Is Gated Content Still an Effective Marketing Strategy in 2021?
Since its inception, gated content has been an effective way for B2B content marketers and international media groups to generate quality leads.
However, with the evolution of search engines and social media marketing, it has been suggested that perhaps this strategy will soon outlive its usefulness.
Fundamentally, ungating your content ultimately improves organic visibility, which means better leads.
So what is the reasoning behind gated content, and is it still an effective digital marketing strategy?
What is Gated Content
Have you ever had to sign a form to gain access to an article? Or have you ever clicked on a resource just to be redirected to a page that requires you to sign in to view its contents?
Any content that requires you to share some of your personal information for access is gated content.
How it Works
Many top brands use gated content as a way to generate new leads. The information you provide is what gains you access to the content you are looking for.
Note that gated content is based on profiling, target marketing, and extensive market research. These factors consolidate to provide content that targets a particular demographic.
The aim here is lead generation, not visibility. The contrast is that, in principle, gated content attracts a specific kind of lead generation, one that has a genuine interest in the content.
Key Elements of Gated Content
Gated content can be time-consuming because it requires you to personalize content in all three major stages.
From awareness creation to the point where leads convert to sales, your content needs to be target-specific.
The constant email structuring and audience segmentation also become tedious, and none of it guarantees conversion.
On the flip side, gated content examples like e-books, templates, and webinars are well-researched and valuable resources that hold some level of industry authority.
There is consensus that gated content is usually more in-depth in terms of building brand authority–the only lingering question is whether ungating this content would be good exposure.
Pitfalls in Gated Content Data Collection
A few weeks ago, T-Mobile, an American telecommunications company got hacked, and an estimated 36 million social security numbers got auctioned on the black market.
While some companies use customer details for lead generation, some use them for black hat tactics.
Users willing to trade in email and even bank information to access content are at constant risk.
Cybercrime has made consumers wary about how companies use their data. While these issues are rare in gated content circles, they are still a concern for many people.
Does Gated Content Still work in 2021
In terms of operational value, if you have great content, people will want to buy it, even if the price is an email address or a small subscription fee.
In the end, marketing dynamics have evolved over the years, and engagement is fast becoming a key feature in many marketing ranks.
The consensus here is that although gated content does facilitate effective lead nurturing, it is still an intrusive practice that is still a threat to online privacy.
Another issue is that the term “premium content” has been so badly misused that buyers end up suffocated with spam emails and ads.
90% of customers share personal data for a piece of content that they can easily access for free on a different page.
Gating content has become counter-productive, mainly because consumers have opted to give fake emails to access content and not deal with salespeople who send 15 emails a day.
This debate is still very polarized. If you are an international media group with unique and valuable content, gating is an option, but how do you determine if your content is that good?
On the other hand, gating content limits traffic to your site, which means that your content may be top-notch, but what use is it if no one gets to see it?
Gating Content has its perks, but with General Data Protection Regulation (GDFR) and online privacy debates ongoing, this strategy will lose its appeal.