Facebook vs. Google Display | Bart Blair

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Bart shares with us the demographic differences using Facebook vs Google Display Network to reach your community and boost church attendance

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Well. Hey there, my name is Bart Blair, and it’s my privilege to welcome you to season four, episode 31 of the Missional Marketing Podcast. This is the 155th edition of this show. We’ve been producing this podcast since 2020, with the goal of helping churches grow by leveraging digital marketing and effective communications. Thanks so much for tuning in. If you happen to be new to the show, uh, we want to invite you to subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts or on our YouTube channel, make sure that you, uh, check out our YouTube channel. We’ve got lots and lots of content there, as well as a long archive of podcasts. Now, obviously 154 other episodes besides this one with lots of stuff that you can learn. Uh, as we’ve taken deep dives into some technical topics, as well as having some great conversations with church leaders and church communications directors across the country. Uh, it’s been a wild time over the course of these last four years doing this podcast. And, uh, again, appreciate you tuning in. If you happen to be one of our returning listeners, maybe you’re a regular listening listener. Uh, thanks so much for your loyalty. We appreciate that. Uh, typically, I co-host this show with, uh, the CEO of missional marketing, uh, Jason Hamrick. I’m flying solo today. Have a few things that I want to share with you. Actually, one thing in particular that I want to share with you today that is specifically related to digital marketing.

Our goal is to help your church grow by leveraging digital marketing and effective communications. A lot of times we talk about communications. Today it’s going to be specifically about digital marketing. But before I get into today’s content, uh, I want to let you know about a few events that you might be interested in if you’re listening to this in real time as this podcast has become available online. Uh, it’s early May, and, uh, you have the opportunity to actually participate in some live road show events that are sort of co-hosted by missional marketing and the Church Communications group. The next one coming up is on May 16th, and that is going to be in Lake Forest, Illinois at Christ Church. That’s in the Chicago area. So if you are somewhere within an hour, maybe an hour and a half drive from the greater Chicago area and you can make it for the day, we would love to have you join us there. It starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. uh, we’ll have a team of people there doing some great, uh, content, sharing some group discussion. You’ll get to meet some communications directors or communications folks or pastors from other churches in the area. Uh, it’s a great time. We just did two of these last week. At the time that I’m recording this in Austin and Houston, I had an awesome time there.

Um, in addition to the one coming up in May in the Chicago area, we have two coming up in California in June. On June 18th, we’ll be at Lakeside Church in Folsom, California, and June 20th will be at East Side Church in Anaheim, California. And so if you happen to be in the Folsom area, I think that’s Northern California or Anaheim, which is the Southern California area. Uh, we’d love to have you join us for one of these events. The way that you’re going to find the information is by going to the Church Communications Group website, which is Church communications.com. And because you are a listener of the Missional Marketing Podcast, I’m going to give you a discount code. That’s right. You ready? Write this down or get ready to rewind. It is road show 49. That’s all. One word road show, road show, all capital letters with the number 49 attached to it. That will get you a discount. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know exactly what the full registration price is, but this will get you like 2030 bucks off. Uh, you can use it for all the people on your team that you want to bring and the road show, in addition to the amazing content that you’re going to get, uh, it also includes your lunch. So we’d love to have you there. Make sure that you check that out online. Let us know if you have any questions. Well, today I want to do a little bit of a have I’m going to call it a conversation, but it’s really a monologue because I’m by myself about some digital marketing and a digital marketing strategy.

Now, one of the the benefits, one of the things that I get to do, uh, every Christmas and Easter, post Christmas, post Easter is I get to meet with churches, uh, missional marketing partner churches, and I get to review with them the results of their Easter services, their celebrations. And of course, we look at their ad campaigns and look at what they did and evaluate how effective those ad campaigns were to helping them accomplish their goals at each of those holidays. And, you know, one of the things that I want to say is that I’m really encouraged by a lot of the reports that I get from a lot of churches. Um, you know, there’s a lot of talk out there in the world that the church in North America is in decline. And while it is true there are a lot of churches that are struggling, that are stuck, that are stagnant, that aren’t making the kind of progress that they would love to be making. Um, I want to say, by and large, most of the churches that we get to work with are churches that are seeing some pretty significant increases in attendance. Um, in fact, many churches, dozens of churches that I’ve talked to over the course of the last month or so reported record attendance in their Easter services this year.

And most of these churches are experiencing double digit year over year growth, uh, in general. And one of the things that I note about a lot of these churches is that, well, this is just my general assessment. Is that a church that has an intentional plan for reaching people in its community who are far from God. They’re seeing fruit for their efforts. If they have a plan for being present in the community, for reaching their community. Yes, sometimes it involves running ad campaigns. That’s a part of it. It’s certainly not the only thing, but churches that have that outward facing posture that really understand the culture that they’re trying to reach and are really clear on their objective of making new disciples. They’re seeing fruit from that. Um, yes. There are a lot of churches that are struggling. I’ve already mentioned that I do have the opportunity to coach some churches that are going through season of revitalization, some churches that have been stuck or in decline. And a lot of times that comes as a result of 1 or 2 things. Oftentimes those churches are in declining communities, and it’s hard for a church to to grow when the community around it is is not growing if it happens to be in decline. But another reason for those churches being in decline is that they become more inward focused. And, um, I’m just going to go on a limb and say that if you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a very good chance that you are in a church that has an intention for reaching people in your community.

You have a desire to see your church grow not for the sake of church growth, but because you want to make kingdom impact. And so thanks for being here. I hope that what I’m going to share with you today is helpful. Now, I had a conversation about a week or so ago with a church in the Dallas Fort Worth area, which is where I live. It happens to be a church that missional marketing partners with. We we do a lot of their their marketing campaigns. It’s a relatively young church plant, um, that runs two services on a Sunday morning. And as I was meeting with the pastor, the church planter, we were kind of reviewing their Easter, um, celebration. And he shared with me that they had record setting attendance. Uh, it was the highest that they’d ever had. And yet I could sense, as we were having the conversation, that he wasn’t amazingly excited about, that they had expanded from two services to three services on Easter Sunday, and they had a record setting attendance. And what he explained to me when I pushed into it a little bit more with him, was that they had what they referred to as an anomaly. An anomaly? What’s what’s the anomaly? I asked. He said, well, the anomaly is that even though we had a record number of people in the building on Sunday morning over those three services, our children’s ministry numbers were flat.

We actually had the same number of people in children’s ministry, same number of children in children’s ministry that we had the previous week. And he said, I just I’m not really sure what to do with that. He said, you know, because we were spread out over three services, our children’s ministry team thought they had fewer kids in children’s ministry. But when we looked at the numbers, it was flat. It was static. So I asked him. I said, well, did you have new kids in your children’s ministry? I mean, did you see any new children, new families connected that registered new kids? And he said one, they had one new family register a child into their children’s ministry. And, you know, I kind of had to agree with them. I don’t know that I would use the word anomaly, but it’s definitely something that was very odd. So I thought, you know what? We should probably look in a little bit further as to what the cause of that might have been. So we talked about their marketing strategy leading up to Easter. And in this particular case, we didn’t actually missional marketing. We were doing some other marketing for them, but not actually helping them with their Easter marketing. So I didn’t know exactly what he did, but what he explained to me was that they’d done some boots on the ground type of stuff, some signage around town.

Uh, they had some postcards that they had printed for their church members to invite friends and family, um, and that they had run some Facebook and Instagram ads to promote their Easter services. Well, when he told me that that was kind of a light bulb moment for me, um, because the reality is, and this has been my experience, is that Facebook and Instagram is a really good way for reaching a lot of people in your community, but not necessarily the best platforms for reaching young families with young kids. This might come as a surprise to you. Um, most of us in churches have probably defaulted to using Facebook and Instagram, uh, and their advertising platforms. And the truth is, ads do work. I’ve been running ads from my churches on Facebook since Facebook allowed churches to run ads. I don’t even know how long. Ten years, nine years, ten years, 11 years I’ve been doing this, um, and, and Facebook and Instagram ads do work. In fact, I know that Facebook and Instagram ads work because, well, I bought a hat last week based on an ad that I saw on Facebook. You want to see it? What do you think? If you’re watching on our YouTube channel, then you get to see my hat. If you are not watching on the YouTube channel, you’re listening to this audio only. You’re wishing that you could see my hat.

It’s a good looking hat. I clicked on a Facebook ad and I bought this hat. Uh, my wife and I went to a concert, uh, about a month or so ago, and, uh, we went to this concert. It was a fundraiser concert for a local university, and I saw an ad on Facebook. I clicked on the ad and ended up buying tickets to this fundraiser. Concert ads work ads in Facebook do work. And so everything that I’m going to share with you here, I don’t want to sound like I’m dismissing Facebook and Instagram ads because I think there is value in them, but I think that there are some things that we make some assumptions about in terms of the way that they work. And I think we also need to ask ourselves the questions. If Facebook and Instagram ads are really the best way for churches to reach the people in the community that God has called us to reach, there are some experts out there, or at least people who claim to be experts in this particular stuff, and they will tell you that running Facebook ads is the best way for you to grow your church. And while this pastor that I talked to in the Dallas Fort Worth area about their Easter services would probably attest to the fact that their church did see a bump in attendance, and they might be able to attribute some of that to Facebook and Instagram ads. They were really a little bit off the mark in terms of who they actually connected with, who actually showed up on their Easter Sunday morning.

And I want to point out to you that I think. It’s in part because their advertising strategy was a Facebook and Instagram strategy. Okay, I’m going to share with you today an alternative that you may or may not be familiar with. And it’s called Google Display Network Ads. Now, if you’ve already been using Google Display Network ads, I’m sure that you know and you understand exactly what the value of these ads are because you’re running these types of ads. Google Display Network ads are like Facebook and Instagram ads. They are interruptive. We use the term interruptive to describe an ad type that interrupts someone while they were doing something else. They weren’t actively looking for whatever it is that you’re promoting, so it wasn’t actively looking for a hat. The moment that I clicked on the ad and bought the hat, I wasn’t actively looking for concert tickets. When I saw the ad for the concert and I clicked on the ad and bought the the tickets, these were interruptive. I was interrupted when I was doing something else. The most, maybe the most familiar to you Interruptive ad would be the YouTube ad. You go into YouTube to watch the video about how to replace the windshield wiper blades on your car, or to bake your favorite bread recipe. And before you get to watch that video, you’re forced to watch an ad or at least five seconds of it.

That is an interruptive ad. It’s interrupting you when you’re doing something other than what the person is trying to promote to you. Now, Google Display Network ads are visual ads and video ads, much like Facebook and Instagram ads. But rather than being placed on a social network platform, they are placed on a network of millions of websites, apps and YouTube on the internet. And just like Facebook and Instagram, you can build audiences, you can use keywords, you can geotarget the ads to the area that you specifically want to reach. But again, they’re not placed on the social platforms. They’re placed on websites and in apps. They are delivered right into the palm of people’s hands, just like a Facebook or Instagram ad would be, except not on those social platforms, on a website, in an app, or on YouTube. Um, I want to share with you, uh, and I’m going to share some, some graphs here. So again, if you’re listening to this audio only, you’re going to miss out on the visual side of this. If you want to click over to our YouTube channel, you can do there. And you can actually see the slides that I’m about to share here. But I’m going to share with you, um, a compare and contrast of two different churches that I had the opportunity to, to help with their, uh, Easter ad campaigns this year. And both churches ran ads in both platforms, the same ads, same images, same videos, same ad copy.

And I want to share with you the results of these particular ad campaigns. So I’m going to share a slide here. So, um, if you are watching on YouTube, you can now see this little graph here. And at the top you’ll see that it says Facebook and Instagram ads. This is a church of about 1100 people in the Houston area. And this is a little chart of the results of their Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. I’m going to kind of walk through this rather quickly, and I’m going to highlight a few things. Uh, but one of the things that you’ll notice is that they had 2000 clicks to their website based on 20,586 impressions, which gives us a click through rate of 9.78. So that’s a really, really strong click through rate. Almost 1 in 10 people who saw one of these ads clicked on one of the ads. Okay, so a pretty strong presence in Facebook and Instagram. This ad campaign ran for about 3 to 3 and a half weeks. And like I said, 20,000 ad impressions, 2000 clicks, a click through rate of 9.78. That’s actually pretty good. Now I’m going to skip ahead to their Google Display Network ads. Now, you’ll note here that compared to 20,000 impressions in the Google Display, we had 48,000 impressions, but only a thousand clicks, giving us a click through rate of 2.2.

Now for a Google Display ad campaign. Honestly, that’s actually a pretty strong click through rate. Most of the time in Google Display, you’re going to see maybe a 1 to 1.5% click through rate for churches. These ads actually performed really quite well for this particular ad campaign type, but you can see that the number of impressions they got was actually more than double what they got in Facebook, but the number of clicks was half. And this is very consistent when it comes to Facebook ads versus Google Display ads. The reality is in Facebook, we do typically see many more people clicking on ads in Facebook and Instagram than we do in the Google Display Network, but this is what I want to highlight for you. Check this out. If you look at the little graphs at the bottom here, this is the Facebook and Instagram ad campaign. I want you to look at the age range of the audience here. 69% of the audience that clicked on these ads was 65 and older. The next 15%. So now we’re totaling 85% of the audience. The next group is 55 to 64 year olds, and the next group 45 to 54 year olds. So we’re talking about 69 plus 15. That’s 80. Four plus 7,091% of the people who clicked on these ads were over 45 years old. And if we look at the bottom right hand corner here, we’ll see that the gender was 72.99% female. That’s 73% female and over the age of 45.

Okay, now let’s compare that to what we see in the ads in Google Display Network. For starters, if you look at the chart in the left hand side. Now this is one of the deficiencies in Google Display is that there’s always a segment of your audience that’s undetermined or unknown in terms of their gender and their age group. But one of the things that we note here is that we have 50% of our audience is male, and it says that 29% is female, and then there’s 20% is undetermined. Even if all of that undetermined is female, you have an evenly split audience 50% male, 50% female. But look at the age range over here, the top age range of people who clicked on these ads for this church, 36% were 18 to 24 year olds. The next known group is 25 to 34 year olds at 19%, and then the next group, 35 to 44 year olds at 10%. So in this case, we’ve got 36. Plus 19 is 55 plus 1065. 65% of the audience is between 18 and 44. Okay. A very different audience in Google Display than what we actually see in Facebook. Now I’m going to skip over to another church. This is a church in Oklahoma City, uh, ran Facebook ads in Instagram, Facebook and in Google Display Network. And we’re going to see very comparable numbers here. In this case, the church had 31,000 ad impressions in Facebook and Instagram and 1600 clicks, almost 1700 1690 with a click through rate of 5.28%.

Now, their click through rate was a bit lower than what we saw from the other church. But typically speaking, this is probably in a relatively normal range here. And if I look over at their Google Display ads, they had 51,000 impressions. So that’s 20,000 more impressions. For a comparable budget, only 793 clicks with a click through rate of 1.55%. And I said before that typically 1.11 to 1.4 is typically normal 1.55. I would consider that to be a slightly above average, um, ad campaign in Google Display. But let’s again, let’s look at the age and the demographics here, uh, for their Facebook and Instagram ads. If you see the top three age categories there, it’s the 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and the 65 and up. And that makes up 69 plus 13. 82% of their audience is over 45 and it’s 80% female. Okay. And then if we look at their Google Display ad campaigns, we’ll see that the audience is 51%, uh, female, 36% male, 11% unknown or undetermined, um, pretty close to 50 over 50. It might skew a little bit stronger female in this particular case. But again, the top three age categories, 25 to 34 year olds made up 27% of their audience, 35 to 44 year olds, 18% of their audience, 18 to 24 year olds, 15% of their audience. So you’ve got 60% of the audience is between 18 and 34.

Now, I’m going to stop sharing the slide here and get back to talking to you face to face. Okay, here’s the deal. I’m not anti Facebook. I’m not anti 55 year old female. In fact I’m married to a 55 year old female and I love my 55 year old wife. But I’m going to go on a limb and I’m going to say that for most churches, your primary age demographic is typically not the 55 or 60 or 65 year old woman. Typically, most churches are targeting young families with young kids, and yet we can clearly see in a Facebook and Instagram ad campaign that the primary people who are clicking your ads tend to be people who are in older age groups. Now, I actually had a meeting last week with a church that is a church plant in a 55 and older community, and their primary target is adults 55 and older. Facebook and Instagram is the perfect platform for them to be running their ads for anything and everything, because that’s who’s on Facebook and Instagram. It’s the 55 year old, 65 year old woman, so that’s who you’re trying to reach. That’s the perfect platform for it. But if your goal, your target is to reach young families with young kids, if you want to get the male in the household, the best place for you to be advertising, the best place for you to be marketing is Google Display Network. Now, again, I’m not opposed to Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve already demonstrated that the ads work, but I want to replay something now. First off, I showed you my hat. I showed you my hat again. This is a hat. Probably best suited for a 55 year old guy. Hence the reason I clicked on the ad and I bought the hat. Uh, the concert that my wife and I went to was a benefit concert for a university. There was a celebrity, a well known musician who was performing with the symphony orchestra, and this particular musician was at the peak of his career in the late 70s and the 80s. Hence, most of the people in the audience were people my age, 55 and up. In fact, I would venture a guess that anybody 40 or younger wouldn’t have even known who this person was. It was the primary place, the best place for this school to be advertising for this particular event, because it was targeting the audience that was most likely to say yes to buying tickets for this particular event. Now, one of the questions you might be asking is, well, if we run ads on Google Display, should we not run ads on Facebook and Instagram? And again, I’m not saying that I think that actually the best way for you to reach most people in your community to cast the widest net is to actually be running ads on both platforms. If you have a limited budget and you don’t have the capacity financially to run ad campaigns on both platforms and your goal, your target is to reach young families with young kids.

I’m going to say I personally would probably lean more towards the Google Display Network ads than I would the Facebook ads. That’s just me from my experience for the church that I’m leading right now, my wife and I are actually leading a church planting team. We are not running a lot of ads right now because we’re in our pre-launch season, but the only ads that we’re running are actually in Google. We’re not running any Facebook and Instagram ads we have from time to time, but more consistently running ads in the Google Display network. Now, another question that you might ask is about targeting targeting audiences. And, you know, is it should we just, you know, build our Facebook and Instagram ad campaign and then just like, not run ads to older people, you can do that. You can certainly eliminate people in those age categories from your audience. But honestly, you’re just kind of hurting the performance of your ad campaign when you do that. Because, again, the majority of people that are actively using those platforms are going to be older people. So as soon as you take them out of the audience, your audience gets a lot smaller. Um, now another question that people always ask me is, well, can’t we just run more ads in Instagram? Running ads in the meta platform. It’s all pretty much one of the same.

But here’s the deal. The young people are not on Instagram like you think they are. Um, ten years ago, Instagram was the place where all the young people were. Now all the people that are on Instagram are ten years older. Uh, it’s simply not the young person’s platform the way that it once was. We have to grow up and recognize that times have changed. Where are young people today? Young people today are on TikTok. Uh, that is the the preferred platform for a lot of young people, especially Gen Z and maybe some younger millennials. So you’re going to ask the question, well, should we run ads on TikTok? Here’s my experience with TikTok. The TikTok advertising platform has not yet built its ad platform in a way that allows us to target specifically, geographically, the way that we want to target an audience. If you’re a church trying to reach a local community, it is really difficult or actually even impossible for you to dial in your ad campaign as tight geographically as you would want to. Therefore, you’re going to be paying to run ads that are going to be seen by people who don’t live anywhere close to where your campus and your location is. So it’s probably not the best stewardship of your resources, and it won’t produce the results that you’re looking for. Um, another place though, excuse me, that young people are is YouTube. In fact, short form video is on YouTube.

Youtube shorts is growing like wildfire. Uh, we produced a podcast just a month or two ago with Sam Truan from Bridgeway Church that was demonstrating how how impactful organically, uh, their short form video and YouTube was for their YouTube channel. But here’s the deal. When you run ads in the Google Display network, you can actually use video assets and get ads placed in YouTube. You probably didn’t know that. You can run straight up ad campaigns in YouTube, and we work with some churches that do that. However, I will say that the click through rate in a YouTube ad campaign tends to be very, very, very low. Um, because most people are watching YouTube on a device, a lot of times smart devices like their TVs, um, and people just aren’t clicking through. When you run ad campaigns in Google Display Network, you’re getting the best of everything. You’re getting websites, you’re getting apps, and if you use video assets, you are getting placements in YouTube. And by the way, if you run an ad in YouTube, uh, please make sure that you say the name of your church and the call to action in the first five seconds, because most people are going to skip the ad after five seconds. So you have the opportunity to communicate your brand and what you want people to do in that first five seconds. Um, that’s just a little tidbit that is free of charge. Uh, generally speaking, uh, I believe that the most effective way for our churches to reach the target in our community, the persona, the person that we believe we’re most likely to reach, the most, most called to reach more intentionally trying to reach young families with kids, um, is to advertise in Google Display Network.

Now, again, I’m not saying that we eliminate the other option altogether, but I do want you to consider, uh, how you’re using your resources and make sure that you understand the advantages and the disadvantages of each particular platform. Um, if you would like to talk to somebody about running ad campaigns in Google Display Network, this is something that we at missional Marketing do for churches. Um, and we’d be happy to set up a call, uh, with you and talk about what our pricing structure is and how that works. Or be a DIYer, go do it yourself. Um, you know, we’re not here to doing this podcast simply because we want to sell to you and get you to buy stuff from us. We’re here to help you with that. If if it’s necessary, if it’s needed, um, if you don’t have the bandwidth, you don’t have the expertise or the skill or even the desire to learn the skill, then you can hire us to do it. If you’re a DIYer and you love to get under the hood in Google and try to figure those things out, go watch some other YouTube videos and learn how to run Google Display Network ads.

And I would say monitor your results, measure your results, and make sure that you’re comparing them directly to the types of ad campaigns that you’re running in Facebook and Instagram, and the results that you would get there. Um, that’s that’s about all I got to say about that. I hope this has been helpful for you. Um, Google did not sponsor this particular podcast episode, so not paying us to share this with you. I’m just sharing it with you because out of the goodness of my heart, I want you as a church professional, a communications professional, a pastor, whatever your role is, I want you to steward your resources well. I want you to see the results that you’re looking for when you’re running an advertising campaign. And, uh, I just by and large, think that Google Display Network is typically going to give you the kinds of results that you’re looking for, that maybe Facebook and Instagram won’t. Uh, thanks again for hanging out and hanging out with me today. Uh, for this 27 minutes and 59 seconds. Okay. Now we just hit the 28 minute mark. This turned out a little bit longer than I expected it to be, but I hope it’s been helpful. I hope it’s been useful. And if it has been, make sure you share it with a friend and make sure to leave us a rating and a review wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Uh, that’s all from me. We’ll look forward to seeing you next time. God bless.

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