How to implement self-reported attribution in HubSpot
Mar 09, 2023
To gate, or not to gate your content, that is the question… This is one of the biggest conundrums in content marketing, and a decision many a marketer has mulled over in recent times. The trend is now moving away from gated to ungated content, but there’s still a place in the world for both, when used effectively. Here we examine the gated vs ungated content debate and look at the merits and minuses of each option.
Marketers primarily choose to gate content in order to generate leads. They choose to do this just because their marketing efforts are measured by their business on the basis of how many leads they generate. So, to appear successful, they must supply as many contact details as possible.
It’s important to remember that the ultimate goal for a business is not to generate contact details, it's to generate revenue. The reason to gate content shouldn’t just be to achieve marketing targets to generate X number of leads. This is only a tick-box exercise of collecting data and submitting it to sales.
Marketers, therefore, need to get away from this way of thinking and only gate content when it’s an effective way of driving sales and revenue.
The bottom line is that buyers favour ungated content. They're reluctant to provide personal details to access content unless they absolutely must, and there is now an increasing number of alternative channels where they can find similar information, such as:
Not only will they find similar, ungated information elsewhere online, but it will also be in the channels they already use and love – it’s in their feed, their preferred medium, and almost requires no effort to consume.
Buyers have also become savvier. They know that if they hand over their details, they could get bombarded by marketing emails when all they want is to read a single piece of content. According to content marketing expert David Meerman Scott, ungated content is downloaded 20 to 50 times more often than gated content. He therefore suggests that if you do opt to gate your content, you should at least reduce the number of fields in the forms users have to complete.
Changing from gated to ungated content requires careful planning.
The metrics you use to measure your marketing success will have to change. These can no longer be heavily based on how many leads specific pieces of content have generated. If you just switch to ungating all your content without adjusting such metrics, your leadership team will see a rapid drop in leads and presume the worst.
You will need to continue to chart the success of your content with effective content marketing metrics. However, the most important factors indicating success will be that your pipeline doesn’t drop and revenue rises or remains healthy.
You therefore need to change your:
To get the most out of your ungated content and achieve the best result, you need to provide an excellent user experience for your visitors, ensure good SEO, and maximise its reach.
To create a good user experience, be sure to craft enjoyable material in a well laid out format. Your content should have good readability, useful navigation aids and provide logical next steps, to help time-poor readers swiftly and easily access the value of your content.
With regards to SEO, your ungated website content needs to be grouped in what HubSpot calls topic clusters. These are collections of content organised by subject, which use logical and consistent internal links to create authority on a particular topic.
To maximise the reach of your content, you should repurpose it for different channels. For example, your blog or pillar page could be broken down into smaller LinkedIn posts or used for a podcast discussion. Repurposing content for your buyer's channels allows you to maximise your reach and communicate your message effectively.
If you’re still wondering whether you should gate or ungate your content, the answer is, prioritise ungated content, but use gated content sparingly, as with the right intent it can be useful. With good strategic use of gated and ungated content, you can effectively optimise the value your content delivers to you and your customers.