Alibaba’s digital marketing arm Alimama has unveiled an artificial intelligence-powered copywriting tool. Tapping the huge pool of content on Alibaba’s e-commerce sites Tmall and Taobao, the AI copywriter uses deep learning and natural language processing technologies learn from millions of top-quality existing samples to generate copy for products.
Brands and advertisers can insert a link to any product page, and click the “Produce Smart Copy” button to see multiple copy ideas.
Currently, the technology has passed the Turing test and is capable of producing 20,000 lines of copy in a second, said Alimama. It said brands using the new tool, such as fashion chain Esprit and Texas-born clothing brand Dickies, can adjust the length and tone of their copy, such as dictating whether they want the tone to be “promotional, functional, fun, poetic or heartwarming.”
What is Turing Test?
Unveiled by Alibaba’s digital marketing arm Alimama, the “AI copywriter” can produce up to 20,000 lines of copy a second and has passed the Turing test, according to the company.
The Turing test measures a machine’s ability to exhibit behavior that is indistinguishable from a human through natural language conversations, and few machines have managed to successfully pass the test. The company did not immediately respond to questions about how the test was conducted.
The AI-copywriter uses deep learning and natural language processing technologies to learn from the millions of lines of existing copy on Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao e-commerce platforms. To use the tool, copywriters simply insert a link into a product page and click a button to see different copy ideas generated by the machine. The tone of the copy can also be selected, according to the company.
What’s So Special About the AI Tool?
The tool is used on average nearly a million times per day, by merchants and marketers on Alibaba-owned sites such as Taobao, Tmall, Mei.com (a fashion flash sale website) and 1688.com (Alibaba’s Chinese-language wholesale buying site).
“For merchants, from today onwards, AI can take care of a portion of their copywriting needs. And it significantly changes the way [copywriters] work: They will shift from thinking up a copy—one line at a time—to choosing the best out of many machine-generated options, largely improving efficiency,” Alimama said in a statement.
As with design, copywriting involves a certain degree of repetitive, low-value work that can be made more efficient, Alimama added. A single product might require up to 10 versions of copy for different ad formats, like posters, web banners, product pages, and other special event pages.
“All the content produced by the AI Copywriter is the result of applying deep learning models, trained with large volumes of quality content created by humans. Human creativity is the cornerstone for the machine, which isn’t able to replace the creativity of people,” said Christina Lu, general manager of Alimama marketing. “AI for marketing… allows people to devote more energy to richly creative work.”
“The AI copywriter is a really amazing tool,” said Shaozhang Ding, head of e-commerce for the Asia Pacific market at Esprit. “Based on a massive database of existing copy and advanced AI technologies, the tool can reduce the repetitive and tedious copywriting workload for our teams.
The AI Copywriter is the latest in a suite of technologies Alimama has developed to assist small to mid-sized businesses on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, including a “smart banner designer” released in April that can resize and reformat promotional website banners with the slide of a mouse (drag a corner of the banner to change the shape of the box, and the system automatically re-proportions the images and copy to fit the new format). In the same vein, Alibaba released an AI-powered video-editing tool for brands to generate—in less than a minute—20-second videos to use for promotion on Taobao.