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The 2020 introduction of GPT-3 revolutionized AI with its remarkable ability to understand and generate human-like text, triggering a wave of startups exploring use cases from chatbots and personal assistants to medical diagnoses and financial analysis. AI Copywriting was one of the first prominent use cases and has drawn significant excitement from investors, startups, and customers alike. The market has evolved at breakneck speed - in the last 6 months, we have seen the first unicorn in the space (Jasper), some big rounds, and big tech giants launching sweeping AI functionality that includes copywriting (Adobe, Microsoft). Here is an introduction to the market and the key things to look out for in 2023.
To scope the market, we considered tools specifically focused on generating marketing copy - excluded general writing tools (e.g. Sudowrite, Quilbot etc.) and tools focused on adjacent use cases like website personalization, sales outreach, email generation (e.g. Mutiny, Omneky, Persado, Unbounce, Regie.ai etc.). Website traffic and product review count are good indicators of adoption for SaaS products, especially those targeting a broad spectrum of customers including individuals and SMBs, which in this case is true for all the tools.
While Jasper and CopyAI have been the most visited historically, WriteSonic has gained strong traction over the last few months - largely driven by the launch of its search-enabled chatbot ChatSonic, which garnered significant media attention. WriteSonic is likely to get another fillip in traffic from its own little moment at the Oscars - a controversial debunk of the Oscar-winning documentary Navalny, is claimed to have been written using WriteSonic.
Product reviews across the board are highly positive - which is typical for new ground-breaking use cases, early in the adoption cycle. Customer feedback tends to moderate as customer expectations increase with increasing adoption and product improvements. Jasper, WriteSonic and CopySmith have built strong customer franchisees (70%+ NPS), while CopyAI lags relatively.
Jasper and WriteSonic have the most complete, feature-rich products in the market - going beyond table-stakes like generative support for multiple content types (articles, blogs, emails, landing pages etc.), SEO optimization, multi-language support, content analytics to delight features like chatbots for research, chrome extensions, image generation, API access. Copysmith, through the acquisition of Frase, has one of the most liked product on the market, however it lacks the feature set of Jasper and WriteSonic (no text-based assistant like ChatSonic or Jasper chat, no support for image generation etc).
A deep-dive into text reviews reveals some clear themes across these products -
Jasper - apart from its strong feature set, customers highlight Jasper’s out-of-the-box integrations (e.g. Surfer SEO, Grammarly), automated / customizable workflows, reporting / analysis tools and security / access controls as key drivers of positive feedback. Themes typical of Enterprise-grade products.
WriteSonic - differentiates by offering a strong feature set (matching that of Jasper’s) at a more attractive lower-end price and offering best-in-class ease of use (through a large library of templates for different use cases and in-depth guides / how-to’s). A combination that sets it up really well in the individual & SMB segments of the market.
Copysmith - Frase stands out as a niche product among SEO-focused marketers. It’s top 20 analysis feature, which identifies the topic of your content and compares it to the top 20 search results in that topic is a major hit among customers. It remains to be seen how Copysmith can bring together Frase, Rytr and its own offering to create differentiation (as of now, all 3 tools operate independently).
CopyAI - lags competitors primarily due to a lack of performance on the core content generation use case. Customers highlight that content generated sometimes misses the mark, there are issues with writing long content (needs to be generated in multiple iterations, paragraph by paragraph vs in 1 go) and cases of duplicate results.
Team sizes data provides a stark contrast - Jasper has used its large funding to rapidly scale up their team. The purpose is clear - Jasper launched their “Jasper for Business” offering this February and is significantly bolstering its Sales and Engineering teams to prepare for the high-touch sales and product customization demands of Enterprise. WriteSonic’s team size, puts into context what an amazing job they have done to keep pace with Jasper on features, top of the funnel traction as well as customer experience.