The world of marketing has changed a lot from the “Mad Men” era just a few decades ago. The advent of digital marketing brought a more extreme focus on numbers, data & measurable ROI – going beyond a marketer’s creative insights and inspiration, but leaning on data to inform decisions. In today’s world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken that one step further. AI is being used more and more in our daily lives, and it’s impacting the job we do as marketers.
And really - what more could we ask for? If you ask us, having the numbers to back a creative decision is a win-win.
Here are 4 areas where AI is making waves in marketing, and what it means for us as education marketers.
1. Hyper Segmentation & Personalisation
With AI programs, we can capture more data than ever before. With more data available about our potential customers, more connections can be found – connections that we humans may never have made These connections mean that marketers can create hyper-segmented groups within their target audience. We can accurately identify which groups are most likely to convert into customers, and which ones we would need to nurture further. These insights are crucial for the success of any funnel-based campaign, but we didn’t need to tell you that.
The ability to break a target audience into small, hyper-focused, and segmented groups means that as marketers, we can now speak to each of these audience groups personally and connect with them on a deeper level. Websites can be personalized based on a specific user’s past behaviors and demographics. For example, a university course page can be personalized for international prospects. These prospects can be shown more information about the visa process and requirements, or photos about the city and city life around the campus (information that would not be relevant for local students).
Marketers can also engage with prospects differently based on their past actions on the site. Engaged visitors can be shown more obvious CTAs, while prospects who fall into segments that suggest they are less ready to convert can be shown educational content, helping inform their decisions and providing value (before asking for the conversion). Emails can also be triggered based on different user behaviors. By personalizing how we interact with individual micro-segments of our audience, we can engage them effectively and improve conversions. Sounds good, right?
2. Content Discovery
Content discovery algorithms guide almost everything we see online – from Netflix to YouTube to social media platforms. And as AI improves, these algorithms are getting better than ever at showing content that users are looking for.
What does this mean for marketers? Well, it means that we need to create content that truly drives value and engages with our audience. We can’t beat the algorithms and force-feed our content to our audience. The way to get our content seen by our audience is to make sure it is wanted – content that our audience will engage with and deem valuable – so that the discovery algorithms will show it.
The same applies to search ranking algorithms. Gone are the days when a marketer could write an article with their target keyword repeated throughout, and expect it to show up on the first page of Google. Google is getting better at showing content that is relevant for their search users and answers the questions their users are looking for. This means that if we want our content to show up on Google, we need to write content that does that. Write for the end user, not for the bots.
3. Content creation
AI is getting better and better at creating content. Bots are now creating stories, paintings, music, and more. In the marketing world, AI bots are now able to create content – blog posts, landing pages, email newsletters, ad copy, you name it.
That said, the current state of AI content is nowhere near perfect yet. It is improving, but AI-created content sometimes makes some mistakes and still sounds unnatural. What it lacks in empathy and tone - it makes up for in efficiency, and for marketers in a pinch - that might be just what is needed.
While we wouldn’t recommend using an AI bot to create full-fledged blog posts, AI content creation tools can still help make marketers’ lives easier. These tools can help with coming up with ideas, speed up research, and can even be useful in generating first drafts. This means we’re able to create content more efficiently.
4. Maximising ROI of paid ads
Every marketer wants to generate a strong ROI. At the end of the day, that’s the main goal of our job. This is especially true when it comes to paid channels.
When we’re putting money into marketing, we want to make sure that money is put to the best use possible.
AI tools can help with optimizing your bids and spending on ad platforms. Every major ad platform already has these AI optimizations built in. In Google Ads, for example, you can select fully automated bid strategies to Maximize Conversions or to Maximize Clicks (amongst other goals). If you want to dive deeper, you can also use tools such as Albert.ai, which uses AI to identify ways to optimize ad spend and budget allocation, and even find new audiences.
As we test a wide range of ads (AI can help create these ads at scale), AI can also be used to determine which ads work best. These tools can help break down an ad into different creative elements (for example the background color, the length of time before the brand is shown, or the music used in the background of a video) and determine how each of those aspects impact performance. This allows marketers to optimize creatives at scale.
AI is changing marketing and advertising in many ways – these are just a few of the crucial impacts. As marketers, we don’t need to be able to build our own AI software, but we should be aware of the tools available and how they work, so we can make the most of them.