any website, including Car Dealer websites. the information appearing in them comes directly from the social network their code was provided by... When it is a Facebook Social Plugin — they're just an extension of your dealership's Facebook page and the Facebook user experience.
Plugins were designed so that the dealership website they are plugged into receives no information about the Facebook user who has not yet consented to providing your dealership with their personal profile information.
Your customers who use Facebook will only see a personalized experience with their friends if they are logged into their Facebook user profile. If the automotive consumer visiting your dealership's website is not already logged in, they will be prompted to log into Facebook so they can use the plugin added to your dealership's site.
At a technical level, social plugins work when a car dealership website puts an iframe provided by Facebook.com on their site, almost as if the dealership is agreeing to give Facebook some real estate on their various automotive websites. When you visit one of these sites, the Facebook iframe can recognize if you're logged into Facebook. If you're logged in, it’ll show personalized content within the plugin as if you were on Facebook directly.
Even though the iframe isn't on Facebook, it's designed with all the privacy protections as if it were.
Watch this video to learn more about the Facebook Like button...
Find more videos like this on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community
Now that you know these Facebook supplied tools can generate more leads and inquiries from automotive consumers, you will start to see various types of sharing buttons from Facebook and other social networks. Let's take a look at the different types of Facebook social engagement apps that are already installed at other dealership.
We will see ways to place them into your dealership's websites and how social plugins let your dealership's customers take their friends with them around the web... Including when they visit any of your dealership's websites.
Let people share pages and content from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click, so all their friends can read them
Allow people to share to Facebook, share with particular friends or with a group. Alternatively, they can share in a private message.
Embedded Posts let you add any public post from Facebook to your blog or web site.
The Comments plugin lets people comment on any piece of content on your site.
Let people privately send content on your dealership's website to their friends.
Let people subscribe to public updates on Facebook.
Displays the most interesting, recent activity taking place on your site.
Displays the most recommended content on your site.
Let people like content, get recommendations, and share what they are reading with their Friends.
A special version of the Like Button only for Facebook pages.
Display the profile photos of the people who have connected with your Facebook page or app.
Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community
Sharing Checklist Follow our sharing best practices.
More Info on Social Plugins for Car Dealers
Let your dealership's website visitors "Like" and share stuff from your websites with their friends (and automotive consumers) who also use Facebook.
Why Would a Car Dealer Use Social Plugins?
Social plugins are tools that dealership websites outside of Facebook can use to provide their customers who are already Facebook users with personalized and socially enabled experiences. When customers interact with social plugins on your dealership website, they typically share their experiences with their friends, coworkers and others on Facebook.
The Four Most Popular Social Plugins that Facebook Provides Car Dealers include:
Like button: Click Like to share and connect with things from other websites that you find interesting. Learn more.
Share button: Click Share to write something about a link and then post it to your Timeline.
Embedded posts: Add any public post from Facebook to your blog or website.
Comments box: Publicly comment on another website using your Facebook account.
If you're an automotive website developer, click here to learn more about implementing these features within a single line of HTML.
Sharing Best Practices
We want car dealers who have created news sites, automotive consumer targeted magazines, monthly dealership newsletters, dealer maintained and published blogs, and other types of specialized automotive microsites to easily reach their existing Facebook fans and grow their Facebook Page fan base. This way, people can get the most engaging experience, both when they are inside of Facebook, and when they are on any of your dealership's websites.
Here’s what you can do:
Learn who your Facebook using customers are and what they want to share
Make sure the Facebook Crawler can access all of your dealership's websites
Use proper Open Graph tags to drive distribution
Use images that are at least 1200x630 pixels to generate great previews
Use Facebook debug tool to debug your Open Graph Tags
Encourage your dealership's content creators to turn on Follow
1. Learn what your customers want to share
Having great content is necessary, but it’s not the only thing that gets people to share your content.
Track the success of your dealership's posted content with Facebook Insights. You can view the reach of particular stories, understand the demographics of who is sharing and engaging with your content and optimize future efforts based on this understanding. Robust data is available online on a Real-Time basis through an API for automotive website developers.
2. Facebook Crawler access
The Facebook Crawler fetches content from your site and generates a preview for people on Facebook. When someone shares a URL on Facebook and Likes or Recommends a page on your site using a plugin, it activates the Facebook Crawler. If your content is publicly available, we should have no problem accessing it.
If your content requires someone to login or if you restrict access after some amount of free content has been consumed, you will need to enable access for the Facebook Crawler. This access is only used to generate previews, and Facebook will not publicly expose your private content.
There are two methods to give Facebook’s Crawler access to your content:
IP whitelisting, which is more secure, but requires upkeep
User agent whitelisting, which is less secure, but requires little to no upkeep)
Your engineers can allow the following IP addresses access to pages that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public.
184.108.40.206/21 220.127.116.11/18 18.104.22.168/20 22.214.171.124/20 126.96.36.199/19 188.8.131.52/22 184.108.40.206/22 220.127.116.11/18 18.104.22.168/22 2401:db00::/32 2620:0:1c00::/40 2a03:2880::/32
Please note that these IP ranges can and do change regularly, so you should periodically run the following command to receive an updated list
whois -h whois.radb.net -- '-i origin AS32934' | grep ^route
User agent whitelisting
Your engineers can allow the following user-agent access to pages that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public. We rarely update these user-agents, and users can spoof them. But since only a very small percentage of users know how to change their browser’s user-agent, the expected number of users who would exploit this is very low. Additionally, you also do not need to include all the URL's regular content to our crawler, just a valid HTML document with the appropriate meta tags.
Facebook’s Crawler crawls with: facebookexternalhit/<version_number>, where <version_number> is either 1.0 or 1.1, as of March 2013.
3. Use proper Open Graph tags
Open Graph tags are included in your page’s HTML and allow the Facebook Crawler to generate previews when your content is shared on Facebook.
We give examples below, but the basic Open Graph tags you should implement are:
og:title – The title of your article, excluding any branding.
og:site_name - The name of your website. Not the URL, but the name. (i.e. "IMDb" not "imdb.com".)
og:url – This URL serves as the unique identifier for your post. It should match your canonical URL used for SEO, and it should not include any session variables, user identifying parameters, or counters. If you use this improperly, likes and shares will not be aggregated for this URL and will be spread across all of the variations of the URL.
og:description – A detailed description of the piece of content, usually between 2 and 4 sentences. This tag is technically optional, but can improve the rate at which links are read and shared.
og:image – This is an image associated with your media. We suggest that you use an image of at least 1200x630 pixels.
fb:app_id – The unique ID that lets Facebook know the identity of your site. This is crucial for Facebook Insights to work properly. Please see our Insights documentation to learn more.
In addition, you might consider implementing some other types to improve distribution and engagement:
og:type - Different types of media will change how your content shows up in Facebook's newsfeed. There are a number of different common object types already defined. If you don't specify a type, the default will be website. You can also specify your own types via Open Graph.
og:locale - The locale of the resource. The default is en_US. You can also use the og:locale:alternate to reflect that you have other available language translations available as well. See our Internationalization and Open Graph Internationalization pages for examples and information.
article:author - This property links to the authors of the article. The target of this can be either a Facebook Profile or a Facebook Page and Facebook will likely offer a chance to follow that author when it's displayed in the news feed. (Note that your authors should have follow enabled so that people can follow them.)
article:publisher - This property links to the publisher of the article. The target of this property must be a Facebook Page. When displayed in the News Feed, Facebook may offer the ability to like the publisher. Note that this tag is only available to media publishers.
Example 1: GOOD
A clear title without branding or mentioning the domain itself.
<meta property="og:title" content="Workday Sets Price Range for I.P.O." />
A site name:
<meta property="og:site_name" content="My Favorite News"/>
A URL with no session id or extraneous parameters. All shares on Facebook will use this as the identifying URL for this article.
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.myfavnews.com/2013/1/1/workday-price-range" />
A clear description, at least two sentences long.
<meta property="og:description" content="Workday, a provider of cloud-based applications for human resources, said on Monday that it would seek to price its initial public offering at $21 to $24 a share. At the midpoint of that range, the offering would value the company at $3.6 billion. Like many other technology start-ups, Workday, founded in 2005, will have a dual-class share structure, with each Class B share having 10 votes. Its co-chief executives, David Duffield, the founder of PeopleSoft, and Aneel Bhusri, who was chief strategist at PeopleSoft, will have 67 percent of the voting rights after the I.P.O., according to the prospectus." />
Unique ID that identifies your domain to Facebook.
<meta property="fb:app_id" content="[FB_APP_ID]" />
The type of object:
<meta property="og:type" content="article" />
This article has some translations:
<meta property="og:locale" content="en_US" /> <!-- Default --> <meta property="og:locale:alternate" content="fr_FR" /> <!-- French --> <meta property="og:locale:alternate" content="it_IT" /> <!-- Italian -->
This article has an author and a publisher:
<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/fareedzakaria" /> <meta property="article:publisher" content="https://www.facebook.com/cnn" />
Example 2: BAD
The title should not have branding or extraneous information.
<meta property="og:title" content="MyFavNews.com – Business Section- Workday Sets Price Range for I.P.O." />
This URL has extraneous information that changes from user to user, resulting in likes/shares spread across multiple URLs, instead of being aggregated for all users sharing this article.
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.myfavnews.com/2013/1/1 /workday-price-range?user_id=1234" />
This is a generic description that will not entice users to click.
<meta property="og:description" content="MyFavNews is the best source for your favorite news." />
This is a generic image that will look the same for all stories. It is only 100px by 100px, which will not be usable on higher resolution displays.
<meta property="og:image" content="http://graphics.myfavnews.com/images/logo-100x100.jpg" />
Don’t forget the fb:app_id, article:author and article:publisher tags!
4. Use images that are at least 1200x630 pixels
Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.
If your image is smaller than 600 x 315 px, it will still display in the link page post, but the size will be much smaller.
We've also redesigned link page posts so that the aspect ratio for images is the same across desktop and mobile News Feed. Try to keep your images as close to 1.91:1 aspect ratio as possible to display the full image in News Feed without any cropping.
5. Use Open Graph Debug Tool
Facebook has a very simple debug tool on our developer site that lets you debug Open Graph tags on your website. All you have to do is plug in your URL and it will give you results with hints on what you need to fix.
6. Encourage your content creators to turn on Follow
Follow lets content creators share public updates with their followers, while saving personal updates for friends only. For example, journalists can allow readers or viewers to follow their public content, like photos taken on location or links to published articles. Follow is a simple, effective way for your audience to connect with you and keep up with your content, without adding you as a friend.
Get started with Follow:
Enable Follow - Go to your Account Settings and click on the Followers tab. Check the box to allow followers, and if you’d like, you can adjust your settings for follower comments and notifications.
Fill out your timeline - Make sure your timeline looks professional: add a cover photo, your title and work history, key career milestones, and life events.
Observe – Follow other journalists, photographers, authors, and anyone else who has built up a large follower base. Visit their timelines and check out the types of content they share.
Post to your followers - Share interesting photos, links to your content, and updates about what you’re working on, etc. Any post you set to Public will be shown to your followers in News Feed.
Be Authentic – Post in your own voice, use photos you’ve actually taken, and be honest.
Use Facebook Insights to understand the sorts of content your users share.
Whitelist the Facebook Crawler IP addresses or User-Agent.
Make sure og:url tags do not have changing parameters, session info, etc.
Use high-resolution images (preferably 1500 pixels wide). Use multiple images if you want to give us multiple thumbnail candidates.
Use long, descriptive og:description.
Use the fb:app_id and enable Facebook Insights for your website.
Use article:author and article:publisher to generate follows and subscriptions.
Encourage your authors, photographers, and others affiliated with your site to enable Follow on Facebook and start reaching their fans directly. Authentic, direct communication with content creators will drive brand loyalty, awareness, and traffic.
Facebook Portal for Media Publishers
Facebook News, Media, and Publishing Group
Open Graph Overview
Facebook Insights Overview
o The Alpha Dawg... GET THIS Yesterday I had a customer call in and ask why when she found a vehicle online on Cars.com and went to the Finance tab and filled out the credit application she was immediately sent an email telling her to please contact the preferred ROADLOANS/Cars.com dealership in her area and proceeded to give her all the contact information for a dealership a few miles away. She then called Roadloans to ask about the mix up and they told her to just go to the preferred dealer anyway and they would be able to help her find a similar car. When she explained to them that she wanted OUR car, she was told that she would need to call and have us sign up with Roadloans in order to purchase the car... So basically if I'm getting this correctly, We are paying thousands of dollars a month to advertise on Cars.com. They have partnered with Roadloans to provide credit approval on Cars.com and Roadloans is then reselling those leads to other dealerships... That's what the dealer tells me... anyone have a similar situation?
The following are a few of the many responses that Jim Ziegler received... This could also be titled "Day 1 Diary of a Public Relations Disaster":
James A. Ziegler Is Cars.com double-crossing dealers through their finance affiliation?
January 31 at 6:36am
James A. Ziegler Okay, I want to hear from all of you on this one.. what is happening here? Time for the entire tribe to check in on this now.
Michael Anthony Brett Trekell Checking on it right now. Call your local cars.com representative. Cars.com is a Gannet company and they have a lot of companies in that group.
Allen Geissler I'm curious ..ill fill out an online app when I get to work.
Robert Stewart I am sure everyone would like to know what really happens. So lets try it out I own a few dealerships in Columbus ohio and my cars are listed with cars.com and we are not signed up with road loans. http://www.stewartautogroup.com/ the first customer with sub prime credit that comes into the dealership we will try it out.
Bob Scheetz I've dealt with this before. Customer on my lot had picked a car and then went online to find a loan. Roadloans approved her and tried to send her to a dealership 20 miles away. They do have a policy of only sending customers to their approved dealers, but if they are re-directing customers from cars.com, then dealers who pay for these leads and advertising are essentially giving up their business to others.
Shane Seys Is it any different than the Credit Bureaus selling leads to dealerships? We pay a fee to pull a bureau then they immediately sell that lead to another dealership. Yet we are required by law to pull that bureau so in turn we have to do business with them.
Robert Stewart This makes me sick! We are the only reason these companies are in business. We stopped all of our ads with car-fax now no one even asks for one we sold over 100 used this month and only one customer asked after you take down all the car-fax advertising around the dealership its done.
James A. Ziegler Wow This is a heated issue... my phones and private messages and emails are going nuts. You guys are really onto this subject.
Gary S. Hart Sounds like a class action lawsuit in the making. Are you also buying leads from Cars.com? Has anyone read the TOA for advertisers? I wonder if they've attempted to cover their tails.
My suggestion, even they you did not ask. Have someone go through the same process on Cars.com and take screen shot. This will prove the theory and can also be used as evidence.
James A. Ziegler Amazing! I know a lot of dealers were pissed off at AutoTrader for various things BUT this is the first time Cars.com has came up on my radar screen. I've been aware of multiple sales of the same leads but this issue today is way over the top. I hope all of you will test it with the same circumstances and get back with me concerning Cars.com paying customers allegedly having leads diverted to Roadloans preferred dealers. This could become a major AlphaDawg Blog like the TrueCar blogs last year. Okay Tribe, get on the case!
David Vatland Cars.com and autotrader all use roadloans. If you are not a roadloans dealer then you cannot process any paperwork the customer has. I just went thru it. We signed up as road loans dealer so leads would not be sent to other dealers.
Megan S Barto Autotrader's credit apps come directly to me - I then log into autotrader's backed using 2 separate passwords & pull the credit apps.
Kevin Mullins I've heard nothing like this before but have a call into my cars rep right now....I am skeptical of the claim because it would be a pretty open and shut law suit for the dealers...in my opinion..
James A. Ziegler I don't know Kevin that's why I am listening and not commenting too much. BUT, I have to tell you I'm hearing some similar stories this morning. That's why I asked the question. The letter at the top is exactly the way it came to me.
Kevin Mullins Thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront....
Kevin Mullins I just went to one of our car on cars.com and clicked on a sponsored link and this is what it took me too...https://www.roadloans.com/apply?p=cars&LoanType=used&campaignname=VDP_Calc&ad=Bad&medium=Sponsor
Bad Credit Auto Loans, Car Loans & Auto Loan Refinance Car Loan
Login to check the status of your RoadLoans.com car loan or auto refinance application. Haven't applied yet? Whether time is your challenge, or low payments, or both, RoadLoans can help you get your new car now. Just apply online and in less than 30 seconds you receive a credit decision that could g...
James A. Ziegler Okay Kevin, if you went to Roadloans off the link on one of your cars on Cars.com, would Roadloans refer your customer to another dealer to find a similar car? I seem to think they may if you're not signed with them?????
Kevin Mullins I would think so too
James A. Ziegler Okay, we all know what needs to happen next. Start tweeting and blogging to all your car peeps and call somebody too. Direct everyone to this discussion on this page, its public and anyone can post here. Let's blow it up now!
Matthew Heath You're welcome James A. Ziegler. Didn't think it was going to blow up like this. Wow.
James A. Ziegler Everybody hit the "SHARE" button on this thread and put it on your own page.
Roe Roe I have done both Auto Trader and Cars Applications online and with autotrader, I have not recieved any sponsoring dealerships or phone calls from other dealerships HOWEVER with the cars application, it routed me to a dealership 65 miles away and I already recieved a phone call from that dealership itself. I am still awaiting for a response from my rep and his supervisor. next up will be a call to our legal team.
Matthew Heath I've been on the phone with a Cars.com rep this morning. They're are telling me that this rolled out over the summer and was "such a small part" of what they bring to the table that they didn't bother dealers with it. I was also told that for $300 a month I could purchase their secure credit application that would take it's place...
Chris Spensley I have this discussion in different ways with dealers every day- 3rd party leads being sourced through your dealership effort and then resold back to you. This is even worse and a real "hand in the cookie jar" moment!
Robert Stewart I just had a meeting with my staff and they found out this was going on two weeks ago they said a customer of ours was upset about it and complained. Our managers confronted cars.com and they said they are working on fixing the problem. Still not fixed.
James A. Ziegler Thanks, we'll get it fixed quicker I promise you
James A. Ziegler How many of you are getting phone calls and messages from Cars.com about this Facebook discussion????
James A. Ziegler Wonder if I'm still going to be invited to their party at the NADA Convention?
Robert Stewart You sure will get invited but when you arrive you will find out that you have been sent to the dealers united party.
James A. Ziegler Robert what is disconcerting to me is that, from what you told me three posts ago, they are aware of this happening and haven't fixed it... if they actually intend to fix it, or could it possibly be a play to force you to roadloans? I don't know but we're talking about an alleged technology company that can't fix their technology?
Robert Stewart They fixed the problem at one of our two locations. So the location that complained got the problem fixed and the other location the leads still goes to road loans.
James A. Ziegler My phones , emails, tweet messages and Private messages are on overload... this is going viral! Of course Robert, this leads one to ask how many of their customers don't know this is happening to them? (if it is that is) AND the larger question is, what makes us thinks it's accidental if they were able to turn off the complaining dealer? Does this mean they only stop when caught ? I'm asking the questions, I think every dealer should spot check your own Cars.com paid entries to see if you get rerouted by roadloans.
Brian Davis Folks - I'm a good friend of Matthew Heath and his former cars.com rep. I can assure you the social pitchfork riot that some folks are interested in starting will do nothing to help you sell more cars today. Our marketing, partnership, and solutions folks will be happy to address to the world with the reasoning and value behind what is being questioned here in terms of Roadloans and Cars.com. My colleague Alex Vetter might be able to help us get the info moving more quickly.
Thanks for your business and your patience everyone!
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