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Gated vs. Ungated Content: What is Right for Your Business

Google inbound marketing trends and you might believe that “gated content is dead” or at least quickly becoming as obsolete as landlines, DVD players and alarm clocks.

How else to explain (actual!) headlines such as:

  • Why You Should Kill Gated Content Once and For All
  • Why We Killed Our Lead Forms and Gated Content
  • Is Gated Content Dying?

While -- to paraphrase the one-and-only Mark Twain -- reports of gated content’s death are greatly exaggerated; we also think the days of 80 percent of all B2B content being gated are fast fading.

Defining Gated vs. Ungated Content

If at this point you are still searching for more gossipy details on the Bill and Melinda Gates 27-year marriage breakup, then you have clicked on the wrong post! Our gated vs. ungated topic is a bit more mundane but can certainly be acrimonious in some circles where marketers have strong opinions on the best way to deliver content.

“Gated content” is that content on your website that is only available to the viewer after they have submitted some personal information or signed up via registration or form. This is not the same as content behind a paywall, as gated content is not something you have to pay, but you must share personal data to have access.

“Ungated content”, on the other hand, is that content on your website that you give access to without any requirements to sign up or register.

Gated Content Still Has Its Place

Once you have toiled and agonized over creating interesting and useful content you want to share it with the world, especiallymasaaki-komori-_we0BQQewBo-unsplash those potential customers. The question becomes then: gated or ungated?

While we believe in most cases ungated content is the best course of action, there is still a need for gated content in the right circumstances. At the end of the day when all the page views, shares and comments are totted up, the real number most businesses will look at is how many highly qualified leads were generated.

Gated content can be crucial in generating this lead, especially when select, long-form content is used properly as part of a specific campaign objective.

Benefits of Gating Content

Core dna in its “Let’s End This Gated vs Ungated Content Battle Once and For All” article gave voice to the pro-gate crowd in the form of one of HubSpot’s founder’s Mike Volp's view that targeted views with contact information for content are better than a greater number of views with no contact information.

“If I can get 100,000 people to see that page and I can get 28,000 people to fill it out, 28,000 contacts may be more valuable than even 50,000 people seeing the content,” Volp said.

Core dna gives three main reasons for gating content:

  1. You Don’t Have to Sacrifice SEO for More Leads: The old adage that gated content will lead to less SEO traffic does not have to hold true. The key is a focus on creating the perfect teaser page that leads to the gated content. If your teaser pages and ungated content generate SEO, then you can securely focus on offering gated content as well.
  2. Gated Content Can Lead to Direct Sales: We know, we know – we had you at direct sales! If your gated content is beneficial and useful it will boost your lead acquisition and lead to more sales. E-books and white papers are great examples of gated content that has enough meat on its bones to warrant more action by those who consume it.
  3. Gated Content Can Serve as a Segmentation Tool: Segmentation is important for email campaigns and other marketing tools. The more you can segment your offers or pitches, targeting them to a specific group, the better chance you have of converting those viewers into leads. Gated content placed in specific areas of your website naturally segments your audience.

Make Your Gated Content Count

It should go without saying but not all content should be gated as your website should be based on a solid foundation of ungated content such as blog posts and videos.

Entry product and services information, that information at the start of the buyers journey, should certainly be ungated as they will not sign up or register for content until they know a bit more about what you are offering and what you stand for.

HubSpot says the cons of gated content included:

  • Lack of page views and traffic
  • No SEO benefit or boost
  • Deters people from downloading content
  • No brand visibility

“Ultimately, gated content is meant to generate leads that you can nurture into prospects through your marketing efforts while ungated content is meant to increase traffic and improve trust with your audience,” Rebecca Riserbato writes for HubSpot. “Both types of content are valuable and should be included in your content marketing strategy.”

We agree that both gated and ungated content are valuable to your inbound marketing strategy. The key is knowing the right time and place to offer the right content.

Contact adWhite today for a free consultation including how gated and ungated content can help generate high quality leads for your business.