Gated Versus Ungated Content: The Good, Bad, and Ugly and How to Take Action

How much knowledge do you have about gated and ungated content? What level of experience do you have in this area? Whether your brand has experimented with gated and ungated content in the past or if this is a new concept for you, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of using content so you can make the best, well-informed decisions moving forward!

Why do you think marketers and brands are fans of gated content? Oftentimes, it’s because gated content provides direct access to marketers about various prospects who are in the middle of the funnel. From here, prospect engagement can begin, which often consists of sharing details about a brand’s specific product, solution, and/or service. 

The Benefits and Downsides of Gated Content

The good news is that not only can marketers determine their prospects’ interests, but they can also incorporate gated content that offers the exact same solution, product, or service prospects are searching for at a specific time. 

The bad part consists of brands asking prospects to provide their personal data even before they have started engaging with them. If prospects are at the first stage of the sales funnel, gated content can be fatal because information is restricted from prospects and customers unless they provide personal information to access that specific content.  Nowadays, a large majority of customers prefer convenience, and unfortunately, gated content doesn’t help with that.

One of the ugliest and most dangerous risks of gated content to keep in mind is disappointing customers at the time when types of content don’t provide them with any value. For the most part, very few customers would willingly share their personal data for content that’s not valuable or worth exchanging.

Also, if the content an audience is searching for is easily available somewhere else, but your brand placed it as gated content, it will most likely backfire and not deliver the results you hope for. Additionally, if prospects share wrong or inaccurate information for the sole reason of downloading a white paper, for example, then the result will likely consist of building a database where no leads convert. 

With this being said, what do you think the bottom line is?  If a brand can offer valuable content based on an informed understanding of their audiences and their buying personas, then gated content is an idea worth implementing. But, if there are any doubts or concerns, it may be better to keep content ungated until more is learned.

Ungated Content’s Positives and Negatives

Overall, within numerous industries and sectors, many marketers and brands view ungated content as a solid concept where readers can gain access to different types of content without having to provide any of their personal information. It’s no wonder why a large majority of  B2B marketers are vocal advocates of ungated content.

One major positive about ungated content is that it begins with the basic premise of marketers helping customers by providing valuable and informative types of content. In general, most marketers genuinely want to help both prospects and customers find the right solutions without acting too pushy right off the bat. When something valuable and free is offered to customers, they tend to come back, which ends up building trust and loyalty while facilitating engagement and a possible sale.

On the other hand, one negative about ungated content is that brands often have no clear idea about who might be interested in their product or service. Since there’s no form-fill page for prospects and customers to fill out, their names or email address remain a mystery. It’s not unreasonable to assume that brands won’t know which companies or industries their website visitors are a part of, resulting in a variety of wasted opportunities.

Furthermore, one specific part of ungated content to be aware of is that the story doesn’t end with wasted leads. Ungated content can lead marketers to send their content out to anyone and everyone hoping it reaches the right person, which is far from ideal. Brands that choose to implement this specific strategy continue creating and promoting valuable content, and visitors keep coming back to consume that content, but what happens from there?

If marketers don’t properly engage with website visitors and help move them to the next stage of the funnel, there’s a low likelihood of conversions. With this being said, it’s important to interact and engage with visitors on a deep level, and unfortunately, this won’t happen if content is ungated all the time. 

How Should Marketers Take Action?

Knowledgeable marketers often use a combination of gated and ungated content in order to attract visitors and convert them into loyal customers. Upon getting started, marketers should have a clear understanding of the content types that’ll be gated and ungated. This begins with deciding which content types should be ungated and gated based on short-term and long-term business goals.

It’s ideal to use ungated content while targeting visitors who are higher in the funnel in order to build brand awareness and trust in the initial stage of interest. For example, an ungated blog post can be used to build website traffic, increase reach, and boost engagement. Once this occurs, gated content like e-books or white papers can be used for lead generation purposes. As prospects move further in the funnel, appointment-based content like webinars or product demos can be utilized to close a deal. 

All in all, it’s important for brands to keep a close eye on their company’s content library and their variety of resources to be tailored as gated or ungated according to their specific marketing goals. Valuable types of content and a user’s journey go hand-in-hand, and the use of gated and ungated content are both advantageous in their own ways. What role will ungated and gated content play in your organization? Check out any of the informative articles listed below to learn more and gain useful content tips!

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