Facebook’s Detailed Targeting—What You Need to Know

About Facebook's Detailed Targeting | Search Engine Journal

Are you running Facebook ads for your business?

If so, Facebook is rolling out something that will help you narrow your targeting down to the exact customers you wish to reach. Sounds too far-fetched right?

Actually, it’s not. 

OR vs AND Targeting

For those using third-party tools that operate with the Facebook API, you’ve probably already witnessed the power of AND targeting.

What is AND targeting?

To answer that, let’s explain what OR targeting is first.

Up until now, Facebook has been operating with OR targeting. This means that if you attempt to get your message in front of two audiences, you would hit either or. Not the intersection of the two.

An example of this would be if you wanted to reach people interested in Soccer and Rugby in the same campaign. Facebook would show your ad to either the Soccer audience or the Rugby audience. But, you wanted people who were interested in both.

Well, now you can!

But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can narrow your audience as much as you would like. Need five layers of targeting? Go for it.

Additionally, you can exclude people from your targeting. This is great because you can remove specific people from the audience that you know are probably not interested in your ads.

Creating Your Ad Set

First of all, what does this new targeting look like?

About Facebook's Detailed Targeting | Search Engine Journal

As you’ll notice, some sections appear to be gone. These are Demographics (Relationship, Education, Work, Life Events, and more) and Behaviors.

Now these sections are inserted in the “Detailed Targeting” section. Which actually makes sense, because these were already partially using AND targeting when combined with Interests and other targeting factors.

I am going to walk you through a live example so you can get a feel for what it does and can start thinking of ideas on how to apply it to your business:

The Goal

Find the best prospects for a product that is perfect for women that like the Minions and guns.

Weird combo, I know. Now we’re fast forwarding with the assumption that you’ve already done your research in Audience Insights and you know who your targets are.

First, let’s choose women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 44 that speak English. Audience size = 58 million

Next, we’re going to add the interest “Minions (film)”. Audience size = 4.4 million

Now we want to hit “Narrow Audience” to include the interest “Despicable Me”, since this is where the Minions originally appeared. Here we’re hitting people who are interested in Minions AND Despicable Me. Audience size= 1.9 million

Let’s move on to adding in the gun lovers. Click on “Narrow Further” to display another box

Here, let’s add the interest “Gun Owners of America.” Audience size shrank to 99,000. So we can add another relevant interest to beef that up. I chose “Second Amendment To The United States Constitution”. Audience size is 210,000.

So now we have the following (added as a vertical list to show the funnel):

Despicable Me
Gun Owners of American OR Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

If your product was indeed perfect for this audience, you could probably stop here. But let’s bring down the audience a little more for the sake of the example. Do this by clicking “Narrow Further”.

Assuming you know your exact audience, maybe you notice that a lot of buyers are homeowners. So we’ll include them in our targeting. This brings the audience size to 98,000.

This is a pretty targeted audience in my opinion. However, if you know your ideal customer, then I’m sure you can think of how to create something similar for your targeting. For this example, here’s a screenshot of what it would look like.

About Facebook's Detailed Targeting | Search Engine Journal

What Does This Mean?

The example above was an extremely unrealistic thinking for the targeting. I went that route to show you that you could mix together things that weren’t related to find the audience you want to put your product in front of.

With unrelated niches intersected, you have a pretty defined audience. But what about the people who are highly interested in your niche?

If you were to take all of the biggest Facebook Interests (trade publications, influencers, brands, etc) in your niche and find the core audience interested in all of them, they would have a high probability of being interested in your product. Right? Well, that is of course if your product or service is actually relevant for that niche.

How Can You Get Access to Detailed Targeting?

At the time of writing this article, this feature is in Beta. According to Facebook, they’re slowly rolling it out to advertisers. If you have an account manager at Facebook, you should message them and ask if they can enable for you. I was able to get it activated within a day.

If you don’t have a manager, all is not lost. Visit the Facebook help center for advertisers.

For those of you in the United States, you might be able to use their Live Chat feature during standard business hours Monday through Friday. If you are not in the United States, or you don’t have the option to use Live Chat, then you can submit an email to the support team.

Here’s what I suggest to say (I had to do this for my personal ad accounts):


I would like to request that Detailed (Flex) targeting be enabled on my account please. I read in the article below that this feature is coming out and I believe that it will help increase my effectiveness on the platform.

>>>Insert Link To This Article From SEJ<<<
Thank you

The first time I asked in Live Chat, I was denied. A week later, I asked again and I was given access by a very friendly agent.


The new detailed targeting is going to make advertising on Facebook a lot easier. If you can get your message in front of the ideal audience, you have a better chance of converting. Which will make advertisers happier than putting the message in front of those that might only be slightly interested and it not converting. Hopefully this should decrease CPMs for the narrow audiences since those specifically defined, but only time will tell.