One of today’s leading church communications practitioners is Kenny Jahng, aka @godvertiser. He’s all over the place and helps all kinds of people through services like Church Butler and formerly served as the Communications and Media Pastor at Liquid Church.
He recently interviewed me for his Lunch & Learn series and we talked about all kinds of ways churches can use social media to spread the gospel. So, cool conversation (watch it here)!
I had shared, in the interview, about the importance of Facebook Ads to our strategy for reaching new people at Grace Hills Church and I didn’t think much of it at the moment but I threw a number out. I estimated we’d probably spent close to $40,000 on Facebook Ads.
Kenny published the interview on his blog for the benefit of church communications thinkers. What I found interesting is that some people who aren’t necessarily immersed in that particular world much were caught a bit off guard by the seemingly high figure.
I get that. Totally. So I wanted to explore it a bit.
Why in the world would a church spend $40,000 on Facebook Ads?
$40,000 Spent and No Regrets
First, some clarifications:
- It was actually Facebook AND Instagram.
- It was over five years, not all at once.
- It was, literally, our entire advertising budget for five years.
- It has worked! Very well, in fact.
I will never forget that one Sunday… We were launching a new message series called Healing. It was all about how Jesus’ beatitudes are the ultimate pathway for recovery. We spent about $200 sponsoring a video advertising the series during the week leading up to the first Sunday.
The results? 74 first-time guests came and, literally, all of them indicated on their communication cards that Facebook was how they’d heard about us.
Two young ladies who had come because of the ad shared with me after the service that they were heading out to a party the night before and our ad caught their eye. They decided to attend our services that morning and both of them prayed to receive Christ.
$40,000. Well spent.
But that’s not all. Theirs isn’t the only story. We now see about 400 to 450 people gathering each week and a majority of them have actually come as a result of seeing our ads on Facebook, or seeing something that a friend has shared on Facebook that pointed back to us.
Repeatedly, we get to meet people who are disillusioned with church, who haven’t been and aren’t sure they’d be welcome, but who are reassured by our ads, especially the videos, in which we make it clear that everybody belongs at Grace Hills.
Many of the people who have come as a result of seeing those ads have:
- received Jesus
- been baptized
- started growing in their faith
- gotten involved in serving others
- gone on a mission trip
- given financially to sponsor children in Belize
- welcomed others at the front door
See what I mean?
$40,000. Well spent.
If the thought has crossed your mind, but that money could have been spent on better things…
Perhaps. But if we’d spent that $40,000 on something “better” than reaching lost people, we wouldn’t have a church of hundreds of people giving their time, talent, and treasure to the amazing causes that we support.
$40,000, broken down over five years is an average of $8,000 per year, which means we’re spending about $650 to $750 per month on advertising our church on Facebook. That’s all we ever spend on promotion. No newspaper ads. No yellow pages ads (who uses those anymore anyway?). And dozens of people have heard about and followed Jesus as a result.
Why Facebook Ads Are So Valuable
If you think it’s okay to spend hundreds of dollars on an ad in the Yellow Pages (don’t even get me started on how enormously wasteful that really is) but not dozens of dollars on a Facebook Ad, you definitely must read my book, Rewired, and get a handle on just how amazing our current social networking cultural current is.
Here’s why I love Facebook and Instagram ads… they’re personal.
It isn’t just:
Here’s a church.
Here’s MY church.
Catch the difference?
With traditional print advertising, churches get to state their existence in hopes someone who doesn’t attend church (because none of us wants to simply recruit from among the already-churched, right?) sees their ad, thinks about why they should check out a church, and gets up the nerve to attend.
They don’t know if they have any relationships there.
They don’t know if it’s relevant or not.
But we expect them to just show up. Because some of us grew up thinking, that’s just what people do – they go to church.
With a Facebook ad, a person sees at least three things…
- This church exists.
- My friend goes there, or at least likes and trusts them.
- They’re offering something I need – it’s relevant.
So, one more time…
$40,000. Well spent.
People will be in heaven because we chose to put our church out there in an engaging and relational way. My only regrets? Not doing it better. Not doing it sooner. Not doing it enough.
How to Get Started with Facebook Ads
- Read Rewired. I’m biased, but it’s a decent foundational work.
- Join something like That Church and go to an event or learn from their online resources.
- Start. Experiment. Do it wrong so you’ll know how to do it right. That’s what we did.
- Take an online course in Facebook marketing.
Need help? Reach out. I do coaching. 🙂