July 19, 2022
When Your Church Should Choose Digital Advertising
Looking to promote your valuable digital content or upcoming event? Digital advertising may be the answer for you and your church.
Part 1 of this series did an excellent job of explaining the state of organic social media. It certainly has its uses, but the digital space is evolving and organic is no longer a catch-all for every audience and purpose. If you want to promote your weekend service, event, ministry or resource, you will need to use a promotional tool to do so. Enter digital advertising.
So, what is digital advertising?
Digital advertising is simply how you can use digital channels to promote your church, ministries or events to an online audience. One key thing to remember is thatdigital advertising is a paid service.You are essentially using resources to get your content in front of people who might not see it if you didn’t.
Why does digital advertising work for promotion?
It works because it exists for the sole purpose of getting eyes on your promotional content. Social media platforms and search engines are constantly optimizing how advertising works on their services. So as things change in the digital space, your ads will continue to be optimized based on new algorithms or functions. Unfortunately, organic content doesn’t quite work that way.
The most distinct advantage that digital advertising has is that you can target your distinct audience. Digital ads through both social media and Google can help you place your content in front of users based on a ton of different variables.
Want to place your content in front of people searching for churches in your city? No problem.
How about folks looking for guidance in their marriage? Sure thing.
Perhaps someone who visited your website but hasn’t been back in awhile? Let’s do it.
Digital advertising is no longer an invasive, annoying subject to be scorned. It now allows you to bring immense value to the audiences your church feels called to serve.
So, which digital advertising platform should we use?
There are two key platforms you can use in your digital advertising strategy—social media and Google Ads.
Reasons to use social media ads:
Brand Awareness Among other things, social media ads are great at creating brand awareness. Users will not only have info about your church or ministry, but also visual identifiers that will help them remember you (photos, logo, etc.)
Providing Value When you use the many robust targeting features on social media, you have the power to bring value to your unique audience.
Marketing Social media is the new billboard. It gives you the opportunity to get your event in front of the right people at the right time.
Long-term Connection Social media advertising will also help increase your social media engagement and increases the likelihood that those people will see your content in the future.
Reasons to use Google Ads
Google Ads are great at generating traffic (getting people to your website) and conversions (completing the CTA you are asking them to). Your Google Ads appear when people are looking for that topic, so the user intent is already there. Now your content will be at the right place, at the right time to meet them.
Topical Search If you're looking to reach audiences in your area, Google Ads may be a great fit. You can utilize keywords to reach people searching for resources, ministry tools or a church in your town or city.
High Volume Unsurprisingly, Google is the most popular website in the world with an estimated 5 billion searches occurring each day. So if someone has questions, you can be there to provide answers.
Speed While SEO is a great tool to enhance your digital presence, Google Ads is sort of like the microwaved version of it. Google Ads place you near the top of the search results for as long as your budget allows.
Both social media and Google Ads improve with time. As more people interact with your ads, these platforms can use data to determine what is working and what isn’t. From there, you can optimize to save money and reach more people.
Need help mapping out a digital advertising strategy? Here are some things to think through to get started.
1. Why are we going to advertise?
What purpose will our ads serve? What does success look like? What value are we hoping to bring to our audience?
2. Who is our audience?
Just like with organic content, digital advertising needs to start with this question. Who are we hoping to reach? Where do they live? What are their interests?
3. What is the temperature of our audience?
Are we advertising to people who are cold (interested in what we are offering, just haven’t heard of us yet), warm (they know us but haven’t engaged), or hot (people who have been to our church or engage with our content)? How will that shape our ad content?
4. Which tools will we be using?
Will we lean into social ads? If so, which platforms will we choose? Are we going to do Google ads? How about both? Will we have a landing page to direct people to? (What's the next step?)
5. What is our budget? And for how long will we advertise?
How much will we spend on ads? Do we have a weekly, monthly, or yearly budget to pull from? How long do we want to run our ad based on our budget?
If you’re just starting out, take a step. Dip your toe in the water! Put a little bit of money into digital ads for your next event, key valuable content or upcoming Sunday gathering. You can start small and scale quickly as you learn more about each platform and what works best for you on each one.
Just jumping in? Make sure you check out Part 1 of this article series on organic social media. Combining both of these strategies will improve your digital presence and help you grow your impact online.