Why Dealers Should Verify Their Domain in Facebook

Dealers, take control of your digital assets.

by Lauren Walls and Jasmine Goodsaid | August 10, 2021

What is a domain, and why should I verify it?

In a nutshell, a domain is the name of a website. If the link to a site is https://www.vin-logic.com, then the domain is vin-logic.com. When your domain is “unverified” it simply means that Facebook doesn’t know who is in charge of the content on that site. Before Apple rolled out its iOS14 privacy updates, this was a non issue. However, due to that rollout, Facebook has updated its tracking features and privacy policy to be compliant (so people with iPhones can still use the Facebook app) which means the necessity of verifying a domain.

What did iOS14 do?

The iOS14 policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing across apps (cross-app tracking) unless users agree to be tracked on iOS (Apple) devices. This data collection is considered “third party” data. Information you collect solely from your site is “first party” data, which is essentially protected (you will always be able to collect site data).

However, Facebook collects both first and third-party through their Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is like a cookie tracker that only operates within your site. The Pixel is how that first party data from your site is accurately hashed and reported back into the Facebook platform so that ad metrics can be reported. To maintain compliance with iOS14, Facebook has to prove that it’s collecting first-party data through that pixel. It does this by proving that the pixel is associated with a specific site, which is owned by someone.

That’s where the process of domain verification comes in, it’s proving that the site is owned by someone and associating pixels with it.

Because Facebook has no documentation of a site owner, it defaults to classifying the site as third-party spam. This means that unless otherwise documented (through verification), you won’t have access to the same level of metric reporting as a verified site.

The importance of owning your domain.

We recommend dealers verify their own domain instead of having ad agencies do it on their behalf. This gives dealers autonomy over their domain asset, maintains a verified domain, and ensures consistent ad metrics.

Having a domain verified by a third party ad agency can create multiple issues if a dealership decides to switch agencies. The primary issue is that, since the ad agency owns the domain, releasing it is at their discretion. This means that (depending on the ad agency) a dealer may never be able to recover the domain, which would put their Facebook ads in constant jeopardy. The other issue is that if they do release it, they then have to repeat the process of verification for their domain every time they switch agencies. During the repeated process of verification, there will be gaps in tracking metrics while a new pixel is created.

The pros and cons to transferring your domain and pixel ownership
Pros:

  • Primary ownership over your assets.
  • Ability to remove extra pixels from the site that may cause over reporting.
  • Having a single source to analyze pixel traffic.
  • Easily add/remove partnership access.
  • Having a pixel you can use long term even when switching advertising agencies.
  • Reduction in overcounted events and more accurate reporting.

Cons:

  • Transferring your pixel will cause ads to pause for 72 hours.
  • You will lose previous tracking history.
  • Ads will re-enter the learning phase.

The pros outweigh the cons, and you can further avoid negative impacts by becoming the owner over your pixel and domain.

How to create a pixel if you have none.

If you don’t already have a pixel, this step must be done before Domain Verification.

  1. In Facebook Business Settings, click Pixels under Data Sources in the left menu.
  2. Click “Add” to create a new pixel. You will be required to give your pixel a name. We recommend making the name of the pixel “[Dealership Name] Pixel”.

How to verify your domain.

We’ve created the following step by step guide to help point you in the right direction when it comes to managing your assets.

If your domain and pixel is currently owned by another business, you will need to get it released from them so that you can begin the verification process. After this is completed, you will need to:

  1. Log into your dealership’s Facebook Business Settings.
  2. In the left-hand pane, click on “Domains” under Brand Safety.
  3. Click “Add” to add a new domain. Adding a Domain
  4. Enter your website url but leave out the https:// and www portion of the url. Domain format
  5. Navigate to the meta-tag verification option. Copy the code, and send to your web team with the Facebook instructions. Copy the meta tag
  6. Once this is installed and published on the website, you can navigate back to your domain settings in business manager and click “Verify Domain”.
  7. Refresh the page so the changes appear.
  8. Once verified, you can go ahead and share the asset with a trusted member of your ad agency’s team. To do this, go to “People” under Users in the left menu.
  9. Click “Add“.
    Add a user
  10. Type in the account manager email (ex. someone@vin-logic.com) – you may want to verify with your ad agency that this is the correct email.
  11. Select “Admin Access” and then click “Next”. Provide admin access
  12. Provide Manage Pixel access to your pixel. If you don’t have a pixel, follow the instructions above to create one. Click “Invite” to complete this step. Manage Pixel access
  13. Finally, let your ad agency know that you’ve given an agent admin access to your Business Manager.

An experienced ad agency will be able to take it from here. They’ll do things like set up Aggregated Events Measurement to prioritize conversion events on your pixel, ensure connectivity between your pixel / domain, connect the pixel / domain to the appropriate ad account. Generally, the ad agency will then remove themselves as admin while retaining the minimum partnership access necessary to ensure ads on their end still have pixel / domain access.

    We hope this guide has been instructive, and we welcome any questions about the how-tos that you may have!