Branding & Marketing

Gated and Ungated content – Which is best?

By Oh, Hello Branding Group on August, 30 2021
    Download our Business Marketing Checklist
    Back to main Blog
    Oh, Hello Branding Group

    Content marketing has become such a huge part of the digital marketing strategy and gating your content is one of the easiest ways to build your email list. Potential customer emails are so valuable and can have a big return on investment. But what content should be gated and what should be left ungated? We’ll get into all the pros and cons of each.


    Gated Content

    Gated content is a piece of content that is only accessible after the visitor fills out a form. The ultimate goal of gated content is lead generation. Most of the time, you’re targeting their email address, but you can gather other information as well. The gated content strategy can be beneficial because instead of sending cold emails, you know these visitors have an interest in your business because they were willing to fill out a form to read your content.


    Some examples of commonly gated content include:

    • Ebook
    • Whitepaper
    • Live demo
    • Webinar
    • Newsletter
    • Research report


    Ungated Content

    Ungated content is any piece of content that is freely available on the internet without having to fill out a form or make a payment. You can view, download, or interact with the content whenever you wish. It helps build organic awareness and encourages your audience to keep consuming your content.


    Examples of ungated content:

    • Blog post
    • Video
    • Podcast
    • Infographics


    You can make more content ungated even if it isn’t included in the above list. If you have an ebook that you choose to keep ungated, that is completely okay. Sometimes it’s good to keep some content ungated as it can build authority on a certain topic.


    Gated Content: Pros & Cons
    Pro: Lead generation

    Every business needs leads. But you don’t want any old leads, it’s important they are quality leads. Create content that addresses a pain point for your target audience. Once you get their contact information, you can nurture the lead through relevant email offers, customized social media ads, and even personal outreach.


    Pro: Powerful segmentation

    If you have many pieces of gated content available, looking at the analytics of downloads can give you some very insightful information. Look at what content is being downloaded the most and it will tell you what specific topics your audience needs the most help with. With this data you can create more content around this topic and send it to these leads, while also drawing in a similar audience. You can also segment your leads based on what content they are interested in.


    Pro: Sense of exclusivity

    Gating the right content will give your audience a sense of exclusive access to premium content. It’s important that the content you keep gated is deeply valuable and unique though. Your audience will feel deceived if they find out that it’s something that other companies publish freely.


    Con: Less SEO benefits

    One of the biggest drawbacks of keeping your content gated is that it can’t boost your SEO efforts. Search engines can’t crawl it and other websites can’t easily link to it. You’ll have to actively promote it through other channels like social media or email or else people will have trouble finding it.


    Con: Limited audience building

    If your business is new and you don’t have a lot of ungated content, your audience might be hesitant to fill out a form for a piece of content. For gated content to work, you need a pre-built reputation. There will be a lot of people who don’t know much about your company, don’t trust your company yet, and is unsure if the gated content is worth it. Because of this, without a solid reputation, building your audience may take some time.


    Ungated Content: Pros & Cons

    Pro: Organic SEO results

    If you have a great piece of ungated content, it can bring you relevant search engine traffic for potentially years to come. You won’t necessarily have to constantly promote it like other gated content if it’s high up on the search results page. Valuable, evergreen ungated content can bring in a lot of customers.


    Pro: Reach and engagement

    Ungated content is easily sharable because you don’t need to fill out a form in order to view them. Other companies and media can link to it and customers can share it. People can easily pull graphs, quotes, stats, and more as well.


    Con: Lost leads

    Let’s say someone finds your piece of ungated content and thoroughly enjoys it. They implement the suggested actions, share it with their team, and trusts your business. The issue is that you have no idea who they are. You don’t know their name, email address, their company, etc. You can only hope that they eventually come back and become a customer.


    Con: Less control of the funnel

    Because you don’t have their information, it limits the behaviors you can track. You won’t know what links they’ve clicked, content they’ve downloaded, their pain points, etc. Even if they end up reaching out through your contact form, you won’t know how much they’ve interacted with your website and you won’t be able to tailor your response based off of this.

    So, what’s best? It’s important to have a mix of both ungated and gated content. If you have any questions on how to build up your content library, please reach out to us here at Oh Hello Branding Group. Content marketing is a huge part of our strategy and we are experts at knowing what to keep gated and what to leave available for everyone.

    SEO vs. SEM 

    Submit a Comment