On one test for another Persado customer, the subject line written by the human copywriter was “Up to $250 to spend on all ships in all destinations. 2 days left!” The clickthrough rate was 1.34 percent.
The subject line generated by the Persado software, “Not kidding! You qualify: experience an incredible vacation with us. :-)” produced a clickthrough rate of 4.09 percent — three times greater than the human copywriter.
“We have never lost to a human,” Persado founder Alex Vratskides told The Wall Street Journal. “I’m a mathematician, and I can guarantee you, [writing winning copy] is like getting a needle in a haystack. We built the haystack. The human brain does not work that way.”
But can a computer understand the underlying emotions of human experiences, like having a baby, seeing your child graduate from college, buying your first home, getting cancer or making the switch from a 9-to-5 job to self-employment?
Rather than competing with human copywriters, Persado could serve as a tool that we copywriters could use to our advantage — if we could afford it, which we can’t. But perhaps your larger clients can.
Just as multivariate testing helped we humans to learn which words are most persuasive and increase response, Persado can, too.
However, Atlas did stress that Persado is not a testing platform. It is truly machine-generated messaging: The software actually composes persuasive sentences. Just nothing more than 600 characters.
The Venture Capital Dispatch blog post also notes that Persado’s sales force wins deals from big companies by offering to match its software against human writers.
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.
Right now, “Persado focuses on short-form content,” notes McKenna. But the software is in the early stages of development. Is it only a matter of time before Persado beats top copywriters with more persuasive full-page ads, direct mail packages, video sales letters and other long-form copy?
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.