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February 2019

"Charting New Waters"

I am a baby boomer. Born in 1964, I got my first introduction to the computer in 1990 when I learned to use a DOS version of the EGW CD-Rom and KJV Bible. I got my first smart phone four years ago. Facebook? Well, I post once a year if that. Then along came James, my newest employee. He is a millennial, dyed in the wool. He was born into all this. And social media? Well, that’s his thing.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I know that for most of you, like me, social media is probably not your thing either. You are either a baby boomer or older, or just have a distaste for or distrust in this new order of things. But for 1.15 billion (# of daily Facebook users) around the world, social media is their thing. This is how they communicate, get info, or look for distraction. Approx. 68% of Americans are now Facebook users, with a growing percentage using other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. 74% of U.S. Facebook users visit at least once daily and 51% of these several times a day.

These might be interesting statistics for social media gurus and marketing experts, but what relevance do they have to gospel evangelism in the 21st Century? You will see the proof is in the pudding.

After spending some time updating our two ministry Facebook pages that had lain static for years, James launched a couple of Facebook marketing campaigns: 1) to increase page likes, and 2) to evangelize the U.S. Facebook community. And just to inform the uninformed, as I once was, Facebook is a huge marketing arena. 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. Facebook reported $11.795 billion in advertising revenues for the 1st quarter of 2018. Some-thing is working out there! You just need to know what you are doing to be effective.

For the evangelism campaign, James posted a custom ad he created for a free copy of The Path to Peace (Steps to Christ) 21 days before Christmas (the ending date of the ad). The frequency the ad appeared out there in the Facebook community was all determined by the dollar amount we were willing to spend per day and the length of the campaign. James recommended $400 for a 21-day campaign (approx. $19/day). The ad was seen by 18,187 users at a cost of 2.2 cents per view.

Here is the final outcome of the campaign: 791 unique requests for a free copy of The Path to Peace. Yes, you read right! 791 requests at a 4.35% return rate. Of course, there is a cost associated with fulfilling all these requests (about $5 per). But still, this is worth shouting about!

Compared to a Saturation Mailing of the same book, we would have to mail over 158,000 books to generate the same number of leads at a cost of over $110,000. Of course we are looking at two entirely different ministry objectives: 1) lead generation, and 2) reaching every home with the gospel message. I am by no means trying to undercut the value of a Saturation Mailing. There is  inestimable value in putting truth-filled literature in every home. Go estimate the value of a single soul in God’s eyes and you will understand that! But if lead generation is your immediate concern, then, perhaps, a Facebook ad targeting the community where you live is the answer. If so, then give us a call (1.800.728.6872) to discuss developing a custom ad campaign for your area. 

Facebook and the larger social media market are fields of opportunity we can no longer ignore at the peril of souls, many of whom live out a large portion of their lives there. The children of darkness again are one step ahead of the children of light in this respect. I believe it’s high time we equipped our churches to “saturate” this market with the light of present truth. What do you say?