Sales & Marketing Tech

Does AI Write Better Copy Than Humans? Most Marketers Think So

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The hunger for content continues: Marketers can save time and money through artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) software.

In order to improve SEO and attract leads, marketers are under big pressure to churn out new content quickly and continuously. And writing all that ad copy or blog posts is often difficult and time consuming, especially if you work at a small or midsize firm with limited resources.

But a cost-effective solution may already be available to you.

Artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) copywriting software promises to generate content in just minutes. But how useful is this software really? And, just how good is the copy?

Capterra surveyed 185 marketers [*] that are already using these tools for advertising, content, or copywriting generation in order to help you decide if your company can benefit from AI or ML adoption.

Key findings
  • AI and ML copywriting software measures up: 82% of marketers say content generated by AI or ML software is just as good (or better!) than human-generated content.
  • There’s not a substantial learning curve: 57% of marketers say it took their company less than six months to learn how to use AI or ML technology.
  • Implementation and data management are challenging: 69% of marketers say it took their company 6+ months to implement AI or ML technology. Additionally, 35% of marketers cite risk and data management issues as top challenges of using the technology.
  • Getting over the hurdles pays off: 88% of marketers find that AI or ML software saves their company time and money.
  • Know what to look out for: Almost half (49%) of marketers say AI or ML software is very successful at producing clear or easy-to-read content. However, they rated it the least successful when it comes to providing accurate or error-free content.

The basics of AI and ML content marketing

AI and ML technologies have been hot topics in marketing over the past few years. In short, AI and ML content marketing means applying logic-based techniques (e.g., understanding, learning, or interacting) to content marketing practices.

Most of the attention has been focused on automation and personalization. However, there are many uses of AI and ML today that directly impact the copywriting process. Many marketers have started experimenting with content marketing tools to help draft content at various stages including; researching, developing, testing, or optimizing content.

AI copywriters

These are software or tools specifically used to generate written content at scale. Marketers use AI copywriters to produce ad or sales copy, blogs, social media posts, product descriptions, and more.

Many automated copywriting tools have emerged with the main goal of improving SEO or scaling content creation. That’s because AI-based writing can be done quickly while allocating much less resource power.

Why AI matters for content creation professionals

As AI and ML technologies continue to develop and evolve, the demand for marketing content holds steady.

According to Capterra’s research, 45% of marketers say they spend about half of their time creating marketing content in a typical workweek. More than a third are spending about 75% of their total time on content work.

Percentage of total time spent creating marketing content in a typical workweek

It’s evident that creating marketing content (often a very manual process) takes a great deal of time. That’s why AI and ML tools have big implications for busy marketers, helping them generate more content, more efficiently.

The many capabilities of AI and ML allow marketers to perform a multitude of tasks based on their specific needs or business goals. Let’s take a look at how marketing teams are using AI and ML at their companies right now.

What does AI and ML look like in practice?

Although marketers are spending a substantial amount of time drafting content, adoption of AI or ML specifically for copywriting is low—surprisingly, only a third (33%) of marketers say they are leveraging AI or ML software for content or copywriting generation.

We asked marketers how their company is currently using AI or ML software and found that 63% are using the tools for email marketing. Given the important role email marketing plays for most companies, it’s no surprise that marketers would leverage AI technology for boosting email campaigns. The next most common area marketers are using software for is advertising (58%), followed by data analysis (57%):

In which of the following areas is your company leveraging AI or ML software?

Implementation is more time-consuming than training

For the most part, it takes a substantial amount of time for companies to get AI or ML technology off the ground: 44% of marketers say it took six months to less than twelve months to implement AI or ML technology. The majority (69%) say it took their company six months or longer.

How long did it take your company to implement AI or ML technology?

Furthermore, the time to implement AI or ML technology tends to increase with company size. Among marketers working at companies with one to 100 employees, 36% say it takes six months to less than twelve months to implement AI compared to 53% among those working at companies with over 5,000 employees.

However, the results are positive as far as educating workers is concerned. Fifty-seven percent of marketers say it takes staff at their company less than six months to learn how to use AI or ML technology.

How long did it take staff at your company to learn how to use AI or ML technology.

Overall, putting AI and ML technology to practice does take some work at the onset. And while we know this software can put words on a page, is it really worth the effort?

Does AI or ML copywriting work?

If you’re like most people, you are probably a tad skeptical when it comes to adopting AI or ML for writing. Will the content sound robotic or even make sense?

Although it’s not perfect, marketers say that AI is performing well at writing and speaking like a human.

82% of marketers agree that content generated by AI or ML software is just as good or better than human-generated content

In fact, 77% of marketers say AI or ML software is overall very or somewhat effective when it comes to accomplishing marketing objectives. And for the most part, marketers report high success levels across various aspects of AI or ML content or copywriting.

Nearly half (49%) of users say that it is very successful at producing clear or easy-to-read text. Additional areas where the software performs well include generating content quickly, demonstrating credibility or trustworthiness, and providing complete or thorough content.

AI or ML software is very successful at producing clear/easy to read content

Despite the success, marketers need to diligently check AI- or ML-generated content for accuracy. Only a third report that AI copywriting software is very successful at producing accurate or error-free text—the lowest level of success among all qualities measured.

AI-generated content also demonstrates shortcomings in creating original content. AI tools rely on analyzing existing data (typically collected from online databases) and cannot generate new ideas in the same way human creativity can. Without human intervention, AI-generation content is prone to repeating information without understanding the nuances of communicating high-level concepts. Therefore, you can’t guarantee the output will include completely original content.

Nonetheless, the adoption of AI or ML copywriting software results in many positive outcomes for marketers.

AI and ML gives marketers a break

The majority of marketers find that AI has a positive impact on their jobs, saying the software saves their company time and money.

88% of marketers agree that AI or ML software saves their company time and money

Time savings is the top benefit of using AI or ML software for marketing. And it’s worth noting that this benefit ranks much higher compared to cost savings, indicating that marketers place a greater overall importance on efficiency. However, almost as many marketers (33%) cite enhancing the customer experience as a key benefit.

What are the top benefits of AI or ML software for marketing purposes?

Additionally, our research finds that AI or ML tools are most proficient at generating short-form content. Among marketers spending the least amount of time (25% or less) creating content, we found that many are leveraging AI software for short-form content like advertising (92%) and email marketing (65%). It’s important to consider the type of content you’re considering creating when using AI tools to get the best output possible.

AI and ML software use is hampered by strategy challenges

As AI is still relatively new and evolving, marketers need to understand common AI and ML technology constraints so they can avoid roadblocks.

Over a third of marketers in our survey (35%) indicate that risk and governance issues (e.g., security or privacy concerns, data quality, etc.) are top challenges. Marketers that are considering adopting AI or ML software should have a data management or risk mitigation plan, especially if they don’t have defined AI strategies in place.

What are the top challenges of AI or ML software for marketing purposes?

Cost also tops the list of challenges when using AI or ML software for marketing. And although AI technology typically offers great efficiency benefits, it can be difficult to make the case for investing if you’re a company with a tight budget.

Luckily, there are free versions of AI and ML technology available. The majority of marketers (68%) use a combination of free and paid versions of AI or ML software:

Are marketers using free or paid versions of AI or ML technology?

5 questions to ask when considering AI or ML software for content marketing

Relying on AI or ML software requires a solid management strategy. Find out whether your company is ready by asking the following questions:

  1. Does your company have realistic expectations for AI-generated content? AI creates efficiencies but it’s not ideal for every situation. As noted earlier, there are shortcomings in creating accurate and original content. Your company should keep in mind AI’s limitations that will require human intervention.
  2. What form of content is needed? Our research found that AI software is most proficient at generating short-form written content for advertising and email campaigns. Assess whether your content needs are for short- or long-form content before diving in.
  3. Does my company have realistic expectations for implementation? As mentioned earlier, implementation can be a challenge. Companies may need to rely on IT support to get this software up and running. Consider whether or not your company has IT staffing or support for new AI projects before proceeding.
  4. Does my company have the bandwidth for auditing AI-generated content? It’s important to account for the time or resources you’ll need to proofread and edit AI-generated content. You’ll always need a human to monitor and make adjustments.
  5. Does my company have a plan for measuring AI success and optimization? Along with monitoring and adjusting AI-generated content, your organization needs a strategy for measuring the value that AI copywriting software delivers. Some metrics to consider include; ROI analysis, the number of ads developed, the amount of time saved, or the content’s impact on SEO.

AI technology is transforming the way we do business and will likely continue to improve in its ability to perform on par with human speech and creativity. Now is a good time to experiment if your goals align with the core benefits brought about when using this software for content marketing —time and budget saving. Although, be aware that you’ll need a clear strategy for managing AI and some oversight.

AI and ML copywriting tools are not going to replace marketers, but will certainly make their lives easier.


Methodology

* Capterra’s 2022 AI Marketing Survey was conducted in July 2022 among 185 U.S. marketers to explore whether or not SMB marketers should invest in AI copywriting software by evaluating its usefulness and effectiveness in a business setting. Respondents were screened to work full-time in marketing, advertising, customer service, HR/finance, sales, or IT departments and have some level of involvement in marketing-related activities. Respondents were also required to work for companies currently using artificial intelligence or machine learning softwares for advertising, content, or copywriting generation.


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About the Author

Meghan Bazaman

Meghan Bazaman

Meghan Bazaman is a senior analyst at Capterra, covering all the latest trends, issues, and developments in marketing technology. With more than a decade of experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research, her work has been featured in publications such as Ad Age, MediaPost, and Martech Zone. In her spare time she enjoys looking for the best hiking trails around Austin and spoiling her cat Javier.

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