Every day one can search Facebook groups and find a discussion on Smile Direct Club and orthodontics and see lots of emotions. Most are based on feel and not facts, so let’s see what’s really going on. This could be a really broad topic, but I’m gonna narrow it down.

Google trends allows us to see how often people are searching for certain terms. For instance, if I wanted to know how often people are searching for “orthodontist” in Google, I can enter it and here’s what I get:

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Note that this is a worldwide search (upper left) and the dot shows where I am in the search. It was Jan5th -11th 2014 and the “96” means that at that moment, people searched for Invisalign at 96% of the most they’ve ever searched for it, which comes later. But what if I want to see how often people have searched for orthodontist just in the US over the past 5 years? (I could search longer or shorter times if I wanted.)

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Looks pretty similar, right? By the way, those sharp upticks are always December 1st and they always rise higher than any other peaks before them and then drop a bit by the first of the year.  A little perplexing, right? But…let’s check “orthodontist” versus “Braces” in the US for the last five years just as a sort of control experiment to see what we get.

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Interesting. “Braces” (in red) hit its peak in July/2015 and always gets more searches than “orthodontist” and while it kind of parallels “orthodontist”, it often just does it’s own thing, so they aren’t necessarily tied, meaning that when people look for “braces” they aren’t necessarily looking at orthodontists too. Well, what about orthodontist and braces and “Invisalign”?

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One can see that “Orthodontist” and “Invisalign” parallel one another pretty well, yet as a search term, “Braces” still outpaces everything. So, let’s add “clear aligners” to the comparison. (I removed “braces just to clean things up a bit.)

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Now you can see that clear aligners and Invisalign are searched for at almost exactly the same rate at all times which, to me, is very interesting. So, I looked to see if that meant that “Clear Correct” also was in the same search amounts. (I removed “Orthodontist” again, to clean it up.) Here’s what I got:

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Sorry, Clear Correct but you don’t even show up more than a blip. You can also look by region and you’ll see that clear aligners were more commonly searched than Invisalign in most states.

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But, I was now interested to see the comparison of Invisalign and Smile Direct Club (Note: You can’t use “SDC” because there are so many groups that use SDC as their acronym that it skews the search. Ex: San Diego County, San Diego Charges, and among others, the interesting “SDC”, Swingers Date Club.) Here’s what I got:

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You can see that until Jan 2016, there was never even a search for Smile Direct Club, and if I want to see the percentages:

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You can see that as of this week, Smile Direct Club was searched for at 36% of the most that Invisalign was ever searched for. I call that awesome marketing. In just 18 months, SDC went from 0 to 36% of the most Invisalign was ever searched and Invisalign is only at 95% of that number right now. So, finally, let’s add “orthodontist” to the mix…

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Note that even with Smile Direct Club, “orthodontist” is still being search for at 97% of the most it’s ever been searched, so don’t think that SDC necessarily hurts people’s searching for orthodontists. It’s been said that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  But, I was thinking…

Smile Direct Club is really trying to hit a younger demographic, which loves Youtube, so let’s see the searches on Youtube for the same thing and see what we get (I shortened it to the last year so it would be easier to look at).

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In case you want to see the numbers, here they are:
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That’s right. “orthodontist” on Youtube has been searched “0”, nada, zilch, zip, gurnisht, while SDC and Invisalign are exactly the same. Here’s who goes on Youtube (as of late 2015).

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So, if you’re gonna complain that SDC isn’t good ortho or that it’s going away, this last chart shows that those who view Youtube (mostly ages 25-54) aren’t even looking for anything related to an orthodontist there. And here’s the kicker: When they look for “braces” they ain’t looking for an orthodontist.

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You can see that “Braces” outpaces everything on Youtube by a BIG margin.

This isn’t an analysis, but rather just a demonstration of the information at our fingertips and to show you that Smile Direct Club, love or hate it, and Invisalign are growing in popularity as search terms. You can ignore it, deny it or embrace it. I have no stance or suggestion what you should do. I’m just showing you information. You can make your own conclusions. So, no hate mail, OK?

Oh, and just for fun, just to show you how small we really are in the big scope of things, here’s Invisalign, Braces and “NFL” next to each other. Ummm, where did Invisalign and braces go? It’s so insignificant in regard to NFL searches that it can’t be seen.

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And as we zoom out and compare all three of these to the mother or internet searches, “porn”, here’s where the priorities of society really show up. You’ll see that people don’t really think about us very much….

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All the best,

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Glenn
If you’re not a member of our geographically exclusive OrthoPreneursRD Facebook page there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com or fill out the form below to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.ORTHO22final spot

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