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I’m always blown away by how great of a resource facebook can be for building the kingdom of God. From the amazing community and friendships that can happen in groups, to reaching new families with the good news through our online efforts.
It’s become such a great tool that there are plenty of times I wish I would have taken a few marketing courses in college, because I’ve had to invest quite a bit of time to always be improving, learning new tips or hacks, and growing my abilities with facebook or instagram ads for our church. But one thing that has bothered me is that in a lot of the resources or guides that are out there, they operate from a standpoint of spending thousands of dollars a month on ads or it not being worth it.
Here’s the thing: Your church can see successful results from facebook ads no matter your budget.
Inversely, your church can stay in the same spot whether you’re spending $5,000+ a month on facebook ads or have never run one in the history of your church.
What no one talks about enough is that you’re not going to retain 100% of the first time guests that come in your door. Most studies I’ve seen from places like barns or the unstuck group, would say that the fastest growing churches in America only keep roughly 2 out of every 10 first time guests, and that its more common to see churches keep 1 out of every 10 first time guest. I’m a big believer that what keeps them has a lot more to do with what God is doing in their hearts than what systems we have built, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need systems.
So, with those two thoughts, the church I’m a part of that replanted 3 years ago has grown from 40 to an average attendance of 120 each Sunday, and we’ve seen new families join primarily through finding us online. In 2018, we had over 600 first time guests, and would bet that 90% of those came through an online, digital invitation, rather than a personal invitation (which we’re working to improve, as I still would say a person invited to church by a friend or neighbor is probably more likely to keep coming than one who only sees a facebook video invite).
How did we do it? It goes without saying that we always prayed for this, for the guests that came, for the community that would see our ads.
But, this is how we spend less than $100 on facebook ads and have seen a steady stream of guests.
A) we have an ad focused on families. We target a 5 mile radius of under 50 which is a target audience of 120,000, and it runs for $1 a day. Last week we had 4 visits planned from it and the total cast for the week was closer to 5.30, so sometimes its higher but we have had good success with this running for a few months and averaging closer to $25 a month.
B) I have an ad running, again for $1 a day, that is A/B testing the creative, and targets those near our “storefront/business location.” It all communicates our mission/vision and links to our plan your visit page, and rotates 6 images that highlight our small groups, student ministry, kids ministry, community. That one does typically take its full $30 a month
C) We will do bigger spends around the holidays or for some of our other events, like VBS things.
D) We boost our sermon streams for $5 each week. It gets us in front of eyeballs again for fairly cheap, and we’re going after the repetition.
It’s nothing huge, we at times have focused on retargeting (again, around easter time) and maybe we could be more effective in different aspects. For us, we’ve seen great success in reaching new families, primarily ones who are unchurched/dechurched, with this amount. I’m sharing because I do believe facebook ads are a great resource for churches, but I don’t believe there is one silver bullet formula to success, and sadly, many churches are spending more to learn how to do a specific system of ads than the average church has to be able to figure it out.
Hope this helps!