AI VS humans: New Survey Evaluates the Effects of AI Writing Assistants

September 28, 2022
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
AI VS humans: New Survey Evaluates the Effects of AI Writing Assistants

AI writing technology is evolving rapidly, with new companies popping up every day and offering to simplify the various aspects of content creation using NLP models.

While this industry is going through a boom, the adoption rate by content marketers is still slow, with only 15% of them thinking about AI implementation. 

It is understandable why adoption has been slow since it requires new workflows, but is it worth the effort?

In order to find out, we created a first-of-its-kind survey comparing content marketers and content writers who use or don't use AI-writing assistants.

We surveyed 200+ content marketers and writers regarding their blog writing practices and preferences. Essentially, we wanted to know whether content marketers and writers who use AI in their workflow are getting their money's worth. 

The survey was inspired by Orbit Media's yearly blogging survey. The purpose of the study was to determine whether AI tools could have a significant enough impact on key aspects of blogging:

  • Time investment
  • Length of posts
  • Publishing frequency
  • Use of editors
  • and more...

1. Does it take less time to write an article with AI writing assistants?

Writing can take hours, and there are no shortcuts. 

Or are there?

We averaged the time it takes bloggers to write a 2,000 blog post with or without the use of AI. The bloggers who used AI reported it took 2.81 hours to write a blog post, compared with 4.02 hours for bloggers who did not.

Joe Pulizzi
Founder,
The Tilt & Creator Economy Expo (CEX)
"
There's no doubt that new AI-driven technology tools will help writers and editors focus on more strategic parts of writing."

Looking at the spread of answers, we can see there are more bloggers who use AI producing blog posts in 3 hours or less (76%), and more bloggers who don’t use AI in 3 hours or more (84%).

Paul Roetzer
Founder & CEO,
Marketing AI Institute
"With the rapid advancement of language AI technology, and growing adoption of AI writing tools, I'll be very intrigued to see if the time spent per post starts trending down. AI can assist bloggers in planning, drafting and editing their content, in a fraction of the time they would have traditionally spent on a post. AI doesn't replace human writers, but it certainly enhances what they're capable of producing."

In Orbit Media's survey, "finding time to create and promote content" was mentioned as the number one challenge bloggers face.

A solution to these challenges might be found in the use of artificial intelligence tools.

Tommy Walker
Founder,
The Content Studio
"Artistry and taste are vital, and AI will weed out the mediocre from the exceptional. This especially applies as more written content can be cranked out faster. In other words, just because we can produce at a higher volume, doesn't mean we should do so without heavy editorial oversight. While a writer might produce more quickly, it'll be up to the editor to determine if the content goes deep enough to satisfy the reader's intent. 
What I believe AI is perfectly suited for now are some of the shorter tasks like: 
- Headline variations
- Meta descriptions
- Subheader options
At this stage, however, it should not be used to write the majority of content. What I DO think this time savings means though is that brands can focus on exploring other non-AI assisted formats, such as video, audio, and live. 
Overall, this technology should not be feared, but embraced, and used strategically to allow editors and writers to focus on their craft and making more, higher quality content."

2. Do bloggers who use AI writing tools publish content more frequently?

Every content marketer knows the importance of maintaining a steady and frequent publishing schedule. It’s hard to get results if you only publish once a month.

We found that bloggers who use AI tools are more likely to publish content more than once a month (75% VS 61%).

Andy Crestodina
Co-founder & CMO,
Orbit Media
"Although AI isn't yet able to help with content strategy, it's becoming useful for other content marketing tasks. The data here shows that it's already starting to fulfill its purpose of saving bloggers time. And what are bloggers doing with that time? Increasing their frequency. Even if the posts are shorter, AI will increase the total volume of online content. AI will make the internet bigger."

3. Do writers who use AI writing tools produce different types of content?

In this part of the survey, we looked into the various content formats that bloggers created. Examining the results, it seems that bloggers who use AI tend to be less versatile, and focus more on how to articles, while non-AI bloggers explored more formats. This makes sense, especially since there are still no popular tools that produce specific content formats.

Maddy French
Bestselling author of Writing for Humans and Robots, Founder of
The Blogsmith content agency
"The impact of AI on writing for me and my team at The Blogsmith is primarily a strategic way to get past writer's block. Using AI writing tools to generate title ideas, basic outlines, and other text components ensures that we don't come to the writing process with a blank page. Specifically, Wordtune helps me take the text I've already written and suggests ways to make it better without having to defer to a human editor in all situations. The human aspect is still very important to a high-quality end result but AI tools can help make our processes more efficient."

4. Are bloggers who use AI tools less dependent on editors?

AI writing assistants have recently advanced beyond simple grammar and spelling. They now offer corrections and suggestions that approach the level of copy-editors and proofreaders.

The goal of tools like Wordtune is to create a true writing assistant, one which will replace some of the tasks previously handled solely by colleagues and professional editors.

That’s why it’s no surprise that bloggers who used AI tools were more likely to edit their own work. (50% of bloggers VS 37%).

Moreover, these bloggers were also less likely to use professional editors (18% VS 27%).

Gael Breton
Founder,
Authority Hacker
"While we don’t yet trust AI tools to fully write content for us, we treat it as a junior editing assistant inside our editorial process. It helps us re-formulate sentences, fix clarity and fully replace human editors which has significantly reduced our costs per article shipped."
Tommy Walker
Founder,
The Content Studio
"First and foremost, editors are, and always will be essential. Brands need stewards and someone to define and uphold the standards.I am not one of those editors who fears AI. In fact, I believe it is an inevitable technology that should be embraced. What I do believe however is that editors will need to focus more on their craft and find ways to further differentiate from others in the same space. In time, AI will be trained to create in the brand's voice, but just like the hammer by itself will never build the house, AI will never replace the architect or craftsperson or foreperson who makes sure the build is up to standards."

5. Do bloggers who use AI tools pay less for content?

Nowadays, producing quality content is expensive. 

This survey suggests that bloggers who use AI pay significantly less for blog posts. The average 2,000 word article costs an average of $437 for an AI-assisted writer, in comparison to $565 for a writer who doesn’t use AI.

Taking a look at the spread of answers, it's clear there are more bloggers using AI who pay less for content ($750 and below). On the opposite side of the cost spectrum ($1,000 and above), we see a higher percentage of bloggers not using AI.

Andre Guelmann
Organic Growth & SEO Manager
We can see an interesting parallel between AI Writing Assistants and AI SEO Tools; when the latter first started appearing in the market, people thought they would replace SEO professionals. However, after a few years, we can see that didn't really happen - instead. both types of tools are COLLABORATION tools, requiring you to guide them to extract the most from them. They are also FORCE-MULTIPLIERS, so the better writer/SEO professional you are, the more you will be able to get out of them.

6. Do bloggers who use AI writing tools write shorter posts?

The average blog post length has increased by 57% since 2014, according to Orbit Media’s annual survey. While there was only a slight difference in the average length of blog posts between the two groups, the difference was more apparent when examining the more lengthy or short blog posts.

Only 2% of bloggers who use AI write articles longer than 2,000 words, compared with 10% of non-AI users. A similar difference was seen for the 500-1,000 word blog posts.

Other blogger quotes

Regina Ongkiko
Tech and SaaS Content Writer

"AI writing assistants are indeed 'assistants' in the sense that they can help you get started in a shorter amount of time. Often, what takes the longest time in the writing process is the research and brainstorming. Instead of writing from scratch, writers and editors can skip to the editing and refining part, leaving more room for touching up the quality of the actual output."
Ali Cameron
Content marketing, communications, and copy specialist

 "While writers who use AI writing assistants are bound to move faster and rely less on external editors, they will need to hone their own editing skills. Good copywriters will need to also be good editors, something that hasn't necessarily been true before, so that they can take the content developed by AI technology and refine it to meet the original brief."

Conclusion

We'd like to thank the 200 bloggers who participated in our exploratory survey, a first of its kind. You helped us to shed light on some unexplored aspects of  the state of AI writing tools. Also, huge thanks to all of our expert contributors.

If we try to draw conclusions from the findings of the survey, it seems that while this industry is still in its early stages, some bloggers have already begun utilizing these tools to save time, produce more content and elevate their efforts. Some further research could be conducted to explore the various writing tasks that can be efficiently leveraged using AI.

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