The Case for Online Advertising: Why your Church Needs to be Using Facebook Ads
At ProChurch, we’ve been helping churches with outreach and evangelism resources for over 10 years. In that time, a lot has changed in our culture.
The world population has exploded to 7.7 billion people, with more than half of those people living in large cities and urban areas.
The internet has changed the way we do everything. Almost everyone owns a phone.
- In the U.S., 96% of adults own a cell phone.
- And 81% own a smartphone, which means they have access to the internet and social media 24/7. Basically, we walk around with a personal computer in our hands all day.
And those are just a few examples. We’ve also seen massive changes in other areas of politics, education, and technology.
But one thing has not changed.
The mission of the church is still to reach people with the gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ. Mark 16:15 tells us to “Go into all the world_ and preach the gospel to every creature.”
This is the mission statement for your church. This is the mission statement for every church.
And in this blog post series, we’re going to lay out an outreach strategy that you can implement to reach people in your community every day of the year.
At ProChurch, we’ve done entire conferences on running Facebook ads for churches. We’ve learned a lot from working with churches just like yours - churches that have a passion to reach their communities.
But if you want to make that kind of impact in your community, you need to start with a perspective shift.
Online advertising is no longer optional if you want to effectively reach your community.
Right now, thousands of those people around your church are active in online communities like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger.
If you are going to obey the command to “go into all the world”, your church needs a digital presence.
Now, a lot of churches have a good website or even active social media accounts. But having a great website doesn’t guarantee that people will see it.
Instead of waiting for people to find your website, you need to go where they’re already active online.
So where do you start?
Well, take a look at the breakdown for the leading social networks as of February of 2019.
As you can see, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram are by far the most active social platforms online, and all of those apps are owned by Facebook.
There really isn’t a better place to start than with Facebook ads.
So let’s take a few minutes to bust some common myths about Facebook:
Reality? There are 1.56 Billion daily active users on Facebook. Combine that with their family of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger) and you have a massive audience.
Plus, 76% of Facebook users are active every single day.
Again, not true. A majority of Facebook Users are between the ages of 25 and 35
In fact, 35% of Facebook users are Male 18-34 and 23% of Facebook users are Female 18-34. That’s more than half of the users being under the age of 35.
The reality is that 94% of digital marketers use Facebook Ads. Why? Because they know it’s one of the best places to get people’s attention.
This is a very common objection to online advertising. But the truth here may surprise you.
Using Facebook ads in by far the most affordable paid-outreach option.
According to LYFE Marketing, “the average CPC (or cost-per-click) for Facebook is about $0.80”
Compared to billboard, radio, and tv ads, this extremely affordable.
Here’s the reality. People are online in your community, and many of them are looking for a church. They just don’t know you exist.
For his book, “The Unchurched Next Door”, Thom Rainer and his team did 3 years of extensive research on the “unchurched”. He defines the “unchurched” as those who attend church less than three times a year.
Here’s what they found:
96% of the unchurched said they were likely to attend church if they were simply invited.
And guess what? According to Pew Research:
71% of those people are active on Facebook!
There’s no way around this. If you don’t have a digital outreach strategy for your church, you are missing out on one of the most dynamic opportunities to reach your community.
You’re walking away from a huge cross-section of your community. You’re saying, “We care about you, but we’re not going to come to where you are. We’re going to wait for you to find us.”
We’re not saying that online advertising should be the only part of your outreach strategy.
Encourage your church family to give personal invitations to their neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Print invite cards or door hangers and pass those out in your community. Use every resources you can.
But remember: online advertising is by far the most effective way to reach the most people in your community, which means that digital outreach needs to be a central part of your mission strategy.
This is our case for online advertising. It’s why we believe that digital outreach is no longer optional for churches that want to effectively reach their communities.
Now, it’s your turn. We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
- Does your church run Facebook ads right now?
- What is working for you church? What’s not working?
Let us know about your church’s online advertising in the comments below.
We’ve also created a FREE RESOURCE to help you with your church social media. You’ll get 10 ad templates with headlines and ad copy. You can find those here.