Consumers Prefer AI-Written Marketing Copy

Could you even tell the difference? I mean, was this subhead written by AI?

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In Today’s Issue:

📞 Twilio fires 5% staff after activist pressure

👗 Threads grows as X loses Walmart ads

📸 Why Threads has lousy search

🤖 People like AI-generated marketing content more

💰 Global ad spending to end the year up about 6%

🛒 Google Merchant Center Next will soon add rules

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THE GREAT WORKFORCE SHRINKING
Twilio Lays Off Another 5% of Its Workforce

The marketing platform Twilio, which many marketers use for communications, this morning announced more job cuts — this time, about 5% of the total workforce, which represents hundreds of people.

It was only a year ago when the company laid off 11% of its staff. And that was only a few months after it laid off 17% of its workforce.

In terms of staff numbers, according to Twilio’s latest earnings release, there are about 5600 people there now, compared to 7800 a year ago.

The CEO told employees in an email that it was “right-sizing” after a bet on one of their acquisitions didn’t pay off as well as they were hoping

The move comes amidst activist shareholder pressure the last couple of weeks. One fund investor wants them to either sell the whole company, or at least the data and applications division.

All that said, Twilio’s had a great month in terms of share value. It was at about $50 at the beginning of November, and is around $66 now.

TWITTER TURMOIL IS GOOD NEWS FOR META
How Soon Before Threads is the New Twitter?

Threads continues to reap the benefits of the chaos at X, the platform formerly known as stable.

Meta’s app is now garnering more daily downloads than X, which has been declining in downloads since September.

Since that month, X saw 27 million new downloads; Threads is past 41 million.

Apptopia

Most estimates show Threads has about a third the monthly active user base as X.

Over the weekend, one more huge advertiser called it quits — Walmart joined the growing list of major brands pulling their ads off the platform. It joins Apple, IBM, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Comcast, and a whole bunch more.

In an attempt to woo those critical revenue generators back, X’s owner Elon Musk last week said at a New York Times conference that advertisers could "go fuck [themselves].”

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OH WHERE, OH WHERE COULD MY API BE?
Threads’ Caution Around Search Affecting Brand Marketers

One thing some people believe is holding Threads back from being a major player is its lack of real-time search.

This is something the former Twitter excelled at. If something was going on in the world, you often searched on Twitter, and clicked “Latest” to see a real-time stream of information. It wasn’t always the right information, but it was always the fastest.

Threads only last week added the ability to search for text in posts, but many people quickly noticed the results were coming back filtered, sorted, and sent through some kind of ranking algorithm — often surfacing posts days old. Which might be what you want, but almost certainly not for when you’re looking for very recent information.

The head of Threads said over the weekend they’re worried about real-time search being exploited by spammers.

Solutions they’re thinking about include highlighting top stories from reputable news outlets, ranking profiles based on trust and relevance, or employing an editorial team to manage topic focus.

On the marketing side of things, this means it’s currently not easy to search for your brand or product names. And the only thing we’ve heard mentioned API-wise is they’re collecting ideas for what would be supported in a publishing API. Right now, there are no APIs — meaning no third-party app support.

PITY THE COPYWRITER
Do Consumers Prefer AI-Written Marketing Copy?

A recent MIT study has upended previous notions about generative artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT, and their ability to match human writing skills.

The study revealed that readers preferred AI-generated content over that created by professional human writers. The research included various content types like product descriptions and persuasive ad campaign material.

The four categories tested were:

  • human-only content

  • AI-only content

  • human content edited by AI ("Augmented AI")

  • AI content edited by humans ("Augmented Human")

Surprisingly, the AI-driven content, whether solely produced by AI or edited by it, was favored by the readers.

Another significant finding was that revealing the AI origin of the content did not affect its preference. This challenges the traditional view of persuasion as a uniquely human skill, suggesting that AI can excel in this realm within certain constraints.

This study doesn't imply that AI content is always superior to human-created work, as the human subjects worked without editorial input or revisions. However, it highlights that AI can match or surpass the average professional human writer in simple, well-defined persuasive tasks.

Do YOU think you’d be able to tell the difference?

If you said yes, would you change your mind now that I can tell you that I had ChatGPT write this story? The study is real, the story is true. But AI wrote what you just read.

SPENDING IS UP
Global Ad Market Will Have Grown by End of 2023

Global ad spending is expected to be up at the end of the year — GroupM projecting a nearly 6% increase, and Magna has its numbers at a 5.5% rise.

This is definitely welcome news for the industry as a whole, which has seen significant volatility in inflation and global events. We did see some month-over-month dips, but overall it looks like there’s a continued return to normal.

Both companies noted a shift in spending away from traditional media like TV, and a noticeable move toward retail media networks.

There are also some big spending events coming next year — the Olympics, the American elections.

Magna says when you break out digital ad sales, that part of the pie will be up more than 10% — digital now makes up nearly 70% of all ad sales.

GroupM

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SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDS ALSO COMING
Google to Support Rules in Merchant Center Soon

Google says it will support rules and supplemental feeds for Google Merchant Center Next in the near year.

A spokesperson for Google Ads posted on social media:

Support for rules & supplemental feeds is coming early next year & we know they're important to many.

We won't invite merchants using these features to migrate until they're available in GMC Next.

All existing rules will continue to function after migrating.

If you've migrated to GMC Next and now need to access these features in the meantime, you can switch back to classic mode.

Ginny Marvin, Google

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