The SiriusDecisions research brief “Web Content Access: Removing the Guesswork” offers four criteria for gating content, which I’m pleased to share with you.
Gating Defined and Weighed
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, “gating content” means asking your website visitors to provide their details before you give them access to a piece of content. Advocates of gating content emphasize the benefit of gaining vital customer data, while opponents emphasize the disadvantages, which include limited distribution and less search engine visibility.
I share SiriusDecisions’ view: there are no absolutes when it comes to gating content. Website conversion and visitor qualification are best served by a offering a blend of gated and ungated content assets.
When Do You Decide?
As SiriusDecisions points out, the decision “to gate or not to gate” should be made during your demand generation program planning process. That way, you make sure that all content produced has a defined role. Also, a strong lead management process, in which lead attributes are clearly understood, will help you determine how much content should be gated and which data fields to include in your content gating forms.
The Four Essential Criteria for Gating (or Not)
Before you decide whether to lock the gate, consider:
The objective, or how the asset helps achieve a specific demand generation program goal:
- Attracting an audience
- Engaging visitors
- Qualifying leads
- Accelerating leads through the pipeline
Your target audience, including their:
- Horizontal/vertical market characteristics
- Awareness of your company and its offerings
- Buyer role and stage in the buying cycle
The content’s value.
- How deeply does it satisfy your target audience’s information needs?
The uniqueness of your content.
- Can your target audience access similar content freely elsewhere? Search for related keywords and phrases and compare your content to what already exists, especially in terms of relevance and quality.
“Requiring web site visitors to complete an online form before getting access to content is the demand creation equivalent of the cover charge.”
And making them show their I.D., I would add. Personally, if I have to stand in line, dig out my wallet and prove my credentials, then pay for the privilege of being in the audience, I raise my standards and expectations for what I’m about to see. It better be one fantastic show!
What’s your view on gating content? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.