“Stop the advertising! You are sending us too many people!”
That’s a dream response for anyone who has launched an advertising campaign. It’s probably a dream response for any ministry as well. In fact, it sounds a lot like Jesus’ disciples when He asked them to feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
That’s what Vladimir was told when his Facebook ad had brought in more students than the volunteers could handle. Vladimir ran a Facebook ad promoting free English lessons at the student center of a campus in Central Asia. After the first two ads were rejected by Facebook, the third one was accepted.
After receiving only a moderate response to the ad, Vladimir made some minor edits. “There’s a lot of trial and error,” Vladimir says. “When something doesn’t work, just try something else and see what happens.” As a result of that rapid iteration, the ad received 10,000 impressions and 2,000 clicks. Usually 30-40 students come per month for the paid English lessons; the ad for free lessons brought 70 students in a single day.
Amid the chaos of student volunteers being overwhelmed by 70 students seeking free lessons, one girl prayed to accept Jesus as her savior after a student volunteer shared the Gospel.
After that initial surge of students, Vladimir scaled back the ad, making it appear less often on Facebook. Even so, an investment of $10 per month led to a 30% increase in attendees at the student center over the course of the year – certainly not a bad return on investment!
This is a perfect example of how adding a small digital strategy can greatly accelerate a ministry. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to launch an advertising campaign on Facebook, but doing so resulted in a 30% increase in students to the center – a 30% increase in students who have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.