Humans prefer AI-generated copy, survey finds


Humans are more likely to prefer content generated by AI than written by a human, according to a surprising new survey.

Why we care. While AI can’t entirely replace humans in content creation, clearly generative AI can create content that resonates with consumers.

Generative AI 6, humans 0. In six AI- vs. human-generated content battles, the generative AI version “won” each.

Here’s an example of one such battle, where the task was to write an introduction for a blog post about the best cat food for indoor cats. AI won 54% to 46%:

Blog Post Intro Ai Vs Human Result SurveyBlog Post Intro Ai Vs Human Result Survey

In the other five battles, AI defeated humans at writing social media ads (70% to 30% and 54% to 47%), writing a blog post paragraph (60% to 40%), writing a social media post (65% to 35%), and writing a product description (65% to 35%).

But. While the survey is interesting and surprising, it’s important to note that while AI won on preference in this survey, that may not translate to actual performance (e.g., traffic, leads, revenue, rankings, engagement).

Also, we’ve seen quite a few examples of AI gone wrong (hello, Sports Illustrated), including:

Methodology. The survey of 700 U.S. consumers (50.2% male, 49.5% female) was included as part of a larger Semrush report called Think Big with AI: Transforming Small Business Content Marketing” (PDF download required). Age breakdown:

  • 38% of respondents were 25-44.
  • 12% were 18-24.
  • 18% were 45-54.
  • 32% were 55 or older.

Semrush “worked with several writers” to create the human copy. To produce the AI content, Semrush used detailed prompts (e.g., guidelines on tone of voice, length, readability, objectives) and sometimes had to write two or three additional prompts to refine the end result.

Lessons learned. As Semrush wrote in the report:

  • “These results show that AI-written content can be effective and resonate with your customers. If you prompt your AI tools well enough, you can create engaging and high-quality marketing copy.”
  • “However, our experiment does not suggest that AI is enough for content writing.”

Why people likely preferred the AI-generated content:

  • It quickly got to the point.
  • It clearly highlighted value propositions or reader concerns.
  • It was easier to read and understand.

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