New Page Like Sources on Facebook: What Do They Mean?

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Facebook has changed the Like Sources in Insights, adding more sources and changing some of the names of existing sources. At first glance, this makes it more confusing, but I think it helps to have more insight into where exactly your likes are coming from.

Facebook like sources line graph

This is how Facebook Insights used to show your Like Sources. If you’ve got the new Insights, you might see something like this.

New Facebook Insights - Page Like Sources

And below is how Markitty shows Like Sources.

Facebook Like Sources Pie Chart

The Like Sources on Markitty come from Facebook’s API, and some of them are named differently than they are on your Facebook Insights page. For example, On Hover is Hovercard, Page Likes Another Page is Favorites, and On Photo is Photo Snowlift.

What do these sources mean? Here is a list of the sources I have been able to find.

  • On Page: People who liked your page from the page itself (this is Page Profile on the API and on Markitty)
  • Like Box and Like Button (or External Connect): People who liked your page from an external site using a Facebook social plugin
  • Friend Referrals (or Page Post Like Story): People who liked your page from a story they saw about a friend liking it
  • Page Browser: People who liked your page from the Page Browser
  • Timeline: People who liked your page from the Likes section of their own Timeline or someone else’s
  • Facebook Recommendations (or Recommended Pages): People who liked your page from a Recommended Pages unit on the right column of Facebook
  • Mobile: People who liked your page from a mobile device
  • Third-party Apps: People who liked your page through an app developed by a third party
  • On Hover (or Hovercard): People who hovered over a link that leads to your page, and then clicked on the Like button in the pop-up window
  • Search Results (or Search): People who liked your page from their search results
  • On Photo (or Photo Snowlift): People who clicked on the Like button on the flyout on a photo published by your page
  • Page Likes Another Page (or Favorites): Other pages that have liked your page
  • Ads and Sponsored Stories (or Ads): People who clicked “Like” in an Ad or Sponsored Story pointing to your page (not including people who clicked on the ad and came to your page and then liked your page)

If you are seeing more sources that I haven’t included here, let me know in the comments!

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  1. I am still trying to figure out what does on page really mean. That is the highest source of likes for my page which is going viral gaining 100 organic likes by the day. What does on page consist of. Meaning people liked the page straight after landing on the page or is it that they saw someone share it on timeline and then clicked on the page and liked it?

    • Hey Hal, thanks for commenting.

      “On page” means people who came to your page and then liked it, so it should cover both these cases. If they saw your page/post on their timeline and hovered over it to like it, that would be “on hover.”

  2. Hi,
    I reference the FB_Insight_Like_Source_List, but it seems like haven’t updated a period time…

    I catch some unknown Like_Source….
    the list :

    all_category_pyml
    invitations
    mobile_page_suggestions_on_liking
    page_invite
    page_permalink
    page_post_like_story
    photo_snowlift
    reminder_box_invite
    reminder_box_recommendation
    share_page_story
    timeline_collection

    and I don’t know what they mean….

    • Hey Timo,

      Thanks for commenting! page_post_like_story is the same as Friend Referrals above, and photo_snowlift the same as On Photo.

      “pyml” seems to be the Pages You May Like box that Facebook shows for pages similar to the one you just liked. “mobile_page_suggestions_on_liking” must be the same thing on mobile. “page_invite” must be the same as Admin Invite: that is, if you invite someone to like your page. How’s that different from “invitations?” That must be when a fan invites a friend to like your page.

      I’m guessing now, but “reminder_box_invite” and “reminder_box_recommendation” must be the boxes on the right that remind you of pages admins or fans have asked you to like.

      “share_page_story” must be when someone likes you from a post your fan has shared from your page.

      I really have no idea what “page_permalink” and “timeline_collection” refer to. Maybe permalink implies embedded posts or something? That’s just a wild guess though!

      Yes, Facebook hasn’t updated their list, unfortunately!

  3. Thanks, Unmana. This is one of the best writeups I’ve seen. It’s frustrating that Faceook hasn’t put out the definitions. Still looking for definitions on the remaining ones, like Timo above.

    • Thanks, Rachel! I know, it’s annoying that there’s no documentation on this. I searched for it myself and couldn’t find anything, so I put together what I knew. It’s more difficult now because the like sources you get by downloading your data from Facebook or by using an API is different from what shows up on the Insights, so it’s impossible to compare them.

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  5. Great post! I’m getting a lot of “local_pyml” likes recently. Facebook shows them as “uncategorized desktop”. Any idea about what does that mean? could it be browsers in stealth mode?

    • local_pyml is likes that occur when the user is viewing the “local” section of pages they may like aka pages that are geographically close to the user. For example if I live in Seattle and have liked animals it may show me the Seattle Humane Society’s page as a local page I might like.