Facebook Advertising – To Boost or Not to Boost, That is the Question

Vince WilliamsEvangelism Practices, Marketing Practices, Marketing Tools

Every day we talk to churches about their Facebook advertising needs. In almost every conversation the idea of “boosting” posts comes into question. Facebook has clearly made it easy to promote articles and get views, but is that the right approach for your evangelistic series?
I would suggest the answer is rarely yes. Let me explain.

The first question in any marketing or promotion is to decide the goal. This one key element will drive all of your thinking and decisions throughout your campaign. With event marketing, such as promoting an evangelistic series, the goal is typically a strong call-to-action or direct attendance. For strong call-to-action events, we recommend thinking through your marketing funnel (see an article on funnel marketing here). This means that your Facebook ad needs to drive the action that you are asking to receive—often a registration. Now that we have our required call-to-action let’s see how Facebooks advertising options fit into our campaign.

Facebook Boosts
Facebook has given every one of their pages an easy way to reach more people through the boost. The boost is a way to get a posting to be seen by multiple people in your area for a certain amount of money. However, boosts generally lack the elements required for an effective ad campaign: targeting, ad quality, correlation to the landing page, testable results. The truth is that all of these can be handled within a boost, but take hours of investigation to maximize. The boost has been an overused feature due to its convenience, but in the end, a lack of tracking an testing has left it with weak results for the money.

Boosts also have to be attached to a particular page. For event marketing, this can be counterproductive to your goals. Imagine a person learning about your event and then viewing your church Facebook page. They may run across more internal “Adventist Speak” than we want them to see up front. Or, they could find no activity at all; giving them the idea that your church isn’t worth visiting. Then there are comments. If a new viewer posts a comment they may get a retaliatory response from a member—doing more harm than good.

For example, I recently know of an ad posted through a Facebook page that had the comment “I’m not sure about Saturday as the Sabbath, but this looks interesting. I think I’ll attend”. Unfortunately, this comment was seen by a member of that local church which attacked the commenter for their suspicion of the Sabbath. I’m sure, you already have that person in mind from your church, and you can see what this type of combative comment stream can do to your event (and the potential to have a real conversation with an open heart).

Facebook non-paid Sharing
Sharing is what Facebook does best. Sharing allows you to invite people in your church’s and member’s social circles to your event. With sharing you reduce the potential for negative comments. And even if there are, your members may be more sensitive in their response since the connection is someone they know, or is connected to someone they know. SermonView’s website registration platform comes with an invitation feature that will help your members get the word out. Most campaigns come with Facebook post sharing, online quizzes, and the ability to share videos that will get attention. To see the suite of resources that come with our website registration package, click here.

Managed Facebook Campaign
By allowing us to manage a Facebook campaign for your church you get the best of all worlds. You’ll save money and get more results. Here are the benefits that come with a managed Facebook campaign from SermonView.

  • Ongoing Testing: All of our ads are being reviewed throughout the week to determine what is working and what needs to be removed. This is based on the number of clicks, the cost per click, the percentage of conversion on the registration page and the relevance score in the Ad Manager. All of this combines to give our team a complete picture of your campaign and trim out the wasted dollars.
  • Savings on Your Budget: We set up all of our ads to base it on the actual traffic going to your site and not just impressions. Impressions can be purchased for low dollars, but don’t translate into registrations (which is your call to action goal). SermonView saves its churches money by building up the relevance score of the campaign. Facebook charges you less for an ad as long as they get what they want out of the ad, which is engagement. We align ourselves with Facebook’s goal of engagement to ensure a low cost/high response campaign for your event.
  • Better Results: We have multiple tools that we use to ensure you top results for your budget. We’ll use various forms of ads from slideshow ads to video to make sure your ad gets seen. We also use retargeting techniques to continue to advertise to people that originally clicked on your ad, but didn’t complete a registration. All of these techniques lead to a higher conversion and more people coming to your meeting.
  • Ad Management: Probably one of the best reasons to work with our team is our ability to manage your ads in real time. This means that we separate your ad from your church page (the benefits of which I mentioned above), and we manage all of the comments. We remove all of the “trolls” that write disparaging things about the Adventist church and any comments that are lewd. Otherwise, we allow the comments to build and grow in a way that will expand your reach and improve their effectiveness.

In the end, Facebook advertising is a skill—the quality of which will affect your results. We’d love to share with you what we’ve learned and how we’re seeing Facebook change the face of evangelism marketing today.