With recent events changing our online behavior and businesses, the age-old question comes to the forefront again – to gate or not to gate. Even within the Omeda Client Success team, there has been healthy conversation on the benefits to both sides. There are many valid reasons why we should not be gating at this moment in time. For example: We can show empathy by not gating in the current event climate as we want to get news out to everyone as quickly as possible. It’s an opportune time to also build up an audience. Yet, arguably, metering can be strong during this time with points such as: Content is the hot commodity right now. No one can host events and the majority of the workforce is remote. People need to access content to help their job performance and to connect with others. Why wouldn’t we gate our premium content?

If you are reading this and scrolling for the answer – you can stop scrolling. There won’t be a definitive answer. It’s very much like the age old chicken and the egg debate. There is no one right answer that will fit for every brand. As always, it all comes down to knowing your audience. You must do what is best for growing the readership your brand attracts. We will look at both sides of the equation and some innovative ways to consider gating/metering.

Let’s Consider Not Gating

At this point in time, our society needs the information fast and they need it now. We have seen many news media organizations take gates down so that they can inform the public about the Covid-19 situation as it unfolds. Here in Chicago, we saw the Chicago Tribune immediately remove its gate and we were able to read as many articles as we liked during the initial onset of the virus. In a time of initial panic, this created a sense of comfort in being able to read the local paper without there being a gate blocking access. Readers returned to the site consistently to stay updated with the latest news, developing a strong a sense of brand loyalty. The Chicago Tribune has implemented small requests for subscriptions from readers, such as a penny for four weeks, but it has allowed visitors to read the articles and stay informed as Covid-19 hit the US.

Let’s Consider the Other Side – Gating

During this time of working remotely and cancelled events, companies are developing extremely solid content and looking to capture leads and first-party data. Events and conferences are out of the picture for a while. Therefore, brands are developing more digital resources and premium content to replace in-person events. Some professionals argue that these leads should absolutely be captured and gated in order to grow the audience. Now more than ever there is a need for your premium content, and your audience will pay or register due to this.

In the world of gating and metering, there is no right or wrong. Only through knowing your audience can you come to the right balance and conclusion. In fact, now is a great time to re-examine and look at what should and shouldn’t be gated.

We recently covered ways to gate in our March 18th webinar on how to dynamically control the metering based off of who is in your audience. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. You have the ability to gate based off specific audience information and demographics. Additionally, the creative methods of metering other premium offerings such as smaller online events and meetings can provide opportunities to drive revenue. In rethinking how to gate and meter, new offerings and programs can be developed to grow your audience.

The empowering part of first-party data (whether you gate or not) is that you have access to the content, community and ability to know your audience. Being innovative is what will ultimately drive revenue for your brands during the course of the next few months. Developing your community online and putting out the content they crave will cultivate your audience and establish brand loyalty.