, communication director, South Pacific Division
Granted, in a world where a cat falling off a table can get a million clicks, a million views doesn’t seem a huge target.
But considering the South Pacific Division’s HopeChannel website had a paltry 17,930 views in 2012, setting the goal for 1 million views felt like shooting for the moon. The audience would need to grow 5577 percent to reach a million views a year.
Well, HopeChannel didn’t do it.
Instead, it grew 7818 percent.
The South Pacific Division’s four main websites reached a cumulative total of almost 2 million views last year — 1.4 million of which were at hopechannel.com. And the numbers continue to grow rapidly.
It’s not just the number of views but the quality. Hopechannel.com has managed to incorporate video, text, audio, and interactive Bible lessons into a package that’s not only attracting people to the site but keeping them there as well. The average visitor views almost six different pages on every visit.
“When we set the million views goal, it was ambitious, but apparently not ambitious enough,” said Kalvin Dever, chief executive of the division’s Adventist Media company, which operates hopechannel.com.
“God is doing great things,” he said. “People are online searching, and hopechannel.com provides us with a platform with which to reach them. And it's only just beginning. Our digital team has a plan to roll out a much more integrated site with new products and substantial improvements.”
Jared Madden, head of Adventist Media’s digital team, said efforts to place all the division’s evangelistic media and services on an easily accessible website contributed to the growth.
“We now offer visitors much more in a single website than we ever did in the past,” he said. “The growth has happened even though the website is still very much in development and even though we haven’t spent anything on advertising it.”
Articles from the magazines Signs of the Times and Diggings have been added to hopechannel.com.
“While this means that [visits to] the Signs website have waned, we are now getting many more views on hopechannel.com than we ever did cumulatively as little stand-alone websites," Signs editor Lee Dunstan said. “Teamwork works.”
HopeChannel director Pastor Wayne Boehm said it’s all part of the vision to “meet our societies where they are.”
“Where we can reach people affordably and effectively through TV — like New Zealand — we are,” he said. “Where we can reach people via radio — like Fiji — we are. Where we can reach them online, we are. Where we can reach people with print, we are. And the beauty of hopechannel.com is that it also supports all the work on TV, print, and radio by providing a place for viewers and listeners to come to learn more.”
Linden Chuang, a member of the Adventist Media digital team, added: “You need to reach people where they’re at, and where they are is on the web.”
In years past, various entities in the South Pacific Division tried to “do their own little website model,” but they learned that it was not as effective as working together, Dever said.
He said the 1.4 million visits in 2015 was just the start.
“Our goal isn’t to have two million views or five million views. Our goal is to have in the range of 100 million views per year, and much more importantly, to assist our church family in making 10,000 new disciples for Jesus per year,” he said. “Under God’s grace, it’s our goal to work together with our entire church family to light up our region for Jesus Christ.”
A large amount of work remains to be done, Adventist Media leaders said. Hopechannel.com is being substantially improved and integrated with the division’s websites. Soon relevant articles from the Adventist Record, the division’s news magazine, will appear on the site, and HopeChannel video, text, and audio will appear on the division’s website. Both sites will connect visitors to online Bible studies and details about where they can find a warm, friendly, loving church family — yours.
This appeared in the South Pacific Adventist Record.