Note: due to the rapidly transforming AI landscape, we should consider this page a “living document” that will be regularly updated to keep you abreast of how our team’s relationship with AI changes over time.
AI is everywhere. Seemingly overnight, it shifted from a relatively niche topic to the buzzword of choice in digital marketing – even in the educational space.
When you consider it, it’s not surprising. These latest AI tools and apps promise to revolutionize the way we do digital marketing and deliver results unlike never before.
At HEM, we’re no strangers to the changing digital landscape. From using specialized SEO tools for in-depth traffic insights to new video editing and graphic design software, we’ve always striven to be at the forefront of innovation in the digital marketing space for education.
AI certainly isn’t at the point where we can orchestrate and automate an entire marketing strategy with the click of a button. It can, however, be leveraged with human expertise in the hands of suitable operators to provide high-quality digital marketing results and create more opportunities for schools in their student recruitment efforts than ever before.
In the following post, we’ll walk you through how (and to what capacity) our digital marketing specialists leverage AI to support your school’s initiatives.
1. Our Teams Use AI and Related Tools for Research Purposes
AI and machine-learning tools can quickly scan, assess, and compile information – and sometimes do so much faster than human eyes.
HEM uses a select group of AI-powered tools that help our team improve the breadth of our research for various project deliverables and the time needed to deploy the deliverables.
These tools aid us by expanding ideas and options beyond our own research (such as finding additional keywords we might have overlooked) or giving us a head start on where to begin (such as providing outlines).
These tools also help us refine what we produce and can help cut down the time we spend on the more mundane aspects of research for campaign creation, auditing, and content creation (such as during our review and fine-tuning stages).
That said, where AI and similar tools have a weakness regarding research, it’s in deciding what is most important and relevant from the information it uncovers – and how to apply it to your school.
At present, AI tools cannot understand your schools the way people do – they aren’t aware of the nuances of your program offerings or USPs, and if relied on entirely for all their insights, they can (and will) generate false or irrelevant information.
Because of this, human specialists are needed for their expertise and knowledge to parse through any information provided by an AI researcher and decide what can be used as a building block, what can be used to polish, and what can be discarded.
As such, when doing research, we often leverage such tools to get us started – such as finding initial keywords to kickstart our process – or we use these tools to complete some tasks where they would benefit from additional insights – such as finding the right synonyms or other names for programs, related audience interests, and the like.
In sum, we benefit from the availability of AI when we research and use it as an assistant or initial guide when initiating projects.
2. Our Teams Leverage AI With Human Input to Create Compelling Ad Text and Micro-Content
At HEM, we’re no strangers to putting together compelling ad copy or messaging that piques the interest of potential students, wins our clients’ clicks, and ultimately leads to new conversions.
We know what works with written content and that there are specific “formulas” for writing compelling copy based on the specifics of each school, program, audience, and other factors that we glean from our conversations with our clients.
AI applications and other machine learning tools are able to produce short ad copy to specifications requested by its users and according to the best practices – and often at a much faster pace than humans could produce.
However, AI falters in producing specifics or USPs unique or relevant to your schools. No AI will ever understand your school, your offers, your target audience, or the humans taking the lead.
As such, when we use AI to help compose text such as ad copy, we use it as either an editing tool for reviewing existing text, creating a reference point for using character limits, summarizing longer pieces in a relevant manner, or for comparison between A/B varieties – and not as a first and final product which we ship to our clients.
We also use AI to help finalize and polish some text – such as producing hashtag suggestions, emoji choices for social media, synonyms for keywords, and the like – as AI tools are often readily aware of trends on the various platforms and help ensure we leave no stone unturned.
In sum, HEM’s teams continue to write human-first content which leverages insights from AI companions.
3. Our Graphic Designers May Leverage AI-Powered Tools and Assistants to Produce New Iterations of Existing Designs or to Kick-Start New Projects Where Video or Images are Used
Producing display and video collateral for schools is a different process today than 10 or even five years ago.
The graphic design and video editing tools that have become industry standards and which we use (such as Photoshop and Canva) all come with AI-assisted editing options in one form or another to help designers produce high-quality content more rapidly than before.
These tools and AI functions allow users to quickly automate many of the more mundane parts of design work, such as: replicating templates into different formats, setting up transitions for video files, polishing final edits, correcting imperfections, etc.
Our design work continues to be human-driven, with our designers leveraging the industry-standard tools available to us to allow our clients to retain control of their brand identity while deploying powerful, convincing designs directed to their target audiences.
In short, we are still in the stage where AI can create compelling (and brand-relevant) ad visuals, but AI can act as our designers’ assistants.
4. Our Coders Benefit From the Support of AI Assistants Who Review Code for Errors and Make Longer Form Coding More Automated
Coding is a language that requires meticulous attention and review to iron out possible bugs.
While HEM has a strong team of coders and programmers under its roof, with dozens of years of experience among them, even the most condensed code has the potential for error if a single character is mistyped.
AI coding assistants have gotten to the point where they can act as wingmen for programmers, reviewing code for possible conflicts and either suggesting edits or repairing the work on the fly.
A human specialist will still be needed to conceptualize and write the code, of course, as an AI cannot envision all the specifications of a given project. Nevertheless, AI can act as a thorough second set of eyes when it comes to helping ensure the stability of a project.
AI tools can also help coders complete some of the more mundane parts of coding, allowing programmers to focus more on the big picture and worry less about the little details and minutiae.
As such, all our code is human-directed and written, but we benefit from AI assistance in helping ensure that what we produce is of the highest quality possible.
5. Our team leverages the AI optimization options already offered through all major advertising platforms.
Most of the major advertising platforms already have built-in AI features that can be leveraged by marketers to improve overall performance and ROIs. This is as true for education as it is for other sectors.
Here are some of the ways that our team leverages the built-in AI and machine-learning features of the advertising platforms we use:
- On Google Ads, AI is primarily used to automate different bidding strategies. In the past, all bids were placed manually and updated on a regular basis, but now Google’s own machine-learning is able to handle this optimization faster and more efficiently than manual bids. It’s not a perfect system, as our team regularly A/B tests different automated bidding strategies to find the one that delivers the strongest results.
- On Meta Ads, the platform’s built-in algorithm is used by our team to determine the best placements for each ad being served. While we exclude several formats that are not relevant to most schools (such as shopping placement), we leverage Meta’s AI to determine when and where most regular ads should be shown across both Facebook and Instagram. Over the course of regular optimizations, our team reviews the data and A/B tests adding or removing other placements manually in order to maximize performance and the synergy between our team and the AI’s insights.
In summation – HEM continues to be a specialist-led digital marketing agency specializing in education that leverages the latest tools and technology to deliver the best results possible for our clients.
We’re all discovering this new world of AI together, and here at HEM, we’ll do our best to share our insights with our audiences.
As such, this page is a hub – an entry point into our shared journey into AI.
When we come across breakthroughs or other updates worthy of sharing, we will update this page (and likely post about it elsewhere, such as on our blog or LinkedIn page – worth following).
If you have any questions about our use of AI or how AI might impact your school’s marketing or internal workflows, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we can contact one of our in-house AI experts.
Additional AI Content
HEM’s research into AI’s potential uses and benefits for education marketing is ongoing. As our team compiles new findings and best practices for using AI, we will be updating the section below with links to additional relevant content.