Persado Survey Finds that Human Creatives Achieve Better Digital Marketing Effectiveness When Aided by Generative AI-Driven Insights

Retail marketing leaders have a lot riding on their digital marketing effectiveness, given that they spend 58% of their digital marketing budget on digital ads. But, when marketers rely only on their experience to choose digital campaign language, they don’t always achieve the best results. That is the takeaway from our 2023 Digital Marketer Survey Better Together: Generative AI + Human Creativity that Persado conducted in partnership with the data and analysis firm Momentive to measure the combined impact of Generative AI and human creativity.

Digital marketing effectiveness is lower than it could be when marketers rely on intuition alone

The survey presented more than 250 experienced retail marketers with three different versions of a dozen digital marketing campaigns that ran between November 2021 and December 2022. One of the versions was a human-authored control message and the other two were higher-performing AI-generated variants of the original. The survey asked the marketers to choose which of the three versions they thought would be the highest-performer.

Why is that a problem? Because choosing the lower performer translates to losing out on real revenue opportunities for the business. The human-authored control messages in the campaigns used in this survey achieved an average click rate of 1.49% when they ran in the real world. The highest-performing messages, in contrast, achieved an average 2.5% click rate. That’s a 68% engagement uplift in digital campaign performance. 

For the 12 campaigns used in the survey, that 2.5% click rate translates to an incremental revenue gain of $5.8 million in the experimental phase alone. Had the brands followed the intuitive choices of the marketers who took the survey, they would have left most of that money on the table.

Understanding the survey methodology

The campaigns chosen for the survey were randomly selected from the universe of more than 2,000 retail campaigns run on the Persado Motivation AI enterprise Generative AI platform between December 2021 and November 2022. Each of the selected campaigns included AI-generated email subject lines or SMS messages created for a retail enterprise brand and seen by thousands (and in some cases millions) of consumers in the real world.

For this survey, respondents saw a subset of variants from 12 past campaigns and chose the one they would put into the market if it had been their decision.

How to measure digital marketing effectiveness

Digital marketing effectiveness is measured by the conversion rate or the percentage of the total customers who visited a brand’s website, received a marketing email, etc. and took a desired action (i.e. clicks, email opens, signups, sales, etc.). The higher the conversion rate the more effective the digital marketing campaign. Persado Motivation AI is a specialized class of Generative AI known for its effectiveness. It creates digital marketing language that drives business results (i.e. conversions) for enterprise teams. 

The bottom line on optimizing digital marketing effectiveness: Match Human Creativity and AI

The conclusion from the survey results is that marketing teams risk sacrificing digital campaign performance gains when they rely only on their informed intuition. Here are the key conclusions:

  • Human creativity is essential…but insufficient. 

Experienced human marketers are essential for analyzing customer data, ideating the approach for a campaign, writing copy, and crafting creative. Yet even very experienced human marketers can only tap into the amount of experience they have amassed in their career spans. And they can only craft messages at human scale.

  • Real-time customer insights are foundational… but insufficient.

Markets change. Consumer behavior shifts. Economic pressures, seasons, and personal preferences affect how people feel about their spending. In this rapidly changing market, marketers need all the tools they can get to sense customer behavior changes and translate them into engaging messages.

  • Together, human creativity, AI language generation, and real-time performance data enable optimal results. 

Brands produce incrementally better results when data and insights on campaign performance inform marketing decisions. These results are more personalized to the audiences you’re speaking to, resulting in higher revenues per campaign

To read more about the survey and see examples of the campaigns marketers were asked to compare, you can access the full report here.

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