The gating, or restriction of downloading content until information is supplied by an individual, of content is a common practice for many businesses. The practice of gating content is not new, but its efficacy can be argued.
Content is a great way of keeping your brand top of mind while offering additional insights and education to your target consumers. Making the decision to gate this content or offer it freely can be difficult. Let’s examine the pros and cons of requiring information from consumers before they can access content you developed.
· Obtain client information
Easily the most valuable aspect of gating content is storing the client information in a database. By requiring information like first/last name, email, etc. before content can be accessed, you are obtaining information on the exact type of consumer interested in your offering. This type of information is invaluable. You can then use this information to email the client, add them to your digital retargeting efforts, and more.
· Track downloads and engagement
When a consumer needs to provide information to download an asset, it becomes very easy to track the engagement of that piece. Most software can count the amount of downloads and views content receives which in turn tells you how effective it is or if something needs to be changed.
If a certain piece of content is performing well, find new ways to use it. You can learn how to extend the life of your content here.
· Control of assets
When content contains a lot of primary insights and data, gating it is a smart choice. This allows you to maintain some level of control over your content and the data inside. While still available to anyone willing to provide the information, it does deter scammers, malware, etc.
· Limited sharing
People are less likely to recommend content to their peers when it is gated due to the hassle of supplying information. This reduces the reach of your business much more than if the content were free to access – but in doing so you also lose out on obtaining consumer data.
· Turning away prospects
Similarly, gated content drives away consumers. Many are skeptical of providing their information due to the influx of unsolicited emails and other forms of contact. No matter how great your content may be, gating it will cause you to lose out on some downloads.
· Less transparency into audience
When your content is free to access, consumers know exactly what they’re getting. Gated content usually contains a teaser – just enough to get them to enter their info and download the piece. But what happens if the content is poorly promoted and doesn’t contain the info the consumer wants? It can give a poor impression and affect your ability to convert that consumer into a client.
At the end of the day, the choice to gate content can be complicated. Consider what is most important to your business at this time and how content (gated or not) can help support your business goals.