External form overwriting contact properties instead of creating new contact

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New Contributor

I'm evaluating Hubspot CRM and integration with WordPress contact forms under Elementor. From my initial look at Hubspot's functionality, I had thought that if a Contact were being added (like in an import) which shared an email address with an existing contact, the existing contact would be updated, but if a new email address were detected, a new contact would be created. 

So in testing a WordPress-based Hubspot-integrated form, I tried posting the form to add a new contact. It works fine the first time, but on each subsequent post from the same browser, instead of creating a new contact, it updates the same existing contact record, even if the email address and domains are totally different. There seems to be an assumption that if two posts come from the same browser, it must be the same person -- which may not be at all the case in the real world and certainly not in testing. Is there an option somewhere that would affect whether new records are created or an existing record always updated in this scenario? I understand that if I dump my browser cache it would probably work more as expected, but real users would not be able to do this. 

 

Thanks for any advice on this.

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HubSpot Employee

Hey @AndyHofer  👋🏻

 

You are right to say that in HubSpot, we deduplicate contacts by their email address. However, we also track visitors using browser cookies just like you deduced. In this case, let me present two scenarios:

 

Scenario 1 - Recognising users by their email address:

  • User A with email address abc@hubspot.com fills out a form on a Macbook at work and a contact record is created in HubSpot. 
  • A few hours later, User A fills out another form on his Windows laptop at home using the same email address abc@hubspot.com.
  • The system will identify the submissions using the email address and have both submissions housed under the same contact record. This means that on User A’s contact record in HubSpot, you will see both form submission activities.

Scenario 2 - Recognising users by browser cookies:

  • User B fills out a form using xyz@hubspot.com on her laptop and that creates a contact record.
  • A few moments later, User C uses the same laptop to fill out a form using 123@hubspot.com. 
  • As the form submissions occurred within the same browser, the initial contact record (User B), will be replaced with User C’s information as it’s deemed to be ‘updated information’ by the system. 

 

This is covered in our documentation on how we Track visitors in HubSpot:

  • Since cookies are unique to a browser, if two people share a single computer, their submissions will be associated with the same contact record. This deduplication by cookie ensures that if a contact submits forms on your website using different email addresses (i.e. work and personal email), all submissions are associated with a single contact record in HubSpot.

 

Solution for HubSpot Forms:

If you want each form submission from the same browser to create a new contact, enable the Always create new contact for new email setting in your form options. This can be useful in specific situations, such as collecting contact details at a trade show on a single device. For example:

 

Toggle under the Options tabToggle under the Options tab

 

Solution for Non-HubSpot Forms:

However, do note that the above functionality is only available for HubSpot forms and not for other submissions coming through from external forms like yours for example. 

 

At the moment, we do not currently have any way to block non-HubSpot forms from tracking cookies. The tool is intended to be a simple lead capture tool for websites and shouldn't typically have this issue if contacts were submitting the forms from different browsers.

 

That said, if you do not want the overwriting of information to happen because you wish to have multiple users submit the form in the same browser, I would advise that you have your Developer use our forms API instead as this would give you full control over what information is captured and sent to HubSpot along with what cookies are being sent. With the forms API, you can send form submissions to HubSpot without cookies.

 

Hope this helps you! 🙂

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New Contributor

Thanks very much for the quick reply, after a bunch of experimentation this morning, I successfully added a native Hubspot form with these settings to my Elementor page as a shortcode entry. I'm very new to both products, in spite of decades as a web developer. Very impressed with both products so far! 

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HubSpot Employee

Hey @AndyHofer  👋🏻

 

You are right to say that in HubSpot, we deduplicate contacts by their email address. However, we also track visitors using browser cookies just like you deduced. In this case, let me present two scenarios:

 

Scenario 1 - Recognising users by their email address:

  • User A with email address abc@hubspot.com fills out a form on a Macbook at work and a contact record is created in HubSpot. 
  • A few hours later, User A fills out another form on his Windows laptop at home using the same email address abc@hubspot.com.
  • The system will identify the submissions using the email address and have both submissions housed under the same contact record. This means that on User A’s contact record in HubSpot, you will see both form submission activities.

Scenario 2 - Recognising users by browser cookies:

  • User B fills out a form using xyz@hubspot.com on her laptop and that creates a contact record.
  • A few moments later, User C uses the same laptop to fill out a form using 123@hubspot.com. 
  • As the form submissions occurred within the same browser, the initial contact record (User B), will be replaced with User C’s information as it’s deemed to be ‘updated information’ by the system. 

 

This is covered in our documentation on how we Track visitors in HubSpot:

  • Since cookies are unique to a browser, if two people share a single computer, their submissions will be associated with the same contact record. This deduplication by cookie ensures that if a contact submits forms on your website using different email addresses (i.e. work and personal email), all submissions are associated with a single contact record in HubSpot.

 

Solution for HubSpot Forms:

If you want each form submission from the same browser to create a new contact, enable the Always create new contact for new email setting in your form options. This can be useful in specific situations, such as collecting contact details at a trade show on a single device. For example:

 

Toggle under the Options tabToggle under the Options tab

 

Solution for Non-HubSpot Forms:

However, do note that the above functionality is only available for HubSpot forms and not for other submissions coming through from external forms like yours for example. 

 

At the moment, we do not currently have any way to block non-HubSpot forms from tracking cookies. The tool is intended to be a simple lead capture tool for websites and shouldn't typically have this issue if contacts were submitting the forms from different browsers.

 

That said, if you do not want the overwriting of information to happen because you wish to have multiple users submit the form in the same browser, I would advise that you have your Developer use our forms API instead as this would give you full control over what information is captured and sent to HubSpot along with what cookies are being sent. With the forms API, you can send form submissions to HubSpot without cookies.

 

Hope this helps you! 🙂

Highlighted
New Contributor

Thanks very much for the quick reply, after a bunch of experimentation this morning, I successfully added a native Hubspot form with these settings to my Elementor page as a shortcode entry. I'm very new to both products, in spite of decades as a web developer. Very impressed with both products so far! 

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HubSpot Employee

You're most welcome @AndyHofer! I'm really glad to hear that you're happy with both products 🙂 All the best with this and feel free to reach out to us again anytime you need help ~

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