When to Gate Content and when to Ungate
Ungated Content Excels, When…
When it comes to reach & engagement, you’re often better off with freely available content. This includes:
- Blogposts, Articles & FAQs
- Videos & Podcasts
- Social media postings
- Product or service demos
They are also ideally suited for the upper funnel area, i.e. the early stages of the buying cycle. In this context, we’re talking about „demand generation“.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation © Hubspot
Gate Content With Care
Conversely, there are arguments for putting extensive, well-researched, high-quality content (note: I’ve mentioned 3 different quality criteria here :-) behind a registration barrier – because it is ideally suited for collecting initial contact information from potential prospects (i.e. lead generation).
The data collection frenzy for whitepapers and e-books should definitely be kept in check. In my opinion, you should not ask for much more than a (hopefully business) e-mail address during the initial contact.
Yes, it’s stupid because with only that, you can’t even put a “proper” salutation into the e-mail, but you have to build up trust first.
Depending on how far I’ve progressed in my customer journey, or how well I’ve been provided with information so far, my willingness as a user to give away more of myself also increases.
Other gated content classics include:
- Webinars & online courses (or their recording)
- Industry reports & study results
- Checklists & Templates
- Exclusive events or access to closed communities.
New Gates Ahead?
Individual web platforms, such as the Smart Links of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, are on the rise. They’d be tracking who has viewed or downloaded which asset – and for how long.
Great for finding the perfect spot to follow up after a customer demo or a proposal has been sent – but exhausting when I just want to look around or get my bearings.
Hence, for early buying stages another No-Go.
Personally, I’d rather watch an unlisted YouTube video than access a Vidyard video message via a tracking link. I’m also a bit skeptical when clicking bit.ly URLs. You guys are too, right?
Unless you’re operating on a global scale (and hence have an almost unlimited market opportunity, don’t go for gating: Show appreciation! Make it clear that you take data protection very seriously and only send relevant or valuable information.
When in Doubt: Don’t Ask for Data!
Now that we know all the pros and cons of each content strategy, I want to state explicitly that gated content should remain a valuable tool in any marketing toolbox – but only when it’s really appropriate.
Gated Conted Flowchart © Godelta
With the right tools and processes, ungated content can help raise brand awareness and drive user engagement, while gated content helps identify and better qualify leads as just that.
Ultimately, the choice between gated and ungated content depends on the specific goals and needs of one’s own company. At the moment, the sensible combination of both is, therefore, the best solution for us.
Gated Unngated Content Model © Oktopost
How about you: Where are your white papers stored? Are you #TeamGated or #TeamUngated?
Let me know in the comments or come by sometime and we’ll discuss further over coffee…