Facebook Testing Subscribe Feature For Pages

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook users can currently subscribe to other users, as a way to read status updates but not enter into an invasive Facebook connection (Mark Zuckerberg has this setup). Now, Facebook is testing the subscribe feature for pages. But what would that do to likes?

Marketing Land received a tip from a fan that the website’s Facebook page featured a subscribe button:

A writer for the website reached out to Facebook to see if this is something the company is rolling out permanently, or just testing. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that page subscriptions are being tested with select accounts. Marketing Land noted that if this does go live for all pages, tracking subscriptions and likes could be a bit confusing.

Here’s the Facebook spokesperson’s comment to Marketing Land:

We are currently testing the ability to subscribe to pages with a small group. This feature allows people to receive updates from pages without liking the page. We have no further details to share at this time.

As the spokesperson noted, this allows users to keep tabs on a page without publicly announcing that they like the cause. This could help businesses track their competitors a little more discreetly, as they can receive updates to see what they’re doing without showing that they like the page. It could also be a privacy aid for users who want to be updated by certain companies or causes without making it known on their friends’ news feeds.

However, this could hurt businesses that rely on the number of likes for their Facebook marketing plans. It could also put a dent in ad targeting, as people who subscribe wouldn’t be counted in likes.

The test period for Marketing Land’s page is apparently done, as the page currently has no subscribe button.

Readers: If Facebook rolls this feature out for all pages, will this have a positive or negative effect?