Facebook Testing 'Subscribe' Button for Business Pages

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Back in September 2011, we reported on Facebook's launch of the 'Subscribe' button for personal profiles. By adding this new button to your Facebook profile, you could allow anyone to subscribe to your own public Facebook updates, whether you're friends with them or not. And if someone else added this button to their profile, you could subscribe to them, receiving their updates directly in your news feed. While this was great for following updates from celebrities and other public figures, many of you were left wondering, "When is Facebook going to add this functionality to business pages?" Well, soon ... or so it seems.

Yesterday, Marketing Land reported -- and Facebook confirmed -- that Facebook is now testing the 'Subscribe' button on business pages. The button was spotted by a Marketing Land Facebook fan on its very own page, pictured below.

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Hey Facebook ... What's the Use Case?

When people first started asking when we'd start to see this button on Facebook business pages, the concept seemed pretty moot to me. After all, people can already subscribe to business pages, right? All they have to do is click 'Like.' So isn't a 'Subscribe' button a little bit redundant? Facebook is even testing the button right smack next to the 'Like' button. So Facebook -- what's the use case?

According to a Facebook spokesperson, this is ...

“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.”

So basically, it seems like the 'Subscribe' button for pages will give Facebook users the option of receiving updates from pages in their news feeds without having to admit they like them. I guess this feature would mean you'd no longer get a pang of guilt about "liking" your competitors' pages just so you could more easily stalk them. Remember, you can see the pages your friends "like" via their profiles. And since the 'Subscribe' button was launched for profiles in September, you can also see who they subscribe to. We would assume that if Facebook launches the button for pages, those pages a user subscribed to would show up in that section of their profile.

Will There Be More to It?

Only time will tell. As Marketing Land speculates, there could be potentially negative implications for ad targeting on Facebook, especially if subscribers are treated differently than page Likes. In addition, it's unclear how subscribers would be reflected in Facebook Insights. Will a new 'Subscriber' metric be added to the 'Likes' and 'People Talking About This' metrics that already live on your Facebook page, or will 'Likes' and 'Subscribers' be rolled up into one general 'Total Subscribers' metric? If the former is true, having a subscriber-heavy Likes:Subscribers ratio might not necessarily be something a marketer would want advertised at the top of their business' Facebook page.

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Of course, you can count on us to report the latest developments from Facebook about the subscriber button and the changes it brings. For now, the button is only available to a small test group.

Do you think there any marketing implications of the 'Subscribe' button for Facebook business pages? if so, what?

Image Credit: birgerking

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