Why Your Online Church Should be Using Video Analytics

We live an amazing time. We have the ability to reach billions of people with our messages. The world is online, and, as a means of adjusting to the new reality we live in, more and more churches are spreading their message with online video. And they now have powerful video analytics to help guide their messages.

But what analytics are necessary to achieve that growth? Where are the viewers and how do we reach them? How do you expand your physical attendance with an online presence?

Let’s take a look at how and why ministries are taking their message online, get a look at how one church is achieving massive growth, and the online video analytics tools that are available to you to help you spread your message further.

Why should a ministry have an online presence?

An entire generation of people has grown up differently than those who were born in the 1970s and earlier, and in some cases, even the 1980s. Millennials are in touch with the world in a way that is intuitive to them. They grew up with technology, embraced it, and use it more than any other age group.

A study conducted by Pew Research shows that 92% of millennials own smartphones, versus just 67% of Baby Boomers. And 90% of them believe that the internet is a positive experience, and has a positive impact on society in general.

It just makes sense for ministries who are trying to reach that generation (or any other, given that the same study shows increasing adoption, year after year, for everyone, regardless of their age group) to embrace technology as a tool to reach those people.

So, how does a ministry effectively utilize an online video presence, and manage that while also understanding how the content will be consumed and really impact their engagement in a way that brings new people into their church?

The answer is through utilizing powerful analytics tools that expose the usage of your content and its effectiveness with your audience. And the best way to learn how to do that is to hear how someone has used analytics to grow their ministry.

Using analytics to reach your ministry’s target audience

Stuart Putnam is the Online Campus Pastor at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. Church Online at Christ Fellowship started in 2008, and in the first year they had about 9,000 viewers over the course of the entire year. By 2015, they’d increased their viewership to 1.7 million viewers for that year.

The growth at their physical locations has not diminished as a result. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Every year they get more and more people attending church, to use the common vernacular, IRL (In Real Life).

In an upcoming webinar, Stuart points out how people are attending church differently now. Many of those who attend church may come to their locations once a month, but also watch the services online three times a month. It’s a massive sea change in the way that people are staying connected with ministries, and Stuart and his team have risen to the challenge of this new reality.

But even during that period of growth, Stuart was unable to get the analytics he really needed to understand his audience, and cater to their particular needs and wants.

It wasn’t until October of 2015 that they had an analytics tool that could help them better understand their audience. As Stuart says, this was a game changer for their ministry.

In 2016, they experienced growth again, jumping to 2.3 million yearly viewers, and as a result, they went from 4 monthly live broadcasts to six, increased their number of simulated live broadcasts from 50 to a whopping 72. They also included a new Chat Host Leader to respond to prayer requests and questions from their online audience, as well as a new online Prayer Team Leader.

For Stuart and his team, having analytics that showed where there viewers were located when watching the broadcasts was a treasure trove of information that lead them to even more growth. And as a result of that growth, they were able to better understand their audience, and began adding new distribution channels for their online presence. They now stream live on Facebook Live and YouTube Live. They have an Apple TV channel and a Roku channel for those who use set-top boxes to consume content. They’re even broadcasting on Amazon TV.

The result of their increased viewership has been a massive increase in the number of people that they have been able to lead to salvation. Whereas in 2016 they were able to lead 3,760 people to salvation, the next year they were able to increase that number to 5,143. This is not insignificant for any ministry, and the entire team at Christ Fellowship has been instrumental in making a difference in the lives of many people, all over the world, as a result of their ability to collect and apply data that helps them to reach a wider, and increasingly receptive, audience.

The truth is that anyone can be this successful

Building an online ministry takes time and dedication. To truly be successful, it is imperative to embrace the power of analytics to guide your team towards the ultimate goal of increased reach, audience interaction, and prolonged participation.

Analytics are now available that can help ministries engage their viewers in ways that cater to their specific needs. For example, it is now possible to see the results of a live stream, understand when viewers join, and how long they stay—and it’s possible to see this information in real time.

You can get information on where your viewers are from (as granular as country, state, and city), what content they’re watching, and how long they’re watching. You can also learn what the quality of the video they watched was like, to better understand the technical needs and limitations of your audience. You can even see what devices your audience is using to watch your videos.

For more information, check out our Guide to Online Ministry, a list of best practices for growing your online ministry.

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