Throughout December 2016 we ran our #JoyToTheWorld Christmas campaign, encouraging people to experience a church service in their local community.
Parishes added more than 34,000 services to www.AChristmasNearYou.org, a site that allowed people to enter their postcode and find Christmas events happening near them. More than 133,000 people visited the site, with 25,000 accessing on Christmas Eve. 83% of traffic came from a smartphone or tablet, showing the huge importance of designing for these devices.
Overall, we reached one and a half million people across Facebook, Twitter and Google. This was achieved by using small amounts of targeted advertising (particularly focusing on those who don’t normally go to church) and asking our existing followers to share the short films and website.
The four videos we released featured people explaining their moment of Christmas #JoyToTheWorld: Gogglebox vicar Revd Kate Bottley, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Becoming Reverend author Revd Matt Woodcock and comedian Paul Kerensa. These were seen over 738,000 times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
We also wanted to use our national social media accounts to highlight how the good news of Christmas was being shared by parishes across the country – here’s just a few of the many positive tweets from clergy and congregations.
— Simon Fenn (@Simon_Fenn)
— St George’s Jesmond (@StGeorgeJesmond)
— Molly Allan (@MollyRebecca1)
— St Paul’s Spennymoor (@stpaulsspenny)
— Peter Babington (@Peter_Babington)
Upwards of 2000 at our 3pm Carols for Christmas Eve @LivCathedral – the biggest congregation in living memory. Wondering what to make of it.— Pete Wilcox (@PeteWilcox1564)
We used Twitter Moments to share tweets like the above and these were seen by tens of thousands and featured on Twitter’s national Moments page on Christmas Day.
We’re thrilled with the number of people who engaged with #JoyToTheWorld over the Christmas period, which showed the importance of our continuing Christian presence in every community. The digital and social media campaign allowed us to showcase and highlight the huge amount of work that parishes across the country put into Advent and Christmas and encourage attendance.
Thanks to a big communications push in dioceses and parishes across the country we ensured churches added services and got behind #JoyToTheWorld locally.
The learnings from #JoyToTheWorld’s social media and search advertising will be applied to our future campaigns and the new life stages and story-led Church of England website, launching in the late summer of 2017.
Deputy Director of Communications (Digital) at the Church of England.