There are two distinct factions of people in the world.
Forget race, class, gender, nationality, etc.
The two factions that truly matter in this life are people who hate gated content (or paywalls) and people who enjoy it and use it.
If we can solve this generational rift, we can solve many of the world’s problems.
In all seriousness, there is a consideration to be made about the utility of gated content and how valuable it actually is in the long term.
Let’s quickly define what gated content is:
“Visitors are required to complete a web form, have a subscription, or make a payment in exchange for content assets.”
When you keep content ungated, your content will have greater reach, search visibility, an improved customer experience, and more. But when you gate content, the benefits can be to capture readers and fans, create a sense of FOMO around that exclusive content, determine how valuable that content really is, and reach more valuable readers.
I am of the opinion that gating content is more valuable than not IF you are past the growth stage of your brand or audience. When you are still trying to gain awareness and establish your voice, gating content is like trying to charge admission into your cardboard box.
So pressing forward, let’s say you are established, you have a medium to a large audience, and you want to find new ways to monetize and filter the best fans from your normal fans. Gating content or segmenting types of content can be an effective way to monetize your most loyal fans.
Forms of payment and ways to gate
The universally established ways to gate content are by literally charging a-la-carte, serving it to recurring subscribers, or asking for their personal info/email in exchange for it.
But flawed in some ways.
With subscriptions, users need to feel like they are getting enough value in exchange for their recurring support. They may unsubscribe for a time, re-subscribe to collect all backlogged content, and unsubscribe again. Churn becomes a big problem.
The same goes for email subscribers. One bad email and you may lose that sub.
A category we have been working on and providing within our web3 community and content management system Unyfy is a “tokenwall”.
Of course, we need to backtrack slightly because not all services and websites utilize tokens. But more and more creator-focused services do, us being one of them, other examples include Rally or Calaxy.
Let me walk through a case that’s based on Unyfy. NBA player Dennis Schröder has his very own creator token on his DS17 app. Those creator tokens are used as micro-payments within the economy of that community. He also uses a second type of token in his community: NFTs, short for non-fungible tokens.
Using these instruments, and bringing it back to content gating, Dennis can choose to publish content with several available options:
Every piece of content, as well as every voting or ideation mission, can either be
- fully public,
- only available to logged-in users,
- only for subscribers,
- behind a tokenwall, i.e. either unlockable with a one-time token transaction or only available to fans who possess certain NFTs.
The tokenwall merits some additional explanation. One-time transactions are based on fungible tokens, often called creator or social tokens. Fans spend those to get access to specific content or experiences. It’s an efficient and easy type of micro-payment. NFTs, i.e. non-fungible tokens, meanwhile, make for great long-term access to exclusive content and experiences. Think of them as collectible meets ticket (among other things).
Here’s why we are convinced that tokenwalls are great for fans and creators alike:
- Users aren’t locked into a subscription
- The content that users can access increases the intrinsic value of the creator tokens or NFTs as ownership of them means actual perks
- Creators don’t have to focus on lots of output but can choose to prioritize quality over quantity – something that runs contrary to the subscription logic of today
Taken together, tokenwalling can shift the relationship between content creators and fans. Because of the higher flexibility and the heightened sense of ownership and community, fans may be more eager to support their favorite creators directly.
Traditionally, gated content is a contentious idea. As creators and brands look to establish more direct relationships with their audience, a social token could be the perfect way for them to be more in control of the content and experiences they are willing to pay for. NFTs, meanwhile combine the collecting of scarce items – think the digitized version of limited edition vinyl – with additional perks and more proximity.
Take advantage of tokenwalling and try it out on your own fan platform. Head over to the Unyfy page where we have a free trial available for you to test it out.