Neil Patel

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AI vs Human: Who Writes Better Blogs That Get More Traffic?

A graphic saying "AI vs Human: Who Writes Better Blogs That Get More Trafic."

There is no argument that AI is faster at producing content than humans. That doesn’t mean that AI is always more accurate or even more efficient than human-generated content, though.  

As our data will show, when it comes to AI vs human content, human content performs better. 

In this post, I’ll first share the methodology and results of a study conducted by my team, covering the performance of AI content vs human content. I’ll then share the unique values of human-generated content and how you can still benefit from AI, without relying on it for all of your content marketing needs. 

Let’s jump in! 

Key Takeaways

  • AI chatbots like ChatGPT can produce an article in as little as one-quarter the amount of time (16 minutes versus 69 minutes) it takes a human to write one.  
  • Human-generated content tends to perform better than AI-generated content, with one NP Digital study showing that human-generated content received 5.44X more traffic than AI-generated content. 
  • Human-generated content is more effective than AI-generated content, with human-generated content receiving 4.10 visitors for every minute spent on writing, whereas AI-generated content only receiving 3.25.  
  • Human-generated content has a particular edge over AI content when it comes to context and emotion.  

Our Methodology

At my digital marketing agency, NP Digital, one of our goals is to leverage AI technology when and where it makes the most sense.  

For many marketers, it may seem like it makes the most sense to use AI to write their blog content and articles. While it may be a time saver, we asked ourselves whether human readers could see the difference between AI content and human content.  

So, to understand who writes better blogs—AI or humans—we published 744 articles across 68 websites. The goal was to directly compare AI content to human content to see how readers responded. 

To write those articles, we used the help of human content writers on our team and popular AI chatbot ChatGPT. 

Here is the prompt we gave to ChatGPT: 

“I want to write an article about [insert topic] that includes stats and cite your sources. And use storytelling in the introductory paragraph. 

The article should be tailored to [insert your ideal customer]. 

The article should focus on [what you want to talk about] instead of [what you don’t want to talk about]. 

Please mention [insert your company or product name] in the article and how we can help [insert your ideal customer] with [insert the problem your product or service solves]. But please don’t mention [insert your company or product name] more than twice. 

And wrap up the article with a conclusion and end the last sentence in the article with a question.” 

Once the articles were published, we tracked the average traffic per post over 5 months. Here’s what we found. 

Our Data On AI Content Vs. Human Content 

One reason that digital marketers utilize AI is to save time. We weren’t surprised, then, that ChatGPT was able to produce an article in almost one-quarter the amount of time (16 minutes) that it took for a human to write one (69 minutes):  

A bar graph comparing how long it took AI vs humans to write a piece of content.

However, time isn’t everything. 

What we really want to know is if the AI-generated content is as or more successful than the human content? 

The answer is an overwhelming “no.” 

A bar graph comparing the average traffic per post for AI-generated vs human-generated articles.

Traffic for the AI-generated content fluctuated from month-to-month while the human content had steady increases over the 5-month period. 

In fact, by month 5, the human-generated content had 5.44X more traffic than the AI-generated content on a monthly basis. 

When discussing time and results, it’s only fair to consider overall efficiency. More specifically, how much traffic did AI and humans generate per minute spent on writing an article: 

A bar graph comparing the traffic per minute spent working on content for AI vs humans.

The results are again a clear win for human-generated content.  

That’s because even though human-generated content takes longer to produce, it draws in 4.10 visitors for every minute spent on writing. This is in comparison to AI-generated content which only draws in 3.25 visitors per minute.  

The Value of Human-Generated Content

While human-generated content may be more of a time investment, that investment tends to pay off in terms of traffic and overall engagement.  

So, what is this edge that human writers have over AI chatbots? 

It largely comes down to context and emotion. 

For one, AI is not always capable of understanding the context of content. It can write a 2,000-word article on any number of complex topics, but it cannot often put it into the context of larger concepts. This means that AI-generated content can miss out on nuance and important contextual insights. 

Human content writers, on the other hand, are better equipped to make big-picture connections. This can help readers to understand and digest the content more readily. 

Emotion and empathy are another area where AI just falls short. You can ask a chatbot to write a blog post with a certain tone, but the results can be stilted and ineffective. 

Humans are emotional creatures. According to Gallup, 70% of decisions—including brand preference—are based on emotional factors. 

Content writers can write content that inspires fear, sadness, happiness, or anger because they have experienced those emotions themselves. They can also deliver the emotion with subtlety, another area where AI-generated content often fails. 

That doesn’t mean you need to avoid using AI altogether. Instead, you need to know when to use it strategically and how to leverage it effectively.  

Here are a few tips for using AI in your content creation processes: 

  • Use it for data collection and analysis. While you can’t always trust the data and citations provided by AI, you can trust them with data you provide yourself. In fact, chatbots are great at summarizing and analyzing data so you can provide more insights to your readers. 
  • Use it to brainstorm. ChatGPT, AnswerThePublic, and other chatbots can provide you with dozens of blog topic ideas in a matter of minutes. You can be as general or specific as you want in your request.  
  • Use it to write a first draft. You can ask chatbots to produce articles by using prompts like the one we used above. However, you need to spend time to humanize AI content. This means adding context, removing inaccuracies and redundancies, and adding in your brand’s voice. 
  • Use it to conduct consumer research. AI tools like Poll the People enable you to conduct surveys and then analyze them. This is helpful for digital ad testing, content testing, and more. 

The key is to view AI like any other tool in your digital marketing arsenal. You can and should use it freely, but beware of overreliance.  

FAQs

How does human-written content compare to AI-generated content?

Per the NP Digital study, which included 744 articles across 68 websites, the human-written content was superior in terms of performance. The human-generated content drew in greater traffic numbers that steadily increased over a five-month period. The AI-generated content, on the other hand, had significantly lower traffic numbers that fluctuated up and down over the five months.  

How can you tell the difference between AI-generated content and human-generated content?

Do you ever find yourself asking “is it AI or human content?” If so, you’re not alone. There are a few telltale signs to help you distinguish, though. First, AI content can read as stilted and mechanical. This is in contrast to human content, which has a more natural, conversational flow. AI-generated content may also have unusual patterns, overly formal or technical jargon, and a lack of authentic emotional expression.

 Conclusion 

While some consumers may have difficulty distinguishing between AI content vs. human content, the majority of consumers can recognize it fairly easily. This doesn’t mean you need to forgo the use of AI entirely. Instead, you have to shift your idea of what it means to utilize AI for digital marketing

When you use AI for the more cumbersome elements of digital marketing—like brainstorming, outlining, research, and data analysis—you can dedicate more time to writing high-quality human-generated content. This will save you time and money without sacrificing quality. 

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