Gated content vs ungated content is a long-running debate amongst marketers. So what is gated content? Gated content is any type of content that is hidden behind a form. To access the content, users have to give their information in exchange for the content. An example would be a website with scientific research articles, but before you get to the website with the article you want, you’re first asked for an email or to fill out a form, after which you’re granted access.
In this article,
- What Is Gated Content?
- Gated Content vs Ungated Content: What Is The Difference?
- Gated Content Examples
- Best Practices For Creating Gated Content
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Gated Content?
Companies use gated content to generate leads and ultimately increase sales. Users will arrive at a website and a CTA (call to action) will pop up. Its purpose is to increase the curiosity of website visitors. The call to action will ask users to provide some sort of input (email, form completion, job association) in exchange for content hidden behind this gate page.
By consensually agreeing to give their contact information, users will be agreeing to accept emails and notifications from the brand. The information given by the customers will help businesses in lead generation and building their customer lists.
Once the user completes this CTA they will be taken to a landing page and given more information on the content that is being offered. Another important point to remember is that using gated content in inbound marketing (giving customers valuable content that is relevant and tailor-made for them) is free. This means users are not required to pay for accessing the content. Instead, they have to give their contact information rather than having to pay for content that is hidden behind a paywall.
The question that comes to the mind of many is why would someone hide their content. The simple answer is to invoke curiosity in the minds of the users. If someone is really interested in what a business has to offer they will gladly give their contact information in exchange for the content. Now, all that is left are users who are actually interested in the product or service the business has to offer and the people who are willing to know more.
Gated Content vs Ungated Content: What Is The Difference?
Gated content is primarily focused on lead generation and is used as a marketing strategy. On the other hand, ungated content is used to increase brand awareness and improve SEO. For example,
- Blog posts
- News articles
- Social media content
Choosing which one to use depends on several factors. So, if you are deciding which one to use, here are some questions to ask yourself so you can get a better view.
1. What is your objective?
Identify the end goal of your business. Is it to increase sales through lead generation or is it to improve the SEO and increase brand awareness?
2. Are your competitors gating content or are they giving it away?
If your competitors are giving the same content without gating them behind a CTA, you might want to rethink a bit. If a user sees that another website is offering the same content you are offering without having to give their contact information, they’re probably going to go there.
Here are some of the advantages of using gated content on a website:
- Helps in lead generation
- Can increase sales
- Provides analytics and insights about your customers (how many clicked on the CTA and how many gave their contact information)
- Helps to segment the Email list
Here are some of the disadvantages when it comes to using gated content on a website.
- Reduced page view and traffic.
- Provides no SEO value or boost.
- The form may actually hold back people from downloading the content they came for.
Ultimately, the goal of gated content is to generate leads. So, if you keep your expectation restricted you can get a proper view of the benefits that come with it like increasing sales and learning more about the customers, how many are interested in the content, who among them gave their information, and who didn’t.
Both gated and ungated content is valuable and the best way to use them is to find the perfect balance between the two. In other words, you must decide which content to the gate and which not to. A tip you can use is presenting long-form content such as ebooks as gated content; the value of an ebook is perceived as significant, so a user would likely feel it would be worth offering their email or completing a form, to get the book. A blog post is shorter in length and would therefore typically not be gated.
Gated Content Examples
1. White papers
This is an excellent example of gated content. A white paper is essentially an in-depth report on a specific topic. These usually come in long-form authoritative content that speaks about a specific topic and nothing else.
A white paper gives a sense of authority to the audience. It makes them feel that the publisher must be an industry expert on the topic. If people know that you are a trusted source they will want to know more about what you have to offer.
Marketers usually show a section of the content to the user and hide the rest behind the gate. This will compel users to seek the rest of the content. In order to access the content, they will have to give their contact information.
In addition to this, ebooks are also good for increasing brand visibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the audience. Also, ebooks are used in the awareness stage and consideration stage of a buyer’s journey.
This is one of the common forms of using gated content and a favorite one that many people use. Templates are a great way to create personalized content. A template that shows steps or a guide to a topic in a simple manner can be used as an actionable piece of content. Audiences perceive templates as highly valuable, even more than an ebook or a white paper. This means people are more likely to give their information for accessing the content.
An important point to remember here is that a template comes under the consideration and decision-making stage of a buyer’s journey.
With a webinar as a gateway, you will be able to share documents, videos, voice notes, slides, and more, either live or as a saved and watchable video to inspire, build trust and create valuable relationships to show viewers your expertise in your given field. The best place to implement this is in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
Also, it is important to keep the audience in mind and what they are looking for. Make sure the content of the webinar is relevant to the audience’s expectations and queries so that both of them are aligned. At the end of the day, gated content must be targeted and help you generate leads for your business.
Best Practices For Creating Gated Content
Use the following tips when creating gated content for a website.
- When creating content, make sure to keep the customer journey in mind- the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.
- Do a competitor analysis to see what your competitors are up to and see what type of content they are offering. If they are offering content similar to yours for free, then it wouldn’t make sense for you to make that content gated on your site.
- Your content must be actionable and valuable at the same time. For example, a demo or a webinar will make people want to know more about your brand’s product or service and try it out for themselves.
- Once the audience has given their email, segment them into smaller groups. This will help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and also help to send curated messages for each segmented email list.
- Once you have acquired the information from people accessing your gated page, the next step is to analyze the data and process it. Gating content means you can check the conversion rate of customers. This is a valuable insight into how audiences behave when given a call to action, or CTA. Once you know how your audience behaves and what type of content they respond to, you can make changes to the strategy to see what works and what doesn’t.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is CTA?
A CTA otherwise known as a call to action is the step that a marketer wants the audience to take. For example, buy now or download now are classic examples of CTA, and in the case of gated content, you’re asking for a call to action before you give the customer what they want, meanwhile getting what you want (stats, email, actionable data).
2. What is a white paper?
A white paper is an authoritative, in-depth report on a specific type of content. Marketers usually use white papers to educate their audience about in-depth content, to explain an issue, and offer a solution to solve it.
3. What is the buyer’s journey?
A buyer’s journey represents the journey of a customer as they navigate their way through a website. It is the journey that a customer goes through on their way to buying a product or service.
Gated Content For Lead Generation
Gated content is an excellent way of using the curiosity of the customer for lead generation. Marketers can use both gated and ungated content on their websites as they will have the added benefit of improving lead generation and increasing the visibility of the brand.