Marketers: White Papers Should Require User Registration, Study Shows

By Michael Stelzner

Pop quiz.

What marketing tool are readers most willing to register for: demos, webinars, case studies, white papers or analyst reports?

The answer may not surprise you if you follow my columns: white papers.

A new study by KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa reports that both marketing professionals and users overwhelmingly rank white papers as the content they are most willing to register for.

Said another way, this means that folks are willing to trade their personal contact information for a white paper. If you want to generate leads, white papers are your magic weapon.

Nearly 2400 readers ranked their willingness to register for items as follows:

  • White paper (79%)
  • Case study (62%)
  • Analyst report (56%)
  • Product literature(45%)
  • Demo (38%)

Another important finding was that 72 percent of people that read white papers indicated a detailed summary of the paper will strongly encourage completing a registration form, while only one in four marketing professionals agreed.

This discrepancy between what readers want and what marketing pros deliver is one I have seen for some time. The solution: Be sure you offer many paragraphs of content as a lure to get readers to register.

MarketingSherpa said;

Users are very selective about the content they will register for, so it shouldn’t be surprising that providing enough detail to make an informed decision is important. But it appears that vendors don’t pay as much attention to this factor as they should. Take a look at the summary information you’re providing for your content and ask yourself if it will satisfy users’ need to know what they’re getting.

What are your thoughts about this study?


Receive email updates when new articles are posted.

  • Andrew Kordek

    White papers are our biggest assets that we have at my company, so it goes without question that this is great info. I am all for letting folks not give info for other things, but whitepapers are very educational.

  • Michael Stelzner

    Hi Andrew;

    Yes indeed this study shows how important they are AND that good papers should require a reg. form


  • Andrew Kordek

    and depending on your strategy..either thought leadership or lead gen its good news. Interesting number at 38% who are willing to give info for a demo which I am assuming or would equate that in the software biz to a trial download…

  • Michael Stelzner
  • marti garaughty

    Great article Michael. We just started using white papers in our marketing and are getting amazing results.

  • Amie Stilo

    I didn’t realize so many people would register for the information being as there is so much on the internet that does not require registering for, thanks for the info :)

buy personal narrative essay