Google Advertising for Churches

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that in today’s digital world, Google dominates the search industry. It’s hard to remember a time before we could simply “Google it” to receive the world’s most up-to-date and relevant information or answer for any question we ask, and the same holds true for questions of spiritual nature. Our present-day “do-it-yourself” culture crosses over into our eternal search for answers about God, faith, and life, and Google has the data to prove it. Now more than ever, people are turning to Google for the felt needs that churches are the most perfectly suited to address, and that’s exactly why churches absolutely must be found there.

Whether through paid Google Ads, using the Google Search Network and Google Display Network, or through Google Ad Grants, Google advertising is one of the most important ways for churches to reach new people.

Google Search Network for Churches

The Google Search Network allows you to have selected pages of your website appear at the very top of Google Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs) for a specific searcher’s intent using keywords and audience targeting. This is an extremely powerful way to bring traffic to your site and works particularly well when implemented around specific felt needs (ie, “parenting issues”, “marriage problems”, “loneliness”, etc) and your church’s seasonal events. The website visitors you’ll gain from Google Search advertising are incredibly valuable because they’re actively seeking something, and thereby more likely to act on it - or rather, to show up in church, plan a visit, or watch a sermon video.

Here are some examples of Google Search Ads for Churches:

Here’s how it works:

Select Target Keywords Based on your Ministries

First you must compile a list of your ministries, and the Felt Needs that they address. This will be the starting point for your campaign.

We will then apply each of your Felt Needs Keywords to an Ad Group.  Our team has identified hundreds of high-quality keywords which are then bundled together in groups called Ad Groups so that your keywords are spread over a number of groups, thereby widening your reach. You can see some examples of Ad Groups here.

Create your Google Search Ad Campaign

The next step is to create your Ad Campaign. Each keyword you choose to target will require the creation of its own landing page. The reason for this is to deliver each person who is searching to a page that is relevant to what they are searching for. A person who is searching for parenting support is looking for different information than someone searching for addiction counseling, so it doesn’t make sense to deliver them to the same page.

Having a different landing page for each target keyword will also improve the performance of your ad, as Google prioritizes pages that have similar content to the keywords of the ad. You can find some more information about landing pages and how they work here.

Optimize your Campaign

Once your ad is created, it will begin to get traffic from people searching for Felt Needs. You pay for this traffic on a subscription basis. As your ad begins to collect data, we can optimize your Ad Campaign to maximize the exposure per dollar spent.

To get started with Google Search Advertising, we’ll help you determine the budget, the keywords, the ad groups, the audience targeting (including the geo-target), the URL to send ad traffic, and text used in the ad. This type of campaign typically runs as a monthly ongoing subscription.

Google Display Network for Churches

Whereas Google Search ads are served as text on Google search engine results pages (SERPs), Google Display Network ads can help your church reach new people in your area when they’re browsing other (non-Google websites, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail, or using mobile devices and apps. The Google Display Network is said to reach 90% of internet users across the world, covering millions of websites, news pages, blogs, and Google affiliated sites like Gmail and YouTube using image-based (and also video) ads. This makes it one of the largest platforms for online ads, and also one of the most effective ways to advertise your church and church events.

Another important distinction between Google Search ads and Google Display ads has to do with the targeting. While Google Search uses keywords to target Google searchers and serve the ads in the matching search results, Google Display targeting is served to different “Audiences” based on the types of websites they’re browsing or other activities they’re engaging in across the Google Display network. These audiences can be selected by demographics, intents, interests, habits, and by internet behaviors of many different kinds.

Here are some examples of Google Display Ads for churches:

Here’s how it works:





When you are looking at websites, you see ads that are built into the website. Those are ads placed by Google. They are multi-sized, geo-targeted, and build brand awareness and clicks to your church’s website.

Launching a Google Display Network campaign is a smart move.

This cost-effective method of advertising reaches people on their mobile phone. At work, home, shopping, grabbing coffee, and everywhere else, your ads are scattered like digital seeds, hitting people all over the place.

reaching people with a google display network campaign is effective.

We see these ads as digital seeds, where our job is to get them in front of people, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through people and bring them to church.

Google Display Network ad campaigns for churches are appropriate for both one-time campaign needs (such as specific holidays, church events, or sermon series) and also for monthly ongoing campaigns.

Google Ad Grant for Churches

As experts in all things Google for churches, we’d be remiss not to include a mention of Google Ad Grants for churches on a page about Google Advertising. The Google Ad Grant is available for eligible 501c3 nonprofits and provides churches up to $10,000 per month of FREE advertising value! Applying for and managing a church’s Google Grant can be a significant undertaking in terms of time, effort, and digital advertising knowledge, but Missional Marketing provides these expert services and can help you take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

We’ve gone into much greater detail about the Google Grant on several other pages of our website and encourage you to start by trying out our Google Grant Eligibility Checker Tool:

Here are some examples of Google Grant ads for churches:

When implemented effectively, Google Advertising can help your church answer people’s most important questions and lead them to the front doors of your church.

Some Important Things to Remember About Google Advertising for Churches

Here are just a few more things you’ll need to keep in mind if you’re interested in running Google ads for your church:

  • Google Ads does not allow excessive capitalization
  • Google Ads does not allow repetitive or non-standard punctuation (no duplicate question marks, no exclamation marks, etc)
  • Google Ads does not allow Emojis or unsupported characters
  • Google Ads does not allow the advertisement of unsecured websites
    If you need help making your website “Secure”, we can help with that too!
  • Google Ads does not allow retargeting ads with a religious intent
    Unfortunately, as of 2020, this rule does affect churches who wish to retarget their website visitors - but we have an alternate solution if you’re specifically interested in some form of retargeting.

Get Started

To engage our team for your church’s Google advertising efforts, you can contact us by doing any one of the following:
  • Use our contact us form to send us an email that says “I’d like to talk about a Google Ad or Google Ad Grant campaign.” Someone will respond to you right away.
  • Call us right now at 480.420.2007 and tell the friendly voice on our end that you’re ready to plan your church’s Google advertising.
  • Click on the “Schedule an Appointment” in the bottom left corner and follow the steps to schedule a call.
Take advantage of your church’s growth potential and invite your surrounding community with the most effective digital outreach strategies using Google advertising. We’re excited to help you grow your church!