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AI-assisted copywriting more effective than humans alone

As newsrooms and websites begin to incorporate AI into their content more, you can’t blame writers for worrying about being replaced. But what if we learned to work with AI rather than against it? That was the mentality behind a new study by AI firm Pencil, which found that a collaborative approach to AI was the way forward. The small-scale study found that AI-generated content lightly edited by humans had a 26% more effective click-through rate than content that humans entirely wrote with no AI intervention.

“It’s a relatively small study structured as an A/B test, not a massive piece of research, but it was highly practical, and it was a real campaign,” Pencil co-founder Will Hanschell said. The experiment involved Facebook ad copy for a Singaporean beauty client. Specifically, four types of copy were tested: entirely AI-generated copy, copy written based on AI-generated suggestions, human-edited AI copy, and entirely human-generated copy.

Is human-powered AI copy the way forward?

“The control box was whatever they had before, not expertly crafted or tested within an inch of its life; it was Facebook ad copy,” Hanschell added. “Then, we had the AI generate some options.”

While AI-inspired copy had an 11% increased click-through rate, entirely AI-written copy had a 19% click-through rate. Meanwhile, AI copy, lightly edited by humans, had a 26% increased click-through rate.

“We want people to feel like AI was something they could do, something they could hold in their hand, and that wasn’t threatening – that isn’t preparing to replace you. To be able to see, in this case, that working with it, as opposed to letting it do the job, was *chef’s kiss*,” Hanschell added.

“It’s really important for people who are writing copy to feel safe enough with the technology to use it, to learn it, to learn its capabilities and limitations so that, when it becomes extremely good, they are taken along for the ride on that. I think there’s a danger that folks distance from it – and, before they know it, it’ll be really good, and you’ve missed an opportunity. You have to want it to help you.”

For more on the transformative power of AI, check out our articles on how AI is shaping HR practices and differentiating the male and female brains. 

Picture Credit: Photo by Sunil Ray;  Unsplash

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Charlotte Colombo
Freelance Journalist

Charlotte Colombo is a freelance journalist with bylines in Metro.co.uk, Radio Times, The Independent, Daily Dot, Glamour, Stylist, and VICE among others. She most recently worked as a Staff Writer for entertainment outlet The Digital Fix for two years and, prior to that, worked with Business Insider and Dexerto on their digital culture desks. She’s also appeared on BBC Radio 5 and The Guardian podcast to share her expertise on technology, influencers, and niche internet subcultures. She holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has been freelancing for three years. She has a wide range…

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