You Ask, I Answer: Does Gated Content Work?

Darren asks, “Does gated content work?”

Well… it depends.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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Christopher Penn 0:31

In today’s episode, Darrin asks, Does gated content work? Well, that’s a bit of a broad question.

It depends.

It depends on what you what the word work means.

Does gated content drive conversions? Sure.

But there’s a lot of considerations that go into even whether to gate your content or not.

Fundamentally, gated content is a transaction.

It’s a sale, it’s just not a sale that may not may not involve money exchanging ends, but it absolutely is a transaction.

Me the audience member sees a form.

And I have to do the same Calculus I would do for any purchase, I look at it and go, What am I going to give up? And what am I going to get in return? Right? It’s a simple ROI computation, what am I going to invest? Was my return on investment.

Because I know as a consumer, the moment I fill out that form, assuming I put into information, which I may not, I’m going to get pestered.

Right, salespeople are going to call me they’re going to email me they’re gonna direct message me on social networks, they’re gonna go chase me down the street.

Maybe not that last part.

And I know there’s a lot of annoyance, there’s a lot of emotional cost to filling out that form.

So the question is, what am I getting in return for that emotional cost? And if the value is not apparent, based on looking at the form, I may not fill it out, right.

So your gated content may not work? If I as the consumer see that there’s negative return on investment, I look at this thing and go, ah, you know, it’s not worth it.

You know, I don’t need this information that badly.

On the other hand, if the gated content is so valuable information I can’t get anywhere else, it’s something I’m going to learn that is so important.

I’d be like, You know what, it’s worth it, I can put up with it.

Maybe I’ll put in fake information in the forum or something like that.

But I know that there’s a value exchange, right.

And so as a consumer, I would say, Yeah, I’ll hold my nose and fill out the form, knowing what’s going to happen.

So from a consumers perspective, gated content may or may not be worth it based on our own mental and emotional computations of return on investment.

Now, for the business side of things.

As a marketer, I have to decide when to gate not to gate content, and that plays a big role in whether gated content works on if you get content that doesn’t pass the consumers return on investment calculation, you absolutely will not work, right, it will be a dud.

If you only get the things that have high return on investment for the consumer, gated content works just fine.

And so one of the things that you need to do as a marketer is do your own ROI computation, how much did you invest in the content? And how much of a return do you need to show on that investment in order to justify it? So let’s say you have a blog post write a blog post probably didn’t require a ton of investment.

And so you’re not expecting a huge return or you’re expecting a return that is in a form of value that you’re okay with such as just traffic, right? Maybe you’re not trying to measure conversions right on that blog post, and you’re trying to drive traffic? Well, in that case, your return on your investment is solid is positive.

So based on that, you’d say I’m not going to get these blog posts.

On the other hand, if you put together a white paper, and that white paper is something like you know, 100,000 words and research and all this stuff, and you paid 10 grand have a team of editors and photographers put this thing together.

That’s a big investment.

I hope there’s value in it for the consumer, but that’s a big investment.

And so as a marketer, you would have to demonstrate to your, the powers that be that there’s a return on that investment.

And so that’s a piece of content you probably should gate if you need to show a high economic return, gated content would be the way to go.

So, what you can see here from this list scription of these two different ROI models is that it’s not a question of whether or not to get content is a question of the return on investment, you have to demonstrate, and the return on investment that the consumer sees for themselves.

When gated content doesn’t work, it means that you’ve got negative return on investment in one of those places, right.

As a marketer, if you are creating content and you’re not seeing a return on it, then you’re probably not using gating appropriately.

Christopher Penn 5:30

Or you’re the content you’re creating the consumer perceived no value for, as you know, when you’re presenting to the consumer.

Again, your content has to have such value, that they are willing to invest their emotional in not annoyance, and what they know is going to happen, the moment they fill out that form, and they’re going to get spammed by eight sales guys, and get called at all hours of the day.

They the consumer has to say, it’s worth it to get the value from this piece of content.

And so those two models will determine whether or not a consumer does engage with gated content.

And that in turn dictates whether gated content will work for your business or not.

Again, I can’t answer that in an absolute term.

That’s a computation you have to do internally.

But that would be my suggestion for how do you decide whether gated content is the right choice for any given piece of content? And then what is the likelihood that you’re going to be able to demonstrate that gated content does or does not work? So great question.

Darren, thanks for asking.


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