Content Marketing: Gated Or Ungated, That’s The Question Here
What Content Marketing do you use to reach your Customers? An Experiment clarifies how the Decision affects your lead generation and what you need to improve.
Gated or Ungated Content is an age-old Debate in Content marketing that takes into account many Factors. With pure Textbook Knowledge, Marketers often can’t get on with this Decision.
That’s why this Post not only highlights the pros and Cons of Gated and Ungated Content. The Main Motivators on both Sides are broken out and compared with the Results of our Experiment.
We uncover new Links between Content Gating and the Lead nurturing process that you may not have thought about yet. Finally, you’ll be presented with other Options to Help you address and Maintain Leads.
Pros & Cons
Any Company that produces its Content must inevitably ask itself how that Content is made available to Users. Should interested Visitors Be offered Ungated Content, so you want to make the Content freely accessible to everyone?
Or is it more efficient to provide the Content only in Exchange for Information? Visitors, for example, must fill out a Question form Before they can download the Content.
As the Head of a Content Marketing team, I know this Debate all too well. She was a recurring Topic at our weekly Meetings and was repeatedly discussed for various Content such as Case Studies, Reports or Guides. A few of them have held their own in the long Debate.
The real Motivations
Unfortunately, even if you neatly contrast all the Arguments with each other, this does not yet answer the question of which Content Marketing makes the most sense for your Company. To do this, it is necessary to incorporate the individual Content Marketing goals into the Assessment. In Principle, we have two Motivations that play an essential Role in your Content Gating.
1. Encrypted Content for lead generation
Lead generation is critical for any Business that wants to build Relationships with new or existing Customers. Through the Question Forms, you collect Information from visitors who interact with your Brand and appear to be Interested in your Content. By Identifying, this Group can be included in the Lead nurturing process.
A few simple Question Fields can make all The difference when it comes to classifying a Visitor and turning it into a Customer. We want to keep the Hurdle as low as possible and therefore require only three simple Information from our Visitors: Name, Company and email.
2. Freely accessible Content to Increase brand awareness
No Doubt – with freely accessible Content, your Visitors will get the Information they are interested in, the Awareness of your Brand will be increased, and you will reach a larger Audience. So If your Main Goal is to get more Clicks on your Content, that’s a clear Argument for Ungated Content.
The Idea is that your Brand, with all the useful Information, will first go into Advance and be rewarded for it later, with readers remembering your Brand at relevant Moments and Making Decisions in your Favor. The larger the Audience, the better the Chances that the advance performance will pay off.
So While lead generation makes a clear Case for Gated Content and brand awareness stands for Ungated Content, there are a few other Things you should think about before making a Decision for your Content Marketing strategy.
The Decision on your Content Marketing also depends on a very pragmatic point Of View. What Resources are available to your Business? That, in turn, stems from the Size and Financial Situation of the Company.
Typically, small Firms take a greater Risk if they freely make their Content available and refrain from providing contact Information to potential Customers. With few Resources and a budget, the Content should not be invested solely to Increase Brand Awareness. Because it is doubtful whether these Investments will pay off in the short Term.
More Ungated Content Than You’d Think
Even if you want to encrypt your Case studies, Reports or Webinars with Question forms, you probably produce a whole Host of valuable Content that is freely accessible. These can be Blog Posts about Thought leadership, Videos, Infographics, instructions and much more.
Be aware of this and put this Content in the Limelight even better. Jump Up to new or current Topics, take a select View in a Discussion, offer your Audience entertainment or exclusive Content they won’t find Elsewhere. Because good Ungated Content can also deliver promising Visitor Interactions such as demo requests, newsletter subscriptions, etc.
Visitors expect free Content
A Counterargument to Gated Content is the Expectations of users. Nowadays, People are used to being able to use Content freely. Whether it’s online navigation services or Entertainment on streaming platforms, in the Information age, there’s Free and freely accessible content everywhere.
So your Visitors expect the same from your Brand. If the Needs are not met quickly enough, the User searches elsewhere and is gone faster than you can tell Ungated.
Setting up Your Experiment
Until our Experiment, we had offered our Case Studies, Reports and Guides exclusively as Gated Content with a Question form. We wanted to have this Visitor Data to fit it into our Lead nurturing processes.
We wanted to keep the Gated Content hurdle as low as possible and therefore require only three simple Pieces of information in our Question Forms: Full Name, email address and Company Name.
To find out which Content Marketing is right for our Brand, we conducted a controlled Experiment over a more extended Period. Because we assumed that different Content serves different Purposes for our Visitors, we have developed two separate Experiments: One focused on our guides and Reports, and another on our Case Studies.
In each Experiment, 50 Percent of our Visitors were led on Landing pages with Gated Content, while the other 50 Percent got to see a Version with free Download. In the Version with freely accessible Content, we replaced the Question Form with a Call-to-action button with the Message “No email required.” Visitors should immediately realize that this Download Button works without Providing any Information.
Our Main Hypothesis
Visitors who need to fill out a Question form First are more likely to cancel the download process than Visitors who have free Access to the Information. Overall, more Visitors download Ungated Content than Gated Content.
But it is only for this Finding that we did not carry out the Test. The much more exciting Question for us was whether the Lack Of the Question form would have other Side effects or Effects on Metrics like demo requests.
- The Goals of our Experiment
- Different Development of the Click-Through Council (CTR).
- Subsequent Growth of demo requests to The Experimental Groups.
Our Content Marketing Result
After 144 Days, our Measurements reached statistical Significance, and we were able to start Analyzing them. This allowed us to uncover some exciting Connections.
Initially, we saw that the Downloads of Case studies at the Ungated Content Group Were 62 Percent higher than the Gated Content group. The Downloads of the Guides and Reports were 15 Percent higher for the Ungated Content group Than for the Gated Content group. So Visitors headed to a Landing Page with Ungated Content were more likely to download our PDF files. This confirmed our Main Hypothesis.
Noteworthy, however, is the Links between Download behaviour and demo requests. Visitors who had completed a Question Form to Download a Case Study were more likely to make a demo request, with a probability of over 99 Percent.
A clear Indication that Visitors who are willing to fill out the Question form really want to get in Touch with our Brand – and so filling out the Question form is also an important Indicator in our Lead Nurturing process.
When Downloading The Guides and Reports, we found four Percent more demo requests for the Gated Content group. However, That Number was not significant.
Our Decision in Content Gating
In Terms Of Case studies: We want more People to read our Case Studies, and the 62 percent increase in the Ungated Content group is immense. That is why we have decided to make our Case Studies freely accessible to all Visitors.
We also added a Demo request form at the End Of each Page of the case studies. So That the Readers of our Case Studies are encouraged to Contact us. As a result of these Changes, we hope that more People will read our Case Studies and additional more demo requests will be made.
Regarding Guides and Reports: Since the Impact of the A/B test in this Experiment was not clear, we decided to keep all Guides and Reports locked behind a Question form. It is still unclear if there is a Link between downloading Guides and Reports and the demo requests. As long as that is the Case, we want to know who is downloading our Guides and continue to have the Opportunity to enter into direct Dialogue with these Visitors.
You can also track Visitors anonymously
The Main Reason companies don’t want to do without question forms is because of the valuable Contact information they need to generate a lead. But there are Ways to identify unknown Visitors without them having to fill out a Question form. Anonymous visitor tracking allows Marketers to create comprehensive Visitor Profiles.
Only two to three Percent of our website visitors provide their email, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know anything about the other just under 98 Percent. Through various
Techniques such as Cookie Matching, Capturing browsing habits, reverse IP identification, Data Onboarding or Context targeting, Marketers can equip the anonymous Visitor Profiles with important Information and thus also These Visitors Provide a personalized online experience.
Now to you
Data does not always give us a clear Path. The Decision on how to use this new Knowledge is always up to us. Through our Experiments, I can now make reasoned decisions about our Content Gating.
I know which of our Content is heavily influenced by Question forms and what connections there are With our demo requests. This allows me to create a Mix of Gated and Ungated Content that is perfectly attuned to the Behavior of our Visitors.
Now it’s your Turn to carry out your Experiments. The Behaviour of Visitors varies from Brand to Brand. Therefore, the Results of other Experiments cannot be related to one’s own Company. Be skeptical of old Ways of acting And collect your own Data to draw your own conclusions!
Links between the Downloads of your Content and other Levels in the Lead nurturing process must not be suspected, and you must prove them. It’s especially exciting to categorize your Content and look at it separately. There could be surprises waiting for you here.