If it feels like everyone is talking about artificial intelligence these days, that’s because they are. In just a couple of years, AI has emerged from the realms of rarefied tech to become a free-for-all tool that everyone can access.
Some of the biggest names in news and publishing are using AI editorial tools to optimise work and whip up new content. Every day, new headlines extoll the virtues of AI or bemoan the ramifications for artists and creativity.
But before we get too carried away with the possibilities and pitfalls of a future run by AI, let’s take a step back and take a more thorough look at the landscape. Now that the hype is beginning to settle, it’s time to ask, ‘how useful is AI for marketers?’
It’s a big consideration, so we’ve broken it down into 10 of the most pertinent questions to help us determine the value of AI editorial tools, who they can help, and how they can change the future of our work.
1. How good is the output of AI editorial tools?
No one can deny that AI has come a long way in the past couple of years. Today, anyone can simply enter a set of parameters and receive a computer-generated text in moments. To achieve this, programmers incorporate multiple algorithms that empower AI tools to consider factors trained with real-life data over a long period.
As a result, content can generally be relied upon to be grammatically correct, SEO-optimised and highly targeted. In theory, this means marketers can produce and publish more content in less time, iterate ideas faster and augment their creative workflow, saving time and resources.
But, users tend to agree that this doesn’t mean AI editorial tools replace humans in every capacity. Accuracy and plagiarism are still top concerns. Machines simply can’t understand the nuances that humans can.
Some publishers have learnt this the hard way. When Men’s Journal launched its first-ever AI-generated article, it was written with the authority of an expert. Impressive. But, on closer inspection, the text was riddled with factual mistakes and mischaracterisations. The publisher was forced to make a public apology.
Scrutiny is essential.
2. How many people are using AI editorial tools?
The world went wild when Swiss Bank UBS announced that ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, had become the fastest-growing consumer app in history. What’s more, those sign-ups seem to have turned into active users. Recent data confirms that the website receives 25 million daily visitors and 10 million queries per day.
That said, a look at one of the frontrunner startups for commercial AI editorial platforms shows a different picture. Jasper, which has been around for about two years, has acquired just 100,000 paying customers in that period – a rather insignificant number in the bigger picture. Of course, that could be due to cost – Jasper is not a cheap tool.
The bottom line on usage is that it will be wait-and-see. While marketers have jumped on AI tools and are willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee for them, it remains to be seen how everyone else will use the tech and how much they are willing to pay for that usage.
What is likely is that AI-writing technology will be added to much of the popular software we currently use on a daily basis, and usage in that respect will abound. It will likely be integrated into many aspects of our daily work and become something almost everyone uses to some extent daily.
3. What are businesses using AI tools for?
Many marketers are already using AI-driven software tools to create website content, blogs, Google ads and social media posts quickly and easily. Tools like Jasper can suggest topics, writing style and language. By automating content creation, they can free up time and resources for marketers to focus on other aspects of their marketing strategies. The tech is also helping human copywriters to tidy up their work.
In journalism, AI editorial tools are taking on the most time-intensive tasks. Journalists can use AI tools to sift through reams of public announcements to make news gathering quicker. AI can also help with translating, transcribing, spell-checking and fact-checking tasks at production. And, when it comes to distribution, many media organisations are using AI to better understand their audiences.
4. What can go wrong with AI tools?
AI has come an extraordinarily long way, but it still makes mistakes – and those mistakes can be costly. Machines only know what they’re taught, while humans have a wealth of experience and knowledge to call upon. AI tools can’t read the room. So, when it comes to context and nuance, AI writing tools still have a long way to go.
And, while AI tools try to replicate emotion, they are yet to do it effectively. Marketers may find they need to tweak and update copy to resonate with audiences in the same way a well-written piece of human content can.
Many tools also still lack the capabilities to create plagiarism-free content. AI scrapes the internet for examples of content, which doesn’t strictly adhere to Google’s guidelines. This means that Google might consider your AI content to be spam, which affects SEO performance.
5. Which industries are using AI tools most?
AI editorial tools aren’t only used by traditional publishers and content production companies, though these sectors represent a significant proportion of the market. In today’s marketing landscape, nearly every company needs to create content, from website blogs to service documentation to investor relations reports. AI editorial tools are increasingly filling in the gap for a wide range of industries, from software to healthcare.
6. What big brands are publicly using AI tools, and how?
Some of the world’s biggest brands have already incorporated AI editorial tools such as ChatGPT into their businesses. For example:
- Management consulting firm Bain & Company has integrated AI into its management systems, research and processes.
- Snapchat rolled out the new My AI on Snapchat+, an AI chatbot that offers prompts with recipe suggestions, holiday tips and other advice.
- Shopify confirmed that it will use ChatGPT to power its new shopping assistant.
- Microsoft announced that it would invest $10 billion in OpenAI this year.
7. Is AI threatening Google and other search engines?
When ChatGPT reached one million users in the first five days of launching, Google declared a ‘red zone’ and swiftly introduced its own Bard AI. As the trend develops, how Google and other search engines decide to respond to the challenge remains to be seen, but it’s clear that these global players perceive AI as a potential, if not proven, threat.
8. What happens if we use AI to answer one of our own questions?
We asked ChatGPT the question above. We won’t include the full response, but here’s part of what the tool had to say:
“As an AI language model, ChatGPT is not a direct threat to Google, which is a large technology company with a diverse range of products and services. However, ChatGPT’s advanced language processing capabilities could potentially be used in various applications that may compete with some of Google’s products or services.”
9. Does this spell the end for human writers?
There has been a lot of talk about the rapid rise of AI and its ramifications for artists and creative processes. But the important thing to note is that this technology cannot operate without human input. It isn’t a substitute for humans, it’s a supplement. The better-quality input the technology receives, the better AI-generated content it can produce. So, we’re still a long way from The Matrix.
Conclusion – hype or helpful?
While AI might only have recently become part of the marketing conversation, the technology has been around for a while. The recent success stories of AI editorial tools like ChatGPT, Jasper and Rytr didn’t spring up overnight, they have been years in the making.
AI editorial tools show tremendous potential and can undoubtedly help marketers publish high-quality, optimised content that speaks to target audiences. But concluding that AI writing tools will eventually replace traditional content production is missing the point. For marketers today, it is essential to understand how to use AI responsibly – and failing to understand the technology’s capabilities and limits could have negative consequences.