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Facebook Flex Targeting: Now You Can Have Your Cake AND-OR Eat It Too

You buy traffic for one of three reasons…

  1. you have no traffic and you need to generate leads and sales
  2. you want more qualified traffic than you currently have (people who will actually BUY your stuff)
  3. you want a steady, reliable source of traffic

In the end, it all boils down to this…

The purpose of buying traffic is to put your message or offer in front of the right audience.

It’s called ad targeting.
And the truth is (assuming you have a product or service that people want), the biggest reason that your traffic campaigns are failing is because the targeting is off.
But Facebook’s targeting just got a whole heck of a lot more powerful…

Introducing Facebook Flex targeting

The key to solid targeting is SPECIFICITY.
A few weeks ago, Facebook released a revolutionary new way to target your audience.
It’s called “Flex And-Or Exclusion” targeting. Although this feature has been available via the Facebook API and third party software for some time now, it’s just now rolling out to the general public.
To check out the new targeting, you must be using Power Editor (for the time being).
You’ll see the options in the “Detailed Targeting” section when setting up your ad set.
This is one of the most revolutionary changes to the Facebook ad platform to date.
You can now choose to include people who match more than one interest, demographics, or behaviors at a particular time.
You can choose to EXCLUDE particular demographics, interests, or behaviors.
It allows us to get SPECIFIC.
Facebook explains the new targeting options using the example below…
Here’s what the final audience would look like in the example above:

  • People in the United States
  • Who are between the ages of 15-35
  • And are also men
  • They must also use either an iPhone 6 OR an iPhone 6 Plus
  • They must also be interested in action games to be in my audience

However, if they meet all of the above but have a 2G network connection, then they’ll be excluded from my audience.”
Here’s an image for those of you that are more visual…
Are you starting to see the power of this?
Before, there were no “and” statements.
When we would enter new interests, demographics, or behaviors we were choosing to target everyone who fit ANY of those qualifications.
It was way more BROAD. This allows you to get specific. Refer back to the graphic above…. the orange area in the middle is your sweet spot.
Before, we would have had to target everyone in that image all at once.
Let’s think about this new feature in terms of the way we teach targeting here at DigitalMarketer.

We call it the “But No One Else Would” trick

When we’re looking to run ads to a new offer, or in a new market, we first start by doing a TON of research on the target audience.
Where are these people hanging out online? How can we find the people that love this market SO much that they want to spend their money on it?
We answer questions like these….

  • Who are the authority figures, thought leaders, or big brands in your niche?
  • What books, magazines, newspapers does your ideal customer read?
  • What events do they attend?
  • What websites do they frequent?
  • Where do they live?
  • What tools do they use?
  • What’s SPECIFICALLY UNIQUE about this group of people?

The most important question above is the last, what’s specifically unique about these people? Where would they be hanging out that NO ONE else would?

Facebook Flex Targeting: Example 1

Let’s look at a targeting example in the golf niche.
Say you’re selling golf equipment.  You want to run ads to people who actually PLAY golf… frequently.  And, therefore, buy lots of golf stuff.
Most people would hop into Facebook (or any traffic platform) and quickly fill out the targeting section.
They may target Tiger Woods.  Why not? He’s probably the most famous golfer of all time.
That’s a mistake.
Tiger is too well-known. He is an international celebrity. Most people know who Tiger is, whether they watch or play golf at all.
It’s too broad.
So you start to think…
How about Phil Mickelson?
He’s definitely not as well known as Tiger, but he’s still pretty famous.
I don’t play golf, but I know who Phil Mickelson is because I’ve watched the Master’s with my dad.
Still not specific enough.
So then you get to the “But No One Else Would” trick….
Who or what can we target that ONLY golfers would be interested in?
What about a more mid-level golfer?
“A golf enthusiast would know who Bubba Watson is, but no one else would.”
Although Bubba is a big enough name to have a following that you can target on Facebook, he is still lesser-known and therefore would attract people who actually watch golf, play golf and… yep… buy golf stuff.
Apply this to other areas in the golf niche…

  • What events do golf enthusiasts attend, but no one else would?
  • What magazines do golf enthusiasts read, but no one else would?
  • What books do golf enthusists read, but no one else would?

If you use this simple fill in the blank sentence when planning out your targeting, it will ensure that you’re actually reaching a relevant audience!
A ___________ would know who ___________ is, but no one else would.
What does this have to do with Facebook’s new targeting options?
Now, you can still leverage those “broader” interests like Tiger Woods without worrying about them being too broad…. You just have to qualify them with an “and” statement.
Like this…
Instead of people that just like Tiger Woods – we’re targeting people who like Tiger Woods AND Bubba Watson.
It’s allowing you to tap into the part of Tiger’s market that would be still be hyper- focused.
In the past, we only had two options:

  • Target Tiger Woods
  • Don’t target Tiger Woods

(RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] Customer Avatar Worksheet: Finally, Get Clear on WHO You Are Selling To! )

Facebook Flex Targeting: Example 2

Let’s say we’re wanting to target people who really LOVE the royal family.
Before, you maybe would have targeted Prince William and Kate Middleton together:
Now, you can target people who like Prince William AND Kate Middleton…
Talk about hyper targeted!
We’re still testing the new targeting options and I’m excited to report back very soon with more data.
For the time being, take advantage of the further specificity that Facebook Flex Targeting has given advertisers.
It’s as easy as 1,2,3

  1. Find the enthusiasts in your market using the “But No One Else Would” trick
  2. Use Facebook’s new AND-OR targeting to laser focus on them
  3. Exclude the rest

Have you started playing with Facebook’s Flexible Targeting?  What questions do you have?
Ask the DM team and 9,036 other members in the DM Engage Facebook Group!
Not a DM Lab Member? Learn more here.



The lovely content team here at DigitalMarketer works hard to make sure you have the best blog posts to read. But some posts require a group effort, and we decided to stop the rock-paper-scissors tournaments that decided the byline so that we had more time to write. Besides, we all graduated from kindergarten: we can share.

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