In February 2023, Meta announced its new subscription called Meta Verified. In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about Meta Verified and hear about my personal experience of testing it for a whole month.
As always, if you prefer to listen to the podcast episode instead of reading it, then click on the player below. Follow my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, and all the other platforms to get notified as soon as a new episode becomes available!
So, what is Meta Verified?
Meta Verified is a monthly subscription available for both Facebook and Instagram accounts. An initial test was launched in February 2023 in Australia and New Zealand before it was rolled out further to the US. The idea behind the subscription is to help your community to understand who is behind your account and to decrease the number of impersonators on the apps.
The most prominent feature of the subscription is probably the blue verification badge behind your handle, also known as "the blue tick".
How much does it cost?
Fees vary depending on your region and whether you verify your Facebook or Instagram account. In New Zealand, you are looking at paying between $19.99 NZD (FB) and $29.99 NZD (IG) per month. In the US, you will be paying $11.99 USD a month if you sign up on the web version of Facebook and $14.99 USD a month if you sign up through iOS and Android systems.
What is included?
Currently, the following perks are included in the subscription:
Verification badge: The blue tick helps your community know that it's the real you. Meta uses a verification process for which you have to upload a government ID to ensure the account's authenticity. Probably the most known feature & the reason why most people will want to sign up for it.
Proactive account protection: Meta actively monitors your account and protects it from impersonators. This is a useful feature for accounts that are often victims of copycats.
Direct account support: This feature gives you access to a REAL person at Meta who you can consult for any account issues you are experiencing. If you have ever tried to get in contact with either Facebook or Instagram, you know that this is a game-changer.
Exclusive stickers for your stories & reels: Probably the least interesting feature. To be honest, I have been verified for over a month now and still have no idea what these look like or where I can even find them.
No more increased reach:
Interestingly enough, increased reach is now not part of the package anymore. This used to be the case right at the beginning but has since been taken away again.
In my opinion, a smart move from Meta. Most people wanted to sign up for exactly this feature but for the wrong reasons. This would have created a 2-class society on the apps: those who can afford to have their content seen and those who cannot (or aren't eligible).
That being said, I have seen a 200% increase in reach in the month during which I tested Meta Verified. Whether that came from the subscription itself (higher up in the algorithm's list?) or because I now stand out more in comment sections and on the feed due to the blue badge, is unclear.
Who is eligible?
On Facebook, at this point, only personal profiles can be verified.
On Instagram, you can either verify your personal or creator account.
Your full name as well as a profile picture need to be visible on your profile (no private accounts).
You need to have enabled two-factor authentication
Your account must meet the minimum activity requirements (= prior posting history)
You must provide a government-issued ID that matches the name & photo on your profile
You must meet Meta terms and conditions and adhere to community guidelines.
Things to consider before signing up:
Your full name (name + surname) needs to be visible in your name (not handle).
You need to have a profile picture that clearly shows your face.
You won't be able to change your profile picture or your name without having to go through the verification process again (wait 30 days & reapply) - the biggest minus, in my opinion
It's an additional monthly (business) expense
You still need to be able to put out high-quality content and have a strong strategy. The blue badge will not do the work for you.
The obsession with the blue tick...
Ever since the blue tick has existed, it has always been somewhat of a status symbol, even though it was never intended to be. This became clear again once I started talking about my experience with Meta Verified on my social media pages and multiple people messaged me asking for help to get them verified too. It even went as far as some people offering me money to set up a New Zealand-based account for them, so they could get verified. Apart from the fact that that wouldn't work (see "prior posting history" requirement), this is also highly unethical and proves once again that people are still chasing vanity metrics over real success.
The main purpose of the badge is to be more transparent and ensure that your community can trust that they are really talking to you. Isn't it counterproductive to start that relationship with them by illegally obtaining the blue tick?
A blue badge is not going to solve your lack of (content) strategy or help you fix any other problems in your business.
Sure, it can make you more visible (at least, for now) but as long as you haven't laid the proper social media foundations, that success will be short-lived.
👉🏼 This (and the fact that some people have worked really hard to earn the badge) is why I would prefer if Meta introduced two badges: one for noteworthy people who have EARNED their badge and one for people who simply want to verify their account and provide more security for their community. This could be achieved by either using different colours (like Twitter is doing) or using different icons altogether.
All in all, is Meta Verified worth the money?
At this point in time, I would argue that you will miss out on an opportunity to be an early adopter of this subscription if you didn't sign up. Not many people have access to it yet which means you still stand out and can leverage its features. It also gives you a sense of security because you know you can contact a real person that can assist you with any account issues. And you avoid being impersonated by others.
So, if you are a personal brand or creator who relies heavily on their accounts to market themselves: YES.
At the same time, it is an additional monthly business expense that you need to be able to afford. Also, the effect of the blue badge will wear off even further with more and more people signing up for it. Who knows, maybe Meta will read this blog post and introduce 2 different badges. Then, the added advantage of being perceived as an account with some status will be gone completely.
If that is your main reason to sign up, then NO, it's not worth it.
Make sure to also listen to episode #49 of Let's Talk Socials where I discussed my experience with Digital Marketer Loren Tomlinson who has also tested the subscription. It's available on all podcasting platforms or can be accessed at the top of this blog post.