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The benefits and pitfalls of gated content for finance brands

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With financial marketers looking for new ways to amp up their content to keep ahead of the game we revisit one of the old faithfuls and address the value of gated content for finance brands. 

There’s no doubt today that content is a valued player for marketers, with inbound marketing platform, Hubspot reporting that 70% of marketers are actively investing in content, the top priority being to generate leads. And with an estimated 80% of B2B marketing assets being gated, it’s already proving to be an effective strategy for many finance brands. So, what are the considerations when determining whether gated content is the right strategy for your finance brand? 

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How to use gated content?

Whether your objective is brand awareness, engagement or acquisition, it’s essential to be able to measure the impact of your content marketing efforts. And crucially, to be able to engage with customers ongoing—be they B2B or B2C. As strategies behind measuring content marketing become more sophisticated, one technique to demonstrate content ROI is to quantify the value of leads brought to the business. Here’s where gated content comes into play—using gated content can help maintain the integrity of articles, whitepapers, research reports and other forms of content that finance brands are producing and help generate valuable leads for the business. 

Finance brands and gated content

The Financial Times and The Financial Review are two examples of leading publications that have embraced gated content by using a paywall. And while the subscription model may be more common for media publications it’s proving relevant for finance brands too. Ophir Asset Management has embraced gated content to help generate leads for its newsletter database, using the insights and commentary of their internal investment experts as the value-add to capture investors’ interest and personal details. By finding a unique angle or insight, or through weightier pieces of content, finance brands can not only capture leads but gain a sense of a potential customer or client’s area of need or interest. However, it’s not as simple as gating a piece of content and the leads will come. 

Is the decrease in traffic worth having gated content?

When gating content, there will always be a drop off of users who see the lead generation form as a barrier to entry. This means finance marketers need to weigh up the value of the warm leads generated versus those that drop off. With the average cost per lead for financial services sitting at $160 compared to $55 for education and $34 for retail, finance brands have a lot to gain from capturing relevant and engaged leads without the cost. 

With the average cost per lead for financial services sitting at $160, finance brands have a lot to gain from capturing relevant and engaged leads without the cost.

Does gated content damage your brand?

In many instances, gated content could mean fewer people see your content, which in turn raises the question of whether this will affect brand awareness and brand authority. But it doesn’t need to be a case of one of the other. In fact, they should help support one another. By maintaining the quality of ungated content it provides proof of the value and quality of your brand’s content and confirms that it’s worth users giving up their personal details.  

Another way to make sure you’re not impacting your brand in a negative way is to make the user journey to content as seamless as possible by reducing the number of form fields to only the details that are necessary. There should also be a calculated customer journey path from capturing their attention on social to funneling customers through your ungated content and finally onto the gated lead gen opportunity. 

Will Google penalise finance brands for having gated content?

Having gated content does mean Google isn’t able to scrape content and links on your website and therefore can’t index keywords or pages, which can impact your website SEO. To overcome this, finance brands should include teaser content including keywords and phrases separate to the gated content that Google can index. This also gives individuals a sense of what they’re signing up for. 

To further improve your SEO ranking, consider these best practice SEO tips. And if you’re unsure how your website SEO is performing, use our free SEO website audit tool.

Gating to achieve a higher ROI on content

It’s important to remember, not all content needs to be behind a gated wall. Finance brands can hook users with an engaging article, or short-form piece of content to demonstrate the value of content being produced before using weightier content formats such as whitepapers, guides or reports to do the heavy lifting to capture and convert leads to a customer or client. Quality gated content is a piece of the content marketing puzzle that when used effectively can play a valuable role in the overall customer journey.

Interested in understanding what point in the journey to gate content and how to find the sweet spot between gated and ungated content, read more.    

As finance content marketing specialists we can help you create content for every stage of the customer journey, get in touch

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Aisha Noor
Aisha is a Dubs content producer specialising in all things digital from video production to website development. Having been a Sydney-sider for a few years now, she's mastered the art of Tim-Tam Slamming with the perfect cuppa.