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What’s The Difference? Facebook Like vs. Subscribe for Business Pages

  • January 30th, 2013 at 6:24 pm
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  • Sebastian Agosta
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  • No Comments

Facebook recently started rolling out and testing a “Subscribe” button on its business pages. The addition started appearing for some users about a 6 months ago and has slowly been appearing and disappearing for the rest of the Facebook community ever since. The button appears directly next to the “Like” button on business pages, which has a lot of people wondering: what’s the difference between Liking a page and Subscribing to a page.

I did a little research on this by taking a look at a page I’ve already Liked (Douglas Marketing Group) and a page I recently subscribed to (The Windsor Star).

When I clicked the Subscribe button on The Windsor Star’s Facebook page, I noticed a menu appear below the button. Comparing this to the menu below the Like button on DMG’s page, I only noticed one difference. The Like button offered the option to un-check “Show in News Feed” which would mean I can Like a page without having to see its updates in my News Feed on a regular basis. This option was not available for the Subscribe button.

One thing worth mentioning here is that Subscribing to a page did not increase the number of Likes for that page. So far, other than the menu options, these were the only two differences between the two.

I then checked out my own personal profile page to see if anything had changed there. One thought between many people in the online marketing realm was that if you Subscribed to a page rather than Liking it, it would be hidden from the Friends in your personal profile. I quickly found this wasn’t the case. Not only did an Activity box appear on my Timeline page, but the Subscription also appeared in both the News Feed and Activity Feed of my Friends pages.

Just a couple things to note here; this is exactly what would happen if I had Liked the page and as you can see there is also the option for my friends to Subscribe to Page as well as Like Page.

So again, no difference between the Like and Subscribe button from a News Feed or Friends stand point.

I decided I would do one last test before I wrote the differences, or lack thereof, between the two buttons. I thought to myself “Maybe the real difference is when the page I’ve Subscribed to posts something. Maybe a Subscribed page only shows up in my Activity Feed while a Liked page shows up in both the Activity and News Feed.” I waited a couple of hours for The Windsor Star to update their Facebook business page and I had my answer. Wrong again. The post by the Windsor Star showed up in both my Activity and News Feed. I realized I had my answer.

As far as I can tell, there are only two (rather inconsequential) differences for the end user between the Like button and the Subscribe button on Facebook business pages;

  1. Subscribing to a page does not increase the number of Likes on a page.
  2. Liking a page gives you the option the “Show in News Feed” while the Subscribing to a page does not.

I find it odd that Facebook would begin implementing a Subscribe button for these two features alone. Do they have bigger plans for the Subscribe button in the near future? Is this just another way for people to connect to pages? Could the true difference between the two lie on the business Page Administrator end? I’ve recently read that Facebook is working on a Page Admin feature which would allow Admins to segment who specific posts are shown to. Admins would be able to send out posts by age, gender, interests etc. Perhaps in the end, that will be the true defining factor between the two.

What do you think? Sound off in the comment section below and Bookmark this post because as Facebook updates, I will too!


Sebastian Agosta

About Sebastian Agosta

Sebastian is our Online Marketing Director and an integral part to our online team. He is a skilled web programmer with 8 years of experience in web development, online marketing & search engine optimization.

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