How to Use Flex Targeting to Optimize Your Facebook Ads

Have you heard of flex targeting?

Flex targeting lets you serve Facebook ads to people who share a highly customized combination of interests, behaviors, and demographics.

Why Flex Targeting?

Flex targeting allows you to significantly scale up conversions while making sure that only a highly tailored audience sees your Facebook ads.

For example, suppose you sell a product for dogs and you want to advertise to families that own dogs. The easiest way to do that is to edit the ad set of your Facebook campaign and choose both dog owners and families.

ad targeting options

Specify your targeting options by starting with Detailed Targeting.

With these targeting options, your ad will be served to people who match at least one of the targeting options you select.

If you look at the bottom of the Detailed Targeting section, you’ll see two additional targeting options: Exclude People and Narrow Audience. This is where flex targeting comes in.

If you click on Narrow Audience, an additional field appears: Must Also Match at Least One of the Following.

narrow audiences must include

When you click Narrow Audience, you can refine your targeting to include people who share an additional demographic, interest, or behavior.

If you click on both Narrow Audience and Exclude People, here’s what you see.

new fields

You can also take advantage of the option to exclude segments of people based on demographics, interests, or behaviors.

You can now target more than one audience instead of either/or. Below, I filled in some audiences to show what this targeting looks like.

website conversions

This example shows what an audience refined with flex targeting might look like.

With the targeting options above, your audience will include people who match either Dog Owner and Family-based Households, and will exclude people who are Unemployed.


One step further:

Now that you understand what flex targeting is, here’s how to use it to narrow the audience for your Facebook ads. Like all targeting methods, you set flex targeting at the ad set level.

To get started, you need to create an ad set in Power Editor or Ads Manager.

#1: Work With Ad Sets in Ads Manager

Open the Ads Manager, and select the ad campaign you want to work with.

select ad campaign

Selecting your ad campaign in Ads Manager.

Then click on the Create Ad Set button.

create ad set name

You want to create a new ad set.

Next, type in the URL you want to promote and click on Create New Ad Set.

create ad set name

Type in your URL and click Create New Ad Set.

If you’re using the Increase Conversions on Your Website goal, you’ll need to select the conversion action that you want to track.

After you’ve created your ad set, you’ll need to edit it so you can access the flex targeting options.

First, select the campaign you want to work with.

select ad campaign

Select your ad campaign.

Then select the ad set you want to work with.

select ad set

From within your campaign, select your ad set.

Finally, click on the ad set Edit button.

ad set edit

Clicking the pencil icon lets you edit your ad set.

You can now work in the Audience section of the ad set and use flex targeting. You’llfind out how in step 3 below.

#2: Work With Ad Sets in Power Editor

If you’re using Power Editor, log into the Ads Manager and click on Power Editor.

click ad set

From within Ads Manager, click on Power Editor.

Download the latest changes to Power Editor.

click ad set

Be sure to download any changes to Power Editor before you begin.

Next, select the campaign that you want to work with and click on Apply.

select your campaign and click apply

Select your campaign and click Apply.

Then navigate to the Ad Sets menu and click on Create Ad Set.

click ad set

Click Create Ad Set.

Type in a name for your new ad set and click Create.

After you’ve created your ad set, here’s how to edit it so you can access the flex targeting options. If you’re using Power Editor, select your ad set and click on Edit.

ad set edit

Select your ad set and click on Edit.

You can now move to the next step and use flex targeting in your ad set.

#3: Add Flex Targeting Your Audience

After you follow the steps above to edit your ad set, scroll down to where you can edit your audience. (Note that the steps below are the same for both Ads Manager and Power Editor.)

edit your audience

Select the option to edit your audience.

In the regular Detailed Targeting section, select the interests, behaviors, or demographics you want to target.

For example, if you’re selling high-end Italian food, you want to target people whose behavior indicates that they’ll buy premium food. Under Detailed Targeting, you might select Italian Food and Italy as interests.

select targeting options

Select your initial targeting options.

However, not all people who buy premium food necessarily like Italian food, so you want a narrower audience. To do this, click on Narrow Audience.

narrow audience

Click Narrow Audience for more targeting options.

Select an additional targeting method within the interests you already selected and save your changes. For example, you might narrow your audience to people who live in Family-based Households.


Add parameters that narrow or exclude specific target options to refine your audience.

Now only a highly tailored audience will see your Facebook ad.

In Conclusion

Flex targeting radically changes how you can target potential clients for your Facebook ads.

Not only can you boost conversions by serving your ad to highly targeted audiences, you’ll also reduce the cost per acquisition because less of your budget is wasted on people who aren’t interested in your product or service.

As great as flex targeting is, if your flex targeting results in an audience that is too small, you won’t get much traffic and might end up paying a lot, especially if you’re using cost per thousand impressions (CPM) bidding.


Shared via Rocco SME