Are AI copywriters any good? We put them to the test

Recently I’ve received some pretty aggressive advertising for a number of artificial intelligence copywriting services. Thankfully, as a developer, they’re not after my job just yet (but don’t worry about that. There’s a whole other automated world dedicated to putting me out of a job). For our dear copywriting colleague Doug though, I’m not so sure. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced content designer – so I thought it would be interesting to get his input on the quality of these AI copywriting services.

Can they match a real human? Do they have incredibly glorious eyebrows like Doug? Time will tell.

How will we go about this test / comparison? 

We want 2-5 sentences for a product description or advert

  • The product will be AI copywriting services (let’s see if this makes them malfunction and ends the world, like when you Google Google)
    • Product name: “StrategAI”
    • Brief / description: “an AI powered copywriting tool for all your business requirements”

  Jarvis

Let’s start with the one that gave me this idea. Sadly Jarvis is not the same service as the voice in the ear of a certain metal person, and it requires your card details too, even for the free trial. As I painfully removed my card from my wallet I sure hoped that article would be worth signing my life and bank account away. 

In all honesty, things were not off to a good start. The interface was confusing and clunky, and it was nowhere near as straightforward as any of the other providers.

The product description I opted for was the following. It has a lot of promise, which would be a great basis to modify, but what’s that second-from-last sentence all about?! 

“You know that strained voice in your head when you’re stuck with a real challenge of wordsmithing? That’s StrategAI. We write the copy, so you can do what YOU really need to do- strategizing for business success. You spend too much time in meetings, juggling all sorts of other responsibilities like making sales and running marketing campaigns. Where does come up with high quality content ideas? Let StrategAI work on it at its own pace- without disturbing your flow!”

I have a feeling Doug’s going to rip into this somewhat. Let’s see what he says.

“The main thing to realise with many AI services is that, although they can be sometimes useful, they tend not to be actual ‘artificial intelligence’. At some point, someone or something had to compile a database of typical phrases used in ads, emails or other content, which the ‘AI’ can then draw on to generate your copy. 

This paragraph feels like a classic example of this exercise. The machine has been set up to create a classic problem-agitate-solution piece, which is usually fine, but things break down because the AI doesn’t actually understand what it’s saying. It’s including emotive language – which, again, is great in theory – but without context, it jarrs with the ideas.  It’s saying StrategAI is creating the strained voice. It’s saying you spend too much time in meetings – which is a problem it can’t deal with. 

Add to this the basic grammar errors (what are either of those last sentences really saying?) and you’ve got copy that will basically make your business look like a bunch of pre-GCSE fools if you used it.

Plus, any use of the phrase ‘wordsmithing’ merits a fate worse than death.”   

Copy.ai

Copy.ai (https://www.copy.ai/) grants you a 7 day free trial, and signing up was incredibly simple – no card details required which was a relief. I simply added the name and brief and it generated 10(!) different results. It even had a “make more” button which generated even more results.

I picked this result, due to the slight glimmer of humour:

“StrategAI is a powerful AI powered copywriting tool to help you with all your business requirements. You no longer have to worry about hiring human writers or spending millions on content automation.”

I was impressed with the whole process, but what does Doug think of the copy?

“On the surface, it does what it needs to do. That’s a fairly basic couple of lines. Would need to be aimed at an audience with a high level of product-awareness. 

The repetition of ‘power’ would have been avoided if a human had written it. And a writer with empathy would have expanded a little on the ‘business requirements’ to build a better picture of what they could achieve or highlight a particular use. 

But hang on – ‘all’ your business requirements? That’s a hell of a boast, and a very lazy phrase. It’s so vague that the target market might not identify the service as being for anything they need. If you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no-one, and I think this is guilty of this through vagueness. 

I’m also just wondering who spent millions on content automation… It would have been more effective (and better for the economy) to hire 50 content writers.” 

Anyword

Yet another service which only took 2 minutes to get up and running (Jarvis, are you listening?). It provided 10 results, all of which were actually pretty creative.

This was the result for me, mainly due to the cheeky cockiness of these zeros and ones:

“Your copywriting just got an upgrade. StrategAI’s AI powered copywriting tool does what others don’t by combining data science and creative writing. Click here to find out more about how StrategAI can help you craft compelling messages that sell.”

I did notice a few of the results were quite similar, so it makes me wonder how many other people might end up with similar results.

What does Doug think about this result?

“I quite like this one! A sharp opening line that gets your attention. Next line positions the product as being different from the rest. Presents the intriguing benefit of combining science and creativity. AND serves up a call-to-action (which many humans forget to add)! Nice. 

BUT you have hit the nail on the head about the repeated or similar results. Going back to my first thoughts about AIs using a database of phrases, it feels like that’s exactly what’s going on here. The machine has been programmed with several set formulas or lines created by a human, with replaceable fields, which will return templated results. The results are good, but you’ll start to see the same patterns appearing again and again, and so, in the end, the only way to get your business to stand out from the crowd will be to work with a writer.

The biggest benefit of this particular service, in my opinion, is that it’s playing on ambition, positivity and future-thinking, rather than pushing pain points. Whoever created Anyword gets a thumbs-up from me just for that.”

Copysmith

Copysmith (https://copysmith.ai/) again gives my debit card a break, and was just as easy to sign up to as the rest of them. Amazingly, it gave me the option of loads of different languages too – how accurate they are, who knows – it could just be a Google Translate of the English generated content. 

It was all looking so promising – but sadly there was a critical error on the “product description” mode, it just wouldn’t let me submit my requirements. After changing to “Google Ad” mode, it worked.

My pick was the following out of the provided 10 options (more could be generated):

“With StrategAI’s copywriting tool, you can now enjoy writing a sales-ready copy in just few seconds. Get an awesome AI-powered copy without wasting your time.”

It’s a little bit vanilla, but as I had to go with Google Ad mode I was impressed with the way it split the content into the various ad elements with their respective character limit.

Does Doug feel it’s as vanilla as a Mr. Whippy?

“Splitting the copy nicely into the ad elements like that is indeed a very cute aspect of this service. But what’s happened to the grammar? This reads like it was put through Google translate into another language, then another, and then back again to English. And the phrases are very bland. I’d want a human to inject some character into this.”

Writesonic

Once again, Writesonic (https://writesonic.com/) did not require a card for my free trial. I got a result in record time, literally 30 seconds or so – super quick, seamless, and straightforward. Awesome.

I opted for the product description mode and it churned out 5 options without hiccup. This was my pick, due to the otherworldly inclusion of a list, albeit one that doesn’t really make much sense:

“Copywriting is a difficult task, which is why we created StrategAI. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, our tool takes the stress out of copywriting by producing high-quality, human-written content in seconds. Want to know more? We’ve got you covered:

  • Ai copywriter
  • Copywriting made easy 
  • StrategAI – AI Copywriter“

Did the questionable but welcome list also wow Doug? 

“I am pleased to see a bullet-point list (although I guess that’s standard for a product description template), as that’s a technique often forgotten. But it really does need to be of either benefits or features – what’s included here doesn’t speak to the buyer’s actual needs and is not very inspiring. 

And also – if it’s a copywriting AI, it wouldn’t be producing human-written content, would it? Need to check the trades descriptions act on this one! 😉

I like the ‘want to know more?’ line, but this really needs to be followed with an action the reader can take if that’s the case.” 

Conclusion

Of course, there’s no denying that these are actually rather impressive. If you’re looking for some quick-and-dirty ad copy or product descriptions, then they are actually a rather powerful tool. From my humble perspective, Anyword was the clear winner for me, with Copy.ai a close second. The creativity of the results were great when compared to the other providers, even though many of them were kind of similar to each other within Anyword.

Do these AI copywriters match a real human though? The answer lies in the eyebrows. Not really, but they do help. 

Which is the winner according to our humanoid?

“For me, Anyword was the standout solution, purely because it adopted a more urgent tone that caught the eye, presented the features as a unique methodology and included a naturally-flowing CTA. Good work. 

However, I get the feeling that it’s drawing on a bank of dynamic phrases and templates written by humans, which could be quite a limited list. In the end, anything with eyebrows will win if you want copy that both reflects your brand personality and speaks directly to your target audience.” 

 

Well, there you have it. Nothing beats a human. Yes we might be biased – but the proof is in the pudding. Or writing about pudding. The AI generated results were fairly plain, with nothing too eye-catching. AI copywriting services certainly serve a purpose, and I can see them improving in the future, but for now, why not put your trust in a real person? Here at StrategiQ, we believe original, thought-provoking content will position you as an expert, answer people’s questions and inspire your users to take action.

Why not get in touch with us to discuss your content writing requirements?