And now, it looks like copywriting itself may be the next domino to fall.
David Atlas, the company’s chief marketing officer, refers to it as “algorithmic copywriting.” The process creates sentences with a maximum length of 600 characters that are used for e-mail subject lines and other short persuasive copy.
Persado builds the copy by sending thousands of different e-mail subject lines to the e-databases of its clients, which include large retailers and financial services firms such as Overstock.com, AMEX and Neiman Marcus. Response rates are measured and used to refine the subject lines to narrow them down to just the most effective.
Company PR spokesperson Kirsten McKenna explains the Persado edge further:
“Typical A/B testing will send out only a few messages – then go with the one that gives the best response. Persado can send out thousands of permutations of the same message to determine which would be the most successful.”
Comparing Persado’s machine-generated results with traditional copywriting, “We have never lost to a human,” Alex Vratskides, the company’s president, claimed to The Wall Street Journal.
Those results would suggest that Persado is doing things right. And here’s another positive indicator of success: The company raised over $20 million in venture capital earlier this year.
The bigger question is whether Persado will be able to scale its simple and short-sentence copywriting into persuasive copy for longer-form marketing materials such as sales letters and brochures – which would make it an even bigger threat and seriously threaten to upend the traditional copywriting field.
“I do think that either already or very soon, software will equal or surpass the performance of human writers in both simple content and short copy. We have to prepare for the eventuality that computers may someday beat human direct response copywriters in long-form copy, just as Deep Blue beat Kasparov in chess and Watson clobbered Ken Jennings in Jeopardy. Ouch.”
What do you think? Is computer copywriting the wave of the future? Let’s hear your own perspectives.