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Setup Dealership Websites For Facebook Users To Auto-Populate Lead Forms

Create Auto-Populating Lead Forms That Use Customer Facebook Data

Many automotive marketers have been focused (rightfully so) on increasing their conversion rates and engagement with visitors to their dealership websites and micro sites... Among many tactics that can bump up the volume of opportunities to do business, and engage in a meaningful way with prospective customers is to create lead forms that allow any Facebook user (that would be 99% of all car buyers) to use their profile information from their Facebook user account to populate your online lead forms. What follows is a tutorial on the code which is needed, according to one programmer... Of course, there is always more than one way to accomplish these types of online integration for users, as long as they agree and give their permission, so this is just one example and there are most certainly other tactical implementations to accomplish the desired result... Making it easy for your customers to automatically populate your dealership's online lead forms with information and data they already have stored in their Facebook user profile.

This is a step-by-step tutorial for allowing your customers to easily pre-fill an inquiry or contact form on your website with their user's Facebook data such as email, name, address, phone, etc.

In order to get the user's Facebook data, the user has to be logged into your dealership's website with their Facebook account. This can be done in a very similar way that I have set up the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community, to allow members to use their Facebook credentials to log into the ADM site.


You need your Facebook app credentials (App ID and App Secret). If you don't have a Facebook app registered or you don't know what that means, go to (I assume you already have a Facebook account) and click on "Set Up New App" and follow the wizard.


I have personally created over 50 Facebook log in apps for various websites and networks and it is no more difficult than design a deal on a Reynolds ERA system... agh... actually, it requires about 20% of the same level of mental effort as using any DMS app!


Important: make sure you filled in the "Site URL" and "Site Domain" fields with your website information when you are using the Facebook app builder app... (that sounds weird). When you are done building the Facebook app that lets people log into your dealership website with their Facebook credentials, you will be provided with two rather long series of numbers and letters that Facebook calls:
  • App ID
  • App Secret

Shown below is a screenshot of the ADM Facebook App summary screen showing where the App ID and App Secret are... As well as the latest performance metrics as shown by Facebook. I have the App Secret blocked for obvious reasons.

Copy and paste your new Facebook App ID and App Secret numbers in a safe place, email them to yourself, whatever it takes to make them easy to copy onto your clipboard because you will need to use both of them in step 2. 


Facebook API Call to Get Customer Profile Data

We recommend using the Facebook PHP SDK (see on github) to deal with authentication and make API calls.

require "facebook.php"; $facebook = new Facebook(array( 'appId' => '...', 'secret' => '...', )); $user = $facebook->getUser(); if ($user) { try { $user_profile = $facebook->api('/me'); } catch (FacebookApiException $e) { $user = null; } }

Dealer Website Lead Form

<?php if ($user): ?> <form action="#" method="get"> <input type="text" name="name" value="<?php echo $user_profile['name'] ?>"> <input type="submit" value="Continue &rarr;"> </form> <a href="<?php echo $facebook->getLogoutUrl() ?>"> Logout of Facebook </a> <?php else: ?> <a href="<?php echo $facebook->getLoginUrl() ?>"> Login with Facebook </a> <?php endif ?>
If you, or your website developer does the job correctly and you are not trying to rip off Facebook User data, your app and website will be approved by Facebook...
Just like ADM and many thousands of other sites... Your Facebook App's "Status & Review" section will show you what data from customer profiles that Facebook has authorized your site to use... Here is a screen shot showing the ADM Professional Community Facebook App and our approval to not only access each member's Facebook data, email of record, public profile data, but also access the data showing which of their Friend's are also members of the ADM Professional Community as well:

Your Customers Have Already Told Facebook They Like The Convenience
Facebook has had such overwhelming positive response to outside websites making it easy for people to use their Facebook credentials to register, log in, complete forms and inquiries, etc. that they recently announced making it easier than ever to do what I have described in this post:

Go Make It Happen - Secure Your Competitive Advantage

When any dealership makes doing business with them more convenient than doing business with "Down The Road Motors", then that's a competitive advantage! So, it is time for ADM members to secure their dealership's competitive advantage using the strategy I have outlined.

Let me just sum it all up by saying that even if you don't want to take on the work of creating lead forms for your sites that allow your customers to quickly and CONVENIENTLY automatically fill in all the blanks using their Facebook profile information... Now, at least you know it can be done! And, why every automotive website supplier has not already incorporated this feature into their websites for car dealerships is beyond me. It is up to YOU!

Demand that your website and microsite suppliers incorporate this feature to make it easy for your customers to engage your dealership sales and service staff... I mean, isn't that what our car dealership website's primary purpose is... To make it easier for people to communicate with our team and spend money at our dealership? Git'er done, shawty!


Many thanks to Quentin Pleplé who wrote the code shown above and these instructions in his original post for Stackoverflow.

[Major revisions, illstrations and edits for this post by Ralph Paglia]
I would like to clarify that I am most certainly NOT equipped or trained in code writing or qualified to be a developer... However, I have worked with many different developers at a variety of auto industry software suppliers, so I have a rudimentary understanding of what it takes to build apps... The Facebook Developer Apps building tools seem very easy to work with for non-programmers like me. In fact, here is a screen shot showing a partial listing of multiple Facebook Apps I have created over the years using Facebook's Developer App creation tools:

Views: 1057

Tags: Convenience, Conversion Rate, Facebook, Internet Sales, Lead Form, Leads, Social Media, Traffic, Website Conversion


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Comment by Holly Kramer on May 6, 2014 at 6:50am

Ralph, Thank you for the great response and clarity. This should help the readers understand why and when to use this strategy.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 5, 2014 at 5:15pm

Holly, all we have to do is take a look at all the bogus phone numbers and temporary email addresses we currently receive within a far too high percentage of leads coming from all sources to realize that what you point out about people not putting their actual, or preferred data into online forms and profiles is true... Now, with that said, as I clearly stated in the post above, this tactic is ALL ABOUT MAKING IT MORE CONVENIENT FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS! When we make it more convenient for a customer to "raise their hand" by submitting an information request with one or two clicks, without being required to type in a bunch of personal data... (many bad emails and phone numbers are result of typos), it is more than a likelihood, it is a known fact that more people will choose to do so... Thereby increasing your website and microsite conversion rates (Visitors to Contact %). Now, just because this may work for many dealers doesn't mean anything at the individual store level. A tactic like this will have to be embraced and welcomed to be effective...

As for data matching, it is irrelevant because the data that most people put into their Facebook profiles is far more accurate as a whole than the data people type into lead forms that they know are going to a car dealer.... One more thing, we never addressed the issues around spam filters and the simple fact that more than half the email responses that dealers send out to customers as a result of traditional lead forms NEVER GET TO THE CUSTOMER'S INBOX! With the Facebook Login integration, the dealership is now authorized to send direct Facebook messages to the inquiring customer. Besides the fact that the dealer is responding to the customer in a manner the customer actually wants, the delivery rate for such messages is dramatically superior to conventional email being sent to a customer who has submitted a conventional lead form and whose ISP considers all email sent by your dealership to be unsolicited (incorrectly so).

The bottom line is that I sure hope that most dealers do NOT implement Facebook user profile data integration, so that the ADM Professional Community members who do will enjoy a competitive advantage. We all know, and most research and real-world results prove that making it more convenient to do business with our dealership than the competition does, results in more opportunities to do business.   

What does the dealer get? Among many other benefits, a direct means of electronic communication and messaging that is authorized by the customer and not subject to ISP level spam filters blocking the dealer's messaging.

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 5, 2014 at 8:12am

Agreed Holly, this is why the entire premise behind the cross-referencing efforts of Facebook's Power Editor come into question. If your data fails to match up with Facebook's data, what the heck good is that?

Comment by Holly Kramer on May 5, 2014 at 8:10am

Ralph, In my business, we find a lot of people not using, or making available, things like accurate phone numbers and primary email addresses as part of their Facebook profile. Though we understand getting lead information is not the sole purpose of this log-in mechanism, it might be good to explain clearly how dealerships are benefiting by encouraging the authentication using this method. Simplified... What do dealers get after this log-in occurs?

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 5, 2014 at 7:07am

Utilizing 3rd party social platform APIs (Facebook, Twitter and the ever growing Tumblr), for user authentication reasons, is all the rage, these days. I would say, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Yes, it does give you the ability to rely on their authentication system and dB, but at the same time, they are in control of your user data and that can be a scary thought as even FB gets hacked. 

Unless you are referring to creating forms on Facebook for dealers, which is a technique we've been utilizing for some time. 

You can do anything with data, just depends on what you're attempting to accomplish. I could see dirty techniques being had. Exporting FB contacts into forms or dB and that being pawned off as potential leads to dealers, etc.

Comment by Justin Grubb on May 4, 2014 at 10:23am

Thanks Ralph!  I'm going to try and get a working model of it on my site this week. 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 4, 2014 at 8:51am

Justin Grubb, I believe the Facebook App Developer section you are looking for are in the "Settings" section and "Basic" tab... illustrated in this screen capture:

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 4, 2014 at 8:34am

I do not know of any third party dealership website suppliers using Facebook data to populate lead forms, which is why I wrote the article... This site uses the practice, uses the Facebook app for enrolling and data collection, and here is something we are doing in Albuquerque to get customer referrals:

Check out Melloy Nissan's Facebook based referral system.

Make Money When Your Friends Buy A Car From Melloy Nissan
Easypromos Premium
Do you have a friend or family member interested in buying a car?
Comment by Justin Grubb on May 3, 2014 at 7:28pm

Ralph, I love this idea!  However, and i'm new to doing any Facebook apps, when I go to create new app, I never see any place for "Site URL" and "Site Domain".  It does ask for the canvas URL, but i havent got one of those yet.   I'm afraid I may need some more specific instructions. Do you happen to know where I may find them, or better yet, a dealership or two using this to populate lead forms on their websites so that I may see an example?


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