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Recently, there’s been a resurgence of attention paid to Facebook’s Domain Verification procedures. Even though the option to implement the process was first introduced four years ago, reports say only approximately 3-10 percent of websites have taken advantage of it.

And Facebook users are paying the price. Unclaimed domains are used daily on the site to promote fake shops, surplus providers and going out of business sales. The practice has increased dramatically since the pandemic lockdowns, costing users countless dollars when items don’t show up on their front porches. And no way to contact to the now non-existent seller.

In 2017, in an effort to curb fake news claims from both major political parties, Facebook introduced domain verification, and outlets claimed their sites were verified and designated by the tiny “i” on the preview Facebook posted. Clicking the “i” offered users a history of the site, the article and a few other details.

They quickly expanded the process to offer it for all websites. Those who claimed their site gained the exclusive ability to manage the image and information offered in a preview post. Now only the verified website owner could make changes to the thumbnail image, article title, and link description when sharing the link to their own Facebook page.

With the impending Apple upgrade to iOs 14, Facebook will utilize Domain Verification to adapt to Apple’s new AppTracking Transparency policy.

Framing the Argument

According to Facebook, iOs 14 will “impact how it receives and processes conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.”

In other words, the new AppTracking Transparency will restrict Facebook’s ability to process certain analytics. This data allows Facebook ads to function at the level so many small businesses have taken advantage of. As disastrous as Facebook wants their business users to think the problems will be, it’s really just the latest in an ongoing shift towards privacy and away from data mining.

I talked earlier this month about similar changes that Google is implementing. And the writing’s been on the wall since Europe passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California followed suit with their Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

As much as we’d all like short cuts and an easier flow, you can no longer rely on the data from the silicon valley giants to make finding & selling to customers easier. The only reliable solution? Have your own website and use content posts to answer questions, establish authority, target and convert your ideal customers. You need to develop a strategic digital marketing approach.

However, social media cannot be ignored. It remains a viable portion of most strategic marketing approaches. This is especially true if Facebook ads figures into your approach – or may in the future. Once the changes go into effect, anyone who advertises on Facebook will need to have verified their domain.

Trust, But Verify

There are three different methods to implement domain verification on Facebook.

  1. Add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record to confirm that you own the domain.
  2. Upload an HTML file provided by Facebook to your web directory and confirm domain ownership in Business Manager.
  3. Add a meta tag to the <head> section of your domain home page.

Start in Facebook Business Manager. You’ll want to hit the Business Settings button in the upper right corner. Click the Brand Safety tab (right below Data Sources), and select Domains from the expanded left side navigation list.

Click the blue “ADD” button in the middle of the page. In the pop-up add the domain you want to associate to your business. If you have more than one domain listed, select the domain for which you desire to confirm ownership. Choose the method you wish to use to verify your domain: DNS Verification, Meta Tags or the HTML File Upload. Again, you only have to select one.

For DNS Verification:

You’ll need to log in to whatever service you use for hosting. Under the DNS Verification tab on Facebook, you’ll see a unique text record that needs to be copied and pasted into your DNS configuration. Each hosting platform has a slightly different approach, so check if you’re not sure. Once the changes have propagated across your site’s domain servers, you can click the green “Verify” button at the bottom of the DNS Verification area. Tis can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 72 hours. Facebook recommends leaving the DNS TXT entry in place, as verification will be checked periodically.

To Upload an HTML File:

To the right of the DNS Verification tab is the HTML File Upload tab. Click it, then download the HTML Verification file. You’ll need to upload this file to the root directory of your website. Once the upload is complete, you can click the green “Verify” button at the bottom of this section. Just like DNS, Facebook recommends leaving the file in place for future verification checks.

Meta Tag Verification:

Navigate to the Meta Tag Verification tab. Copy the meta tag with your verification code, then paste it into the <head> section of the HTML of your domain home page. Confirm that the meta tag is visible by visiting your domain home page and viewing the HTML source. Once confirmed, click the green Verify button at the bottom of the Meta Tag Verification tab for the selected domain. And, you guessed it, leave it there. Facebook will be checking.

Now you’re all set to keep creating Facebook ads. There are some other restrictions, like number of conversions you’re able to track and new limits to discriminatory data, but once you familiarize yourself with them, you’re good to go.

I cannot stress this enough – Facebook is not an end all and be all for digital marketing. You need a solid strategy to find and attract your best customers. If you’d like help building that strategy, training your team to develop and enhance it, or just ongoing periodic posts to stay on top of the Google algorithm, please reach out.

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