Facebook Ads: Does Your Church Marketing Strategy Need Paid Ads?

Facebook Ads: Does Your Church Marketing Strategy Need Paid Ads?

In the golden days of newspapers many local newspapers had church pages which allowed churches to reach the community with service times and special events. Many local papers still offer this feature but with subscriptions falling the reach has dwindled. Facebook Ads offer a similar solution for churches who want to reach their local community.

Unlike the community newspaper, Facebook Ads allow you to closely target only the people you want to reach. For a children’s outreach event you can target parents of children in certain age ranges within a specific mile radius of your church. For a community wild game dinner you might target people in your community who enjoy hunting. Think about who you need to reach with your message and Facebook will likely allow you to reach them.

Of course you can run general ads that include your service times and ministry opportunities, but with the ability to turn ads on and off and reach targeted segments of the community, we encourage you to think broader. Your ads might include:

  • Upcoming church or community events
  • Calls for donations for community needs (i.e. food bank, disaster relief, etc)
  • A video testimonial from a church member
  • Promotion of service videos on your website

Facebook Ads or Post Boost

Many churches have boosted a post for a few dollars often at the suggestion of Facebook. Before spending money on a post, take a look at your purpose. What do you hope to accomplish with the dollars you spend?

If your post is receiving great feedback and boosting it would enhance your ministry, drive people to an event or spread the word about your church effectively, then consider the boost, but make sure you choose good targeting demographics.

Facebook Ads allow you more control over who sees your ad, more information on its effectiveness and an opportunity to test what images and wording works best with your chosen demographic.

When you begin to place a Facebook Ad you have several options which can be a little confusing. Know what you want a viewer of the ad to do before you choose your objective. We’ve given a quick run down of what you can expect from the objectives that will be most relevant to church ministries.



Brand Awareness: Facebook says to use this to increase brand awareness. Facebook shows this ad to people who are more likely to remember what they saw. Viewers’ recall rate is the measure of success for this ad.

Reach: This ad is shown the largest number of people possible. Facebook knows who is most likely to remember an ad, click on an ad or purchase from an ad. This ad type ignores all those signals and simply shows your ad as widely as possible. If your goal is to get in front of as many people as possible, this is your ad choice.

Traffic: Do you want people to go to your website or send you a message in messenger? You want to choose Traffic. Facebook will show your ad to people more likely to take those actions.

Video Views: Have a video you really want people to see? When you choose video views Facebook measures success by how many people watched specific percentages of your video. Your video will also be shown to people who are the most likely to watch it.

Lead Generation: Businesses use this metric to gather contact information for people interested in their product or service. Churches can experiment with this goal by finding people interested in specific ministries, events or information about their beliefs.

Messenger: This goal drives people into a conversation in the Messenger app. It can allow you to have more one-on-one conversations with your community.

Church Marketing Strategy with Facebook Ads

The audience for your Facebook ads may all feel similar especially if you’re targeting a smaller community. In addition to targeting an age range and geographic area, you can create audiences based on e-mail addresses of your church members, people who have watched specific videos on your page, or people who have visited your church’s Facebook page or website.

We won’t make your eyes glass over with too many details, but know you can get more creative with your audience in order to better reach the people you want to reach.

Once you’ve chosen your objective, you can choose your target audience and then create your ad. We create at least two ads for every campaign we run. We watch the ads for several days to determine which graphic and wording performs best. We then pause the ad that is not performing well and often create a third ad to test against our best performing ad.

This strategy allows us to narrow down the wording and images specific audiences prefer. Which then makes every other ad campaign we run stronger.

Don’t allow the details to overwhelm you. Paid social media for churches doesn’t have to be complicated. The rule in digital marketing is to fail fast. Try a few ads, make note of what works and what doesn’t. Digital marketing’s on-the-job learning is the best experience you can get.

A Final Word

Not all your church members will have Facebook accounts or be active if they do have accounts. Younger members are just as likely to have Instagram or SnapChat accounts. Adjusting your church marketing to reach all those in your congregation will take some time and strategy. We’ve focused here on Facebook because it continues to have the largest audience across all age groups. The one platform also allows you to solve multiple communications issues in one place.

What other Facebook features have you found helpful for your church?

Learn how other Facebook features can help your church.