Gated Content And LinkedIn Ads: A Case Study (Ab Test Results)


Hey there, savvy marketers! Ever wondered why some LinkedIn Ads perform like rockstars while others barely get a nod? Well, today we’re pulling back the curtain on one of the most debated topics in B2B marketing—gated content. And guess what? We’ve got a case study that’s going to make you rethink everything you thought you knew about LinkedIn Ads. So, let’s get this show on the road!

What is Gated Content?

Definition and Types

First things first, what the heck is gated content? Simply put, it’s content that requires users to fill out a form or take some action to access it. Think eBooks, webinars, or exclusive videos.

  • eBooks: The classic lead magnet.
  • Webinars: Great for deep dives into a topic.
  • Exclusive Videos: Perfect for showcasing expertise.

The Psychology Behind Gated Content

Why do people even bother with gated content? It’s all about the perceived value. When something is “gated,” it automatically seems more valuable. It’s like being on the VIP list at a club. You’re not just anyone; you’re someone who has access.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Higher Quality Leads May Deter Some Users
Better Targeting Requires More Effort to Create
Increased Engagement Risk of Lower Traffic

Why LinkedIn Ads?

Overview of LinkedIn as a B2B Platform

LinkedIn isn’t just for job hunting or stalking your ex-colleagues. It’s a goldmine for B2B marketers. With over 700 million professionals, it’s the place to be if you’re looking to make some serious business connections.

Types of LinkedIn Ads

  • Sponsored Content: These are the ads you see in your feed.
  • Message Ads: Directly into your prospect’s inbox.
  • Dynamic Ads: Personalized based on user data.

Why LinkedIn Ads are Effective for Gated Content

LinkedIn Ads and gated content go together like peanut butter and jelly. Why? Because LinkedIn is where professionals hang out. They’re not just scrolling aimlessly; they’re looking for value. And what better way to provide value than with some killer gated content?

The Case Study: Real-World Results

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. We ran two different LinkedIn ad campaigns, both targeting the same audience but offering different pieces of gated content. The results? A jaw-dropping difference in performance. Let’s break it down.

The Challenge: What Were We Trying to Solve?

We wanted to generate quality leads. Simple as that. But as we all know, what sounds simple often isn’t. We had to figure out what kind of gated content would make our target audience click that “Learn More” button.

The Strategy: How Did We Approach It?

We decided to test two different gated content offers. Both offers were designed to provide value but in different formats. The goal was to see which one would resonate more with our audience.

The Results: Gated Content Offer #1 vs. Gated Content Offer #2

The Metrics: A Tale of Two Offers
MetricGated Content Offer #1Gated Content Offer #2
Total Spent£1,249.65£596.17

The Lesson: The Importance of the Offer

Here’s where it gets crazy. Offer #1 had a Cost Per Lead (CPL) of £21.92, while Offer #2 skyrocketed to £84.17. That’s literally a 4x increase in cost! What did we learn? Your offer is the linchpin. It’s more important than your creative, your copy, or anything else.

  • Creative Matters: But not as much as the offer.
  • Copy Matters: But again, the offer takes the cake.
  • Targeting Matters: Yet, the offer still reigns supreme.

Setting Up LinkedIn Ads for Gated Content

Ready to set up your own LinkedIn Ads for gated content? Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Steps to Set Up LinkedIn Ads

  1. Choose Your Objective: Lead generation, brand awareness, etc.
  2. Select Your Audience: Use LinkedIn’s robust targeting options.
  3. Decide on Ad Format: Sponsored content, message ads, etc.

Choosing the Right Format

Different ad formats serve different purposes. Choose wisely.

  • Sponsored Content: Best for broad reach.
  • Message Ads: For a more personalized approach.
  • Dynamic Ads: When you want to get fancy with personalization.

Targeting and Budget Considerations

Don’t just throw money at your campaign. Be smart about it.

  • Geo-Targeting: Focus on regions where your audience is.
  • Budget: Start small, then scale.
  • A/B Testing: Always, always test.

Metrics to Measure Success

You can’t manage what you can’t measure, right? So, let’s talk about the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter when you’re running LinkedIn Ads for gated content.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measures the effectiveness of your ad.
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): How much are you paying for each lead?
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that turn into leads.

Tools for Tracking Performance

  • LinkedIn Analytics: The built-in analytics tool from LinkedIn.
  • Google Analytics: For a more in-depth analysis.
  • CRM Software: To track leads through the sales funnel.

Real-life Example: How Did It Work for Us?

Our case study showed a dramatic difference in CPL between the two offers. It was a wake-up call. We realized that while CTR and other metrics are important, CPL gave us the real story.

Lessons Learned

What Worked and What Didn’t

  • What Worked: Targeting was spot-on. Offer #1 was a hit.
  • What Didn’t: Offer #2 was a miss. It was too costly and didn’t resonate.

Adjustments and Pivots

We’re going back to the drawing board for Offer #2. Maybe it’s the format, maybe it’s the content. But something’s gotta give.

Tips for Those Considering a Similar Approach

  1. Test Multiple Offers: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  2. Monitor Metrics: Keep an eye on that CPL!
  3. Be Ready to Pivot: If something’s not working, change it.


Summary of Key Takeaways

  • Your offer is king. Period.
  • Metrics like CPL can be eye-opening.
  • LinkedIn is a fertile ground for B2B marketers, but you’ve got to play it smart.

Final Thoughts and Next Steps

So, should we all stop using gated content on LinkedIn Ads? Heck no! But we should be smarter about it. Test, measure, adjust, and for heaven’s sake, make sure your offer is something your audience actually wants.

Further Reading: 

Craving more insights into mastering LinkedIn Ads? Don’t miss our other killer articles packed with strategies to elevate your B2B game. Check them out now:

Philip Ilic

Philip Ilic

B2B Growth Specialist

Phil helps B2B SaaS companies with growth marketing and is a deep specialist in Linkedin advertising and paid social more generally (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). He runs a paid social agency called and is the founder of


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