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Is it Worth Scaling a Wall to Reach Your Content?

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DATA-DRIVEN CMO is an ongoing series on the Brooks Bell Blog that focuses on topics for the modern day data-driven CMO.

Imagine you enter a store to check out a new TV. A friend recommended the TV and referred you to a particular store that carries it. You walk into the store and immediately see the TV in the front display. As you start walking towards the TV to check it out firsthand, a tinted, semi-transparent wall slides in front of your face. Then two more walls slide down from the ceiling forming a box with only one exit: Walking back out of the store. You can see the TV through the tinted wall but not enough to truly get the information you came for. On the wall it says, “sign up for our mailing list and you can see the TV.” What do you do?

Well, if you are like me, you walk out the door and go and find a different store that carries the TV.

Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. More and more, companies are treating their first-time visitors the same way by using tactics like popups, light boxes, and application-style accessibility to gate their content. We would never think of treating visitors to a brick and mortar location this way. But when customers become an aggregate visitor count—as on a website—we feel empowered to put up walls.

Do these tactics work? Of course they do. We use this tactic on this very blog with great success. But there is a more troubling trend emerging: Websites that box you in with a choice to submit or leave. Today I followed a tweet link promising a story about my favorite football team and it brought me to a block page with only two options: Sign up or leave. When forced with these two options I chose to leave, feeling the content behind the wall wasn’t valuable enough to me.

Check out this screenshot:

data driven cmo sign up interstitial screenshot photo

So what does this all mean? If you decide to put up a wall, make sure the other side of the wall is worth getting to.

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