued CAP success.

Other 2017 House Resolutions Coming Soon

A complete report on key resolutions passed by the 2017 House of Delegates will appear in next week’s eBulletin and in the June Practice Management Bulletin.

* Life Active members pay 50 percent of the assessment for active members in their country. Full-time faculty members are exempt from paying the assessment. Recent graduates within the 1st year after graduation receive a 90 percent assessment discount; within the 2nd year a 75 percent discount; within the 3rd year a 50 percent discount; and within the 4th year a 25 percent discount.