Digital marketing in education: Trends to track in 2024

Digital marketing in education: Trends to track in 2024

By Grace Brennan

The New Year brings more than resolutions for marketeers – it’s a time to dive into the latest tools, trends, and tips to stay relevant and engaging in the coming 12 months. 

The marketing space is more competitive than ever, with more voices battling for people’s attention. 

Cutting through the noise is much like a new January gym membership, it requires perseverance and help from experts.

We’ve spoken to some of the most experienced marketeers, asking them to share their insights for the year ahead. From the most innovative platforms, dynamic content, and impactful toolboxes, these are the marketing trends to prioritise in 2024.

1. Strategic use of AI will see bigger ROI for content

George Chilton, Creative Director at Hubbub Labs

Unsurprisingly, Artificial Intelligence is a big trend for 2024, but how it’s applied will be nuanced from previous years. 

George Chilton, Creative Director at Hubbub Labs, notes that AI can give creatives and brands superpowers, but only if leveraged in the right way. Lower production costs and higher content volume do not equate to the returns that companies may think.

“To create AI-powered content that actually resonates, brands need to stay true to their essence, and be original and authentic.”

“There’ll no doubt be a Mount Everest of AI-produced content pushed out, and it may perform well initially. But easy come, easy go. AI content pollution will only detract from brand value in the long run,” George explains. “Instead, organisations that engage with subject matter experts, double down on bespoke content, and plan, execute, and monitor content with a critical thinking lens will see the most success.”

2. Social media managers will become CMOs and Marketing Directors

Kate Busby, Global Marketing Director at Novakid

For Kate Busby, Global Marketing Director at Novakid, the days of one-person social media teams and zero-dollar budgets are over.

As too, is the idea of social media as low-value, high-intensity from Paid Advertising departments. “We now live in a social-first world,” she says.

Kate highlights how social media managers are already having greater influence in organisations. “Think McDonald’s Guillaume Huin and Lego’s James Gregson,” she says.

“The trend is not reserved for multinationals either. At the start of the year, I went from Social Media Lead to Global Marketing Director at Novakid, a series B edtech scaleup.” And, in the new year, Kate asserts that the once “underdog marketing channel” has entered the fast lane as far as investors and the C-suite is concerned, and social media managers will get the organisational platforms and exposure they deserve.

3. GenAI will evolve as hyper specialisation slows

David Tubbs, Director of Marketing at ApplyBoard

AI is constantly evolving, and for David Tubbs, Director of Marketing at ApplyBoard, 2024 will mark the significant maturity of generative AI. He clarifies that “the AI tools that bridge the creation and operations gap will be worth their weight in gold as teams look to not only use AI to create but improve workflows, collaboration, and a finished product.”

“It’s no longer enough to simply get two alternative email subject lines with ChatGPT. Now you will want to share and edit between teams within the same AI platform.”

David also shares his belief that hyper specialisation within marketing will start to slow down. “In its place,” he says, “will be the rise of the generalist marketer with several pillars of experience and responsibilities. There will still be a place for specialists and their direct role in execution, but those job descriptions will most likely grow looser with a broader ask by employers that employees develop skills and experience in multiple marketing disciplines.”

David Tubbs, Director of Marketing at ApplyBoard

4. Ad creative will be inspired by social media reels

Herbert Gerzer, Founder of Lurn Media

Education brands tend to play it safe when it comes to ads but miss the valuable attention of audiences. Herbert Gerzer, Founder of Lurn Media says that changing ad formats and drawing on trends from social media are key to increase ad performance.

5. Content not generated by AI will gain value

Marketing Specialist Nadiia Mykhalevych

Predictions state that by 2026, 90% of online content will have been generated by Artificial Intelligence. In response, Marketing Specialist Nadiia Mykhalevych says that “expert, engaging, and in-depth content is paramount. Unique content will become crucial – content not generated by AI and not readily available online will gain value.”

“Paradoxically, in the age of AI” Nadiia notes, “content marketing is shifting towards a more human-led approach. The key to standing out in 2024 is to produce helpful content backed up by reputable voices in your brand’s industry.”

Content that is crafted with these characteristics in mind will retain the human touch that audiences ultimately search for. By prioritising content that is clearly not made using AI tools, brands can better meet users’ preferences for conversational, natural-sounding information.

6. AI chatbots cater to the communication Gen Z and Alpha want

Alejandra Otero, Founder and CEO of geNEOus

For Alejandra Otero, Founder and CEO of geNEOus, there’s no doubt about the role of Artificial Intelligence in marketing, especially for edtech companies. “Real-time translation driven by AI tools – whether in speech or text – is breaking down communication barriers between international students and educational institutions,” she explains. “This technology can enhance inclusivity and personalisation in landing pages and ads.”

Elsewhere, Alejandra advocates for the integration of AI-powered digital assistants and chatbots on platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. “These tools help engage with prospective students, automate lead qualification, and make every interaction personal and efficient.” She also suggests that these customised interactions are particularly important for Gen Z and Alpha who predominantly use social media platforms as search engines. “By standing out in these spaces, institutions can capture their attention.”

7. Interactive content will promote human-centric interactions

Mike Hawkins, co-founder and Managing Director at Riddle

According to Mike Hawkins, co-founder and Managing Director at Riddle, interactive content like quizzes will become an effective way to get people’s attention in a sea of material. Interactive content also establishes positive relationships with brands, increases the quality of content, and empowers users to voluntarily provide data (extra important with the rise of privacy laws). 

The future is here

The above advice provides a look into the crystal ball of 2024 for marketeers, helping individuals and organisations effectively prepare and action marketing strategies for the year. Be sure to follow the listed experts for further guidance around meaningful marketing in the new year, and leverage teams that can accelerate the scale and success of your marketing now and well into the future.

Get in touch with Hubbub Labs for bespoke, brilliant content for your higher education institution or edtech platform.

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