Over the years we’ve worked with many a client looking to enter a new market. Whether it’s a mortgage broker looking to expand, a franchise opening a new location, or new business ready to open its doors, there’s often a lot of uncertainty and doubt about what marketing strategy makes the most sense. Often times, entering a new market with the same strategy as a market in which the client has a long-standing reputation turns out to be a dud. But why?

Do individuals in Edmonton use Google Search and maps the same way as ones in Calgary? Does an individual in Bogota, Columbia still search the same way as someone in Lethbridge, Canada? What about Europeans vs. North Americans? How about 1st countries versus 3rd world? Does walkability versus car-centric cities have an impact on how people use GPS? In this post we explore some interesting studies about the impacts of city planning and geography on human behaviour in relation to search usage.


The internet has transformed the way we live our lives and access information. However, the way we use the internet differs across countries, particularly between European countries and North American countries.

One of the most significant differences in online search behaviour between European countries and North American countries is language. In Europe, there are many different languages spoken across the continent, and people are more likely to search for content in their native language. As a result, businesses targeting customers in Europe need to consider localizing their online content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to reach their target audience effectively.

In contrast, North America is primarily English-speaking, and businesses targeting customers in this region can focus on creating content in English to reach their target audience effectively.

Another significant difference in online search behaviour is the use of mobile devices versus desktop computers between European countries and North American countries. In Europe, people are more likely to use mobile devices, particularly smartphones, to access the internet. In contrast, people in North American countries tend to use both desktop and mobile devices equally to access the internet.

As a result, businesses targeting customers in Europe need to ensure that their online content is optimized for mobile devices to provide a seamless user experience.

Finally, there is a significant difference in the use of social media between European countries and North American countries. In Europe, social media is less dominant, and people are more likely to use search engines like Google & Bing to find information and content. In contrast, social media is more pervasive in North American countries, with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram being popular for entertainment, news, and information. this ultimately means, advertising on social media must be a consideration for individuals looking to advertise in North America.


1st World vs. 3rd World

The first and most significant difference between 1st world and 3rd world countries is access to technology. 1st world countries typically have better access to technology, including high-speed internet, smartphones, and computers, compared to 3rd world countries. As a result, people in 1st world countries are more likely to use the internet for a wide range of activities, including online shopping, social media, and entertainment.

The search intent of users in 1st world and 3rd world countries also differs. People in 1st world countries are more likely to use the internet for research, education, and entertainment. They are also more likely to use the internet to find products and services, read reviews, and make online purchases.

In contrast, people in 3rd world countries may use the internet for basic research and education, such as finding information on health, education, news, current events and employment. They are much less likely to purchase online. Furthermore, North American countries with their higher disposable incomes sets up an advertising environment where advertising can be profitable for many businesses.


City Planning

Interestingly, when it comes down to the city design level, there is also unique behavioural trends that begin to take shape.  For example, walkability and local search: a recent study by the Urban Land Institute found that cities with high levels of walkability tended to have a stronger connection between online and offline shopping behaviour. This means that people who live in walkable cities are more likely to use local search tools to find nearby businesses, which can lead to increased sales for businesses, and increased engagement with digital ads by users.

To further this point, density also plays a factor.  A study by the MIT Senseable City Lab found that the density of a city can impact the effectiveness of mobile advertising. In denser cities, people tend to spend more time outside and are more likely to use their mobile devices for location-based services, which can increase the effectiveness of targeted mobile ads. This is where targeted search ads towards ‘near me’ services make sense, or geofenced campaigns to people nearby your location. Transit access has also been shown to impact the range of what people are comfortable with travelling to visit a local store or business. So city’s with higher quality transportation networks that improved accessibility for everyone tends to create an environment for better ROI on digital advertising.

Lastly, a study by the University of California, Los Angeles found that social media advertising can be more effective in neighbourhoods with higher levels of socioeconomic diversity. This suggests that understanding the demographic characteristics of different neighbourhoods can help to target digital ads more effectively, and understanding this statistics can allow advertisers to be more strategic with their ad dollars.


With all this said, this ultimately doesn’t need to be the reason why certain markets are more effective than others. There are countless factors depending on the industry and what you’re advertising that could affect the results of your campaigns. Longevity in a market, economics within the new market itself, competitors at play, brand recognition and more can all work for or against you in a new market. Understanding these nuances however is the first step to building a successful marketing strategy in a new market.

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Strong Coffee Team

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