Should Your Church Advertise on Facebook?
By Darby Jones
SUMMARY: The answer is a resounding “yes!” When you advertise on Facebook, you can reach almost any demographic imaginable, efficiently and effectively. This focused advertising helps you reach those who may be interested in your specialized ministries, day-care facility or other offerings. If that doesn’t impress you, consider the statistics:
• Facebook has more than 500 million registered users. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world in terms of population.
• Facebook includes more than 200 million active users. Registered users and active users are comparable to the number of church members versus actual attendees.
• Active users spend an average of 56 minutes per day on Facebook.
• Facebook accounts for about 21 percent of all pages viewed on the Web.
Because Facebook has such a large data pool, you can narrow the audience you want to reach to those living within a 50-mile radius of your church, to people between the ages of 18 and 35 and to those whose friends are connected to your church’s Facebook page. This is just one example of the many ways Facebook advertising can work for you.
Successful ads create engagement.
Once you decide to take the plunge, consider what type of ads your church will post. This is tricky, because most people think advertisements sell products. However, the most effective ads on Facebook engage the user rather than sell a product.
Engaging ads promote free events, causes and other things about which people are passionate. One example is to advertise a small group that meets on weekdays and hikes on weekends. It is easy to target Facebook users in your area who like outdoor activities. Other examples include promoting a cool blog, a great video-sermon or a children’s ministry. The key is to send messages to people whose Facebook profile mentions a passion for the topic you are promoting. If they click on your advertisement’s “Like” button or become a “fan,” you can begin to promote other areas of your church, ministry and faith.
How to start a Facebook ad campaign
1. Login to Facebook and go to www.facebook.com/ads.
Click the button that says, “Create an Ad.”
2. Write copy.
Insert your URL, title, body text and image. Since you only have about two seconds to grab a user’s attention, your copy and image must stand out. Find a good writer and graphic designer to create your ad.
3. Select your demographic.
Choose what type of people will see your ad, based on what you are promoting. Parameters include geography, age, gender, education, marital status and interests.
4. Choose a bidding model: CPM or CPC.
Cost per 1000 Impressions (CPM) and Cost per Click (CPC) are two bidding models from which to choose when pricing your advertisement. A marketing expert will use CPM to test ad performance, but that requires time and expertise. CPC means you are only charged when people click on your ads. If your budget is low ($5 to $25 a day) and you do not have time for optimization, your best bet is CPC. This way poorly performing ads will not waste as much money. If you choose CPM, be sure you have the time to manage it. Then research test campaigns using the CPM bidding model.
5. Bid high for quicker ad approval.
The higher your ad submission bid, the faster Facebook responds. After Facebook approves, you can lower your bid rate to something sensible. Do not expect this technique to work forever. The Facebook robots will eventually catch on and stop responding so promptly, but high bidding is an effective technique for new advertisers to get in quickly.
7 rules to reach the masses via Facebook
“Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15b, NRSV.
These tips are more detailed and will help you creatively and strategically make the most of your advertising dollars.
1. Ads should snap, crackle, POP!
Use words that are clear and concise and that POP! Keep your ad simple because the window for both image and text is tiny. Follow this rule to lower your Cost per Click (CPC), raise your Click Through Rate (CTR) and increase the value of impressions. Impressions are the number of times an ad displays on a webpage. They’re also free if you choose the CPC pricing model.
2. Passion pays off.
Passion ignites when a powerful ad and the right audience connect. Use targeted marketing to reach the audience with your message. For example, the 18-34-year-old crowd might be most receptive to an ad for a contemporary, online worship service. Ignite passion by matching your ad with people and their needs, and your advertising will reap more results.
3. Testing is the most important take-away.
Don’t waste your money on low-performing ads. Maximize your CTR by testing your ads to find which ones perform best. Split-test various ads by altering the following elements:
• Copy – Asking targeted groups to click “Like” below the ad works well. Test this approach with another call-to-action and see which works best.
• Visual image or graphic – The visual image or graphic you choose creates the POP. You may think that pink images will vibe with women, but you won’t know unless you test.
• Interest groups – Find out who’s clicking. Less responsive interest groups are too expensive. Go further and test the demographics within each interest group.
4. Create a click-through kill switch.
Set a threshold for your CTR that is acceptable to your campaign and budget. If an ad slips below the CTR threshold or never meets it, then kill the ad quickly, redesign it or target a different demographic. Set your threshold by testing different ads and developing your own standards for what works best.
5. Monitor your campaigns closely.
It’s pointless to have a kill switch if you don’t monitor your campaigns. Even if you start with great results, your ad performance will inevitably weaken with time. People who click first on an ad are usually the most passionate. After the first wave of clicks, the cost of reaching the next group increases. That’s why it’s important to monitor your CTR daily so you’re always ready to flip the switch.
6. Get help.
Choose one or two staff or interns who can help keep an eye on ad performance. This task is relatively easy and similar to being a Facebook fan-page administrator. Add as many administrators as you can so it’s not a burden on one person.
7. Conversion tracking tools make it easy.
Facebook’s tracking guide will help you run a Cost per Fan (CPF) campaign quickly. CPF is one of the greatest metrics for analyzing your ads efficiency.
Darby Jones Is the eMarketing Coordinator at United Methodist Communications.
The above article, “Should Your Church Advertise on Facebook?” was written by Darby Jones. The article was excerpted from www.umcom.org web site. May 2016.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”