How To Use Flex Targeting on Facebook to Get Laser Targeted Traffic

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

Have you ever noticed how HORRIBLE Netflix is at making recommendations?
For example, I love Dave Chappelle.
Because of this, Netflix will recommend other standup comedians like Jerry Seinfeld.
But I don’t like Jerry Seinfeld – not my style of humour.
Netflix assumes that because I like Dave Chappelle, I must like all stand up comedy.
It’s easy to make the same mistake when choosing the audience for your Facebook ads.
When you start building your audience, Facebook will suggest additional interest groups based on the ones you already chose. This can be helpful in reaching people you might not have otherwise.
But it also creates the Netflix problem: putting your ad in front of people who aren’t interested in it. (aka you’re wasting money)
There are levels to the targeting game.
Let’s say you want to sell basketball shoes to people.
Back in the day, the best you could do was to target people who like the NBA, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James.
The problem? Just because someone likes Jordan doesn’t mean they’re interested in basketball shoes. They could just be fans of him as an athlete.
So every dollar you spend on these non-buyers is burning money away.
So what’s the solution? How can you make sure your ad gets in front of the right people?
It’s called Flex targeting.
Flex targeting allows you to create an extremely customized audience.
How? By intentionally excluding people who won’t be super interested in what you’re promoting. (It’s like how nightclubs reject creepy dudes from coming inside)
Flex targeting is an easy way for you to narrow down your audience into potential buyers.
And if you’re not using flex targeting, you’re throwing money away.
I’m going to teach you exactly how to do it.

Step #1: Create Your Basic Audience Using Facebook Audience Insights

The first step is to create a relatively broad audience using Facebook Audience Insights.
Going with the basketball shoes illustration, let’s target men in the United States between the ages of 18-30 who like the NBA, Lebron James, and Stephen Curry.

This is a good start because there’s a huge audience of 7-8 million active monthly users interested in these things.
But the audience is too broad.
There are lots of guys in this group who like to watch Lebron James but would never step on a basketball court or buy a pair of shoes.
We need to narrow this audience down to the people who will buy shoes online.
So we’re going to save this audience as “NBA” and then go into the Facebook Ads Creator.

Step #2: Narrow Your Audience

Within the Ads Manager, create a new ad using the saved audience. Your objective may differ depending on your offer, but for this example, we’re going to select “Conversions” as our objective.

In order to track conversions, you’ll need to have the Facebook Pixel installed on your site.
Now we’re going to load our saved “NBA” audience.

Once it’s loaded, click “Edit” to narrow it down.

Click “Exclude People” or “Narrow Audience”.
What’s the difference between excluding people and narrowing your audience?
Excluding people lets you choose people you do NOT want in your audience.
For example, we can exclude people who purchase primarily with cash because we know that they’re not going to buy things online.

Narrowing the audience means that they must like one of the initial interests (NBA, Lebron James, Stephen Curry), AND at least one other specified interest.
For example, we can create an audience that likes:

  • NBA
  • Lebron James
  • Stephen Curry

AND also likes:

  • Adidas
  • Nike
  • Streetwear
  • Yeezy

If someone likes the NBA and likes Nike or Adidas, there’s a much better chance they’ll be interested in buying basketball shoes.
We could narrow our audience even further if we wanted. We could only show our ad to men who have an actual history of purchasing clothes.

Are you starting to get the picture?
There are two other methods I use to filter people in campaigns.
Method #1: 
The first one is to figure out words that indicate a buyer. Suppose I’m selling makeup. If someone likes make up, and also likes Sephora / Urban Decay / etc., that means she’s a buyer.
Method #2:
The second one is identifying keywords that indicate a passionate fan. Most girls like makeup, but if she also subscribes to different YouTube makeup personalities, that means she’s a passionate fan. Passionate fans = more likely to buy.
Using flex targeting, you can get incredibly specific with your ad audience.
You can narrow in on your audience with laser focus, ensuring that only the right people are seeing your ad.
Instead of putting your ad in front of people who are somewhat interested, you can put it in front of red-hot audiences.
This can significantly raise your conversion rate and also ensure that you’re not getting low quality leads.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

It can be tempting to think that bigger is better when it comes to your Facebook audience.
But the opposite is actually true.
If you don’t narrow your audience, you’re going to put your ad in front of people who don’t care.
Don’t waste your ad spend. Use flex targeting.

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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