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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

10 million Canadians use Facebook on mobile every day, some 20+ times a day

TORONTO - Canada was one of the first countries to go completely crazy for Facebook and now the social network is saying we're leading the charge with mobile usage, too.

There are 19 million Canadians who access Facebook at least once a month and 14 million who log in every single day, says Jordan Banks, the head of Facebook Canada.

Those numbers haven't really changed since the summer, when Banks last gave an update on user counts, but mobile is growing.

The number of users who log in with a phone or tablet at least once a month is now at 15 million, up about 15 per cent from 13 million.

And the number of mobile users accessing Facebook daily is up about six per cent to 10 million, from 9.4 million in August.

"Essentially we're getting 50 per cent of Canadian (Internet users) on Facebook every day and the exciting part for us as marketers is that when you look at the composition of how those people are accessing Facebook, it's more increasingly on a mobile device than ever before," says Banks.

"There's incredible mobile adoption and incredible mobile engagement ... and that type of aggressive mobile adoption — which puts us as a world leader — is absolutely fantastic."

There's a reason Banks is excited about Canadians' increasing use of apps.

Facebook reported that in the fourth quarter of last year, mobile ads generated 53 per cent of its revenues. It also marked the first quarter that it saw mobile revenues cross US$1 billion.

"We're now making more money on mobile devices than we are on PCs and this mobile revolution is really taking hold in no other country as aggressively as it is in Canada," Banks says, noting that growing smartphone ownership has made Facebook all the more addictive.

"You look at Internet usage in Canada, one out of every five minutes is spent on Facebook (according to measurement firm comScore) and predominantly on the Facebook app.

"We're seeing people check their phones 20 times a day for Facebook — status updates and news feed posts and checking in — so it's really become like a Canadian reflex, if you will, to access your phone, whether you're at a bus stop or a hockey game or sitting at home watching TV."

While many users continue to complain about seeing ads in their news feed, Banks says the ratio of placing one advertisement among every 20 posts isn't hurting engagement numbers.

And that's because Facebook's algorithms are doing a good job of finding relevant matches for advertisers and users, he says.

"Lots of times you'll talk to people and they'll say, 'I don't even see ads, where are your ads?' and that to us is the greatest compliment because ultimately what we're trying to do with ads is make them not loud and obnoxious and intrusive," he says.

"We have a really good sense of how people generally want to interact with the ads and the frequency they're willing to accept and (one in 20 posts) has been universally accepted as being a good ratio."

Facebook says about 70 per cent of its North American users who log in monthly have willingly connected with a local business. And Banks says most Canadian businesses are now using Facebook for marketing.

"There aren't many businesses in Canada that aren't using Facebook as either a primary or secondary marketing platform ... and we're seeing a growing number of Canadian brands waking up and looking at it and taking advantage of these creative commercial opportunities."

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