I've been waiting a couple of years to tell you about AdSpend.

Created by a church in Loveland, Colorado, AdSpend is a slick, web-based system to manage a church's communication, promotion and design requests. By decentralizing the decision-making from the communications department, it give more ownership of the process to individual ministries and groups. No longer am I the "guardian" of the promotional pipeline, but the administrator and producer of it.

AdSpend changes church communications from a free-for-all with one person saying "no" all the time (or just publishing everything) to an agency model. Each ministry has an account and a monthly "salary" of credits, which they use to purchase promotional space and design work.


Not fair, but equal access.


I consistently tell my ministries that AdSpend isn't fair. It can't be. Each ministry’s need is different, and some have much larger needs than others. AdSpend is equal access. Each ministry has access to every ad channel, and once a channel is purchased, they can't be bumped. The small single moms event isn't going to be replaced by an all-church night of worship in any channel. They bought their slot, so they own it. So, while the salaries are different (the admin sets those) the access is the same.

At three weeks straight, you're becoming noise.

People can only take so much input. I've learned that if we're promoting for three weeks consecutively, the announcement starts to become noise. I don't want people to check out of ad channels. I want to vary what they're hearing and seeing. AdSpend compounds the cost with each week of promotion. At three weeks, the cost of most channels will have doubled, or come close.

Limits create focus.

When there are 30 things in the bulletin, everyone's request is diluted. AdSpend let's me set the "run counts" for my channels (how many items can be promoted at a time). I can also set a "run length" which is how often the items can be switched out. Our restroom posters run for seven days, and we'll have up to five different posters.

All this is almost the work of a part-time employee. I don't have to do the hard work of planning what's going to be in each channel. I just refer to AdSpend, and it's all there.

Make sure it's right.

Few things are as bad as building out everything for a promotional run and realizing some of the info is incorrect, or you picked the art wrong aspect of an event or class to focus on. Then everything has to be redone at the last minute. An integrated Discussion Board (and file storage area) allows us to get a ministry's approval on art and copy before an ad runs. If they don't sign off, the ad doesn't run. That's the goal anyway.
We decided the Discussion Board is the law. If your info or thought isn’t there, it didn't happen. Emails about a project are copied and pasted in for the record. Everyone on the team has access to the same information and updates.

There's a lot more than we rely on AdSpend for and more posts to come.

After our launch of AdSpend, I wrote my Launch Lessons post. If you think you want to roll it out for your organization, give that a read, and then chat with me. I would love to walk you through our process.