Whitepaper vs eBook:

Difference, Application, Effectiveness

In B2B marketing, eBooks and white papers are the top offerings bringing positive results in marketing.

In fact, according to research from Demand Gen Report, 51% of B2B buyers use content during their research process to decide whether to make a purchase or consider a service. The report further shows that, of those buyers, 82% read whitepaper and 67% download eBooks before making a purchasing decision.


Learning the difference between the 2 will help you make an informed decision on which one would suit your business better. In this article, we will help you understand the difference, application and effectiveness of both Whitepaper and eBook.


What is a Whitepaper?

White papers are like a report or essay, it often uses a combination of authoritative language and relevant industry issues and always shows how a product of services provides a solution to an existing problem.


Basically, whitepapers contain expert knowledge alongside in-depth research. And it is for this reason they are seen as educational resources that encourage readers to look further into the resolution provided, thus generating leads.


Brands usually use white papers to demonstrate their company’s value, present new research on a topic or provide thought leadership. In effect, it provides a great opportunity to increase brand and consumer trust.


Generally, white papers tend to be on the lengthy side – between 1,000 and 10,000 words.


The purpose of the white paper is to act as a keystone document that showcases your in-depth expertise of a certain subject and act as a dossier of your company’s values. It provides a great opportunity to foster thought leadership and increase brand and consumer trust.

How do you create a whitepaper?

First, you must choose a relevant topic that highlights your expertise while also keeping your target audience in mind. Here is how you find that topic:

  • Speaking with the sales representative to see what prospects are concerned with the most.
  • Following key influencers on social media to see what everyone’s talking about.
  • Paying keen attention to industry trends through subscribing to market reports.
  • Through searching your company’s database for commonly asked questions.
  • Checking Google Analytics to see if you already have a high-performing piece of content on your site – then reformat that content into a white paper and redistribute.
  • Compiling relevant customer or industry data and publishing as a white paper.

How to make your whitepaper as impactful as possible

  • Use only credible sources: When creating your whitepaper, it is crucial to use reliable sources to provide detailed industry analysis and be seen as a thought leader. Stay away from secondary sources. Using them lowers the significance of your reports.
  • Back up all claims with data: Don’t just theorize your whitepaper. Not only do statistics allow designers to graphically call out important components of your white paper, but they lend additional authority to your argument.
  • Follow a logical format: How you structure your white paper is very crucial. Start with a quick, informative intro that discusses methodology, then break up the main body of your copy into several sections or subheads. Finally, wrap up with a solid conclusion that supports your arguments that harkens back to your original claim.

When to use a whitepaper?

You will need a white paper if your goal is to:

  • Provide detailed industry analysis and thought leadership
  • Generate leads
  • Distribute research to your target audience

What is an eBook?

eBook is a valuable asset. It is an asset that is filled with illustrations and quick takeaways.


eBooks focus on general questions and ideas which readers take lots of time for.  It tends to perform better at the “awareness” stage because they appeal to wider groups with general, rather than specific, knowledge of a subject.


It is usually written in a more casual tone, similar to a “how to” guide.


Two main benefits of ebooks are that they’re interactive and actionable. eBooks often provide readers with concrete steps they can take to solve a specific problem, and are typically geared at readers who would benefit from a more general overview of the subject rather than a deep dive.

How do you create an eBook?

First, research a relevant topic that resonates to your target audience.

Outline each chapter of the book where you incorporate industry information, data, statistics and quotes that are related to the story you are trying to tell.

Then decide on the design process such as which color, images, graphics and so on that work for you. A few design considerations to keep in mind:

  • Use colors, fonts and illustrations that align with your existing brand.
  • Decide which best conveys your message, whether still photography or custom illustration.
  • Keep each unique concept to its own page for better flow.
  • Use data points or metaphorical language in the copy to inform design cues.
  • Create a branded front and back cover page, producing more of a “book” feel.

When to use an eBook?

You’ll need an eBook if your goal is to:

  • Introduce your audience to a new concept or service.
  • Turn a difficult topic into something that’s easier to comprehend.
  • Provide information in a visually satisfying way.
  • Boost lead generation.

Which is best for your business? A Whitepaper or an eBook?

When thinking about whether your content team should write an eBook or white paper, you need to evaluate which one performs better at the various stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration or decision.


White papers tend to resonate best with people in the “decision” stage of the buyer’s journey. This is largely due to the amount of prior knowledge that a white paper reader typically has on the topic.


eBooks on the other hand, tend to perform better at the “awareness” stage because they appeal to wider groups with general, rather than specific, knowledge of a subject.


It is also important to report on the appropriate marketing metrics so that you can make sure that creating your white paper or eBook is worth the effort.

If you are looking for further B2B marketing strategies please find our blogpost here.


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