What do Readers Think of AI Generated Content?

As the debate continues to rage regarding the quality and ethics of AI copywriting, extensive studies are bringing to light some landmark findings.  A recent example of which having been conducted by digital asset management firm, Bynder, which discovered that 50% of consumers can accurately identify AI-generated copy.

For the purpose of the study, they issued the same command to an experienced writer and to ChatGPT - “Write 300 words on how to clean your car”.  When presented to more than 2,000 people in the UK and the USA, half of them spotted correctly which text was machine-written.

Interestingly, the study also found that American consumers are around 10% more likely to spot AI-generated copy than their UK counterparts.  On the whole, it was determined that consumers aged 25 to 34 were most the most adept at spotting AI content.

Which is all well and good, but what exactly does this mean in terms of quality, value and engagement?

The answer isn’t quite as clear-cut as you might think.

AI-Generated Content Drives Higher Engagement

Flying in the face of most expectations, the AI-generated content actually scored a higher engagement rate. Presented with the texts and with no indication of which was which, 56% of those polled said the AI content was the better of the two.

But what was particularly interesting is how when the question of attitudes towards AI-generated content was brought up, 52% said they’d automatically be less engaged if they knew in advance a piece of text was AI-generated.

This would seem to suggest that beyond the issue of quality, people’s perceptions of AI are having a major impact on how content is consumed and valued.

Asked directly for their thoughts on machine-generated content in general, 26% of those polled said they would see a brand as impersonal if they publish website copy that’s clearly AI.  Likewise, 20% said that they would see this as an indication of laziness on the part of the brand.

Elsewhere, 25% said they would find AI-generated social media copy impersonal, 20% said they would find it difficult to trust, and 20% believed the publisher to be lazy.

Similarly, more than 30% said that dealing with AI chatbots is an impersonal and imperfect experience.

The Human Touch

Speaking on behalf of Bynder, CMO Warren Daniels reiterated the importance of not becoming overly (or exclusively) reliant on AI, and the value of striking the right balance.

 “As AI advances and an increasing number of marketers use it for content creation, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of best practice. Our research goes to show that as AI use increases, the most important element of a marketing campaign should be the human touch,” he said.

“AI offers significant benefits for marketers. Each year marketers are faced with the challenge of creating and managing more assets than the year prior, and the ever-advancing AI tools are a revolutionary way to aid this task. However, responsible AI should always be prioritised.”