Ah, Flex Targeting! Or, as Facebook calls it “Flex-And-Or Exclusion” targeting. What is it and why do you need to use it? You’re about to find out!

Why Advertise on Facebook?

Why buy ads on Facebook in the first place? The list of reasons why is quite vast, but we’ll start with these five first:

  1. No one is organically engaging with your Facebook page; you have very few likes, comments, and shares, so you want to boost your engagement
  2. Your page is brand new and you want to generate buzz
  3. You want to turn your existing followers into leads, and then eventually sales
  4. You want more qualified traffic and engagement on your platforms
  5. You want to drive people to your website

Stay tuned for Facebook Advertising 101; coming soon!

Flex Targeting = Detailed Targeting

The Flex-And-Or Targeting feature simply allows you to truly target who your paid ads get delivered to. To utilize the feature, you have to be using Facebook’s Power Editor. Once in Power Editor, you’ll see options for “Detailed Targeting” and these options are what allow you to target your audience with a fine-tooth comb.


With this tool, you can not only make sure your targeting includes people that match at least one demographic, interest, or behavior but you can target individuals so they must also match another specific demographic, interest, or behavior! What does that mean? Facebook keeps it simple with this easy-to-understand graphic:


Keep in mind that adding more targeting details expands your audience, and includes more people. If you’re going with a broad demographic, this option is ideal. However, if you’re trying to target a niche, make sure you’re keeping it simple.

If you choose to exclude people who match a certain demographic, interest, or behavior you’ll then decrease your overall audience.

Confused? That’s okay. Let’s use Tiffany’s Floral Boutique as an example.

Tiffany owns a floral boutique in a metropolitan area. She decides to run a promotion for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday that will target fathers. She has decided to spread the word to her Facebook followers with her campaign goals being to entice them to download her coupon or call her directly to place an order. After selecting a targeted radius around her boutique’s location, she moves on to her flex targeting options.

She includes people who are interested in “Fatherhood and Family” and “Coupons” and must also exhibit behavior that they’ve purchased “Gifts and Flowers” before.

Then, Tiffany takes her targeting one step further and decides to exclude people who match the demographic of “moms” themselves! When it’s all said and done, Tiffany’s targeting looks a bit like the image below.


Note: If you happen to be a mother that’s purchasing flowers for herself on Mother’s Day – you go girl!

What’s Next?

audience_definitionTo make sure that you haven’t defined an audience that’s too specific (your ad won’t be shown because there’s no one to show it to) or too broad (you need to narrow your targeting) you’ll look to the right hand side of your screen. Here you’ll see if you’re in the red, the green, or the yellow.

This is called your “Audience Definition.” You’ll notice that it details the Location you’ve picked, your audience’s Age, where your ad will show (News Feed on desktop, mobile devices, etc.), what your ad excludes and what it matches.

Pretty cool right?

Facebook’s flex targeting allows you to take all of your extensive target audience research and put it towards practical use. From a marketing standpoint, this is pretty awesome.

Make sure you click the tiny button under “Connections” (we’ll talk about this option in a later blog post) that says “Save this audience” so you can either use it again, or just make sure you don’t lose all the hard work you’ve just put in.

Then, you’ll go ahead and set your ad’s budget and schedule, its delivery type, and name your ad set.

When you hit “Continue” you’ll start creating your ad itself, including the format and all creative- images and copywriting!


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