Media Planning & Buying Opinions

The DMA (Designated Market Area) and Local Targeting

Posted by Leslie Van Zee on September 27th, 2012 at 9:45 am

A Designated Market Area, or DMA is a term used to describe a particular geographic area comprised of counties in which the amount of hours of television viewed by the inhabitants of that area is to television stations located in that same area. There are a total of 210 DMAs in the United States, none of which overlap with each other. Each county is associated with only one DMA. DMA's are usually used by national marketers to plan campaigns, allowing them to buy appropriate and successful media coverage nationwide. For local businesses, however, a DMA may be too wide an area to be useful.

In order to understand the use of DMA’s in media planning, it is advisable to understand how they are constructed and to appreciate what sort of size they are. There are 210 DMA's in the U.S., compared with more than 30,000 zip codes. Each zip code contains on average just under 10,000 people, but a DMA's average population is closer to 1.5 million, making a DMA about 150 times bigger than the average zip code. If you are looking to select people living in a distinct local area then a zip code will be more useful and better at targeting these specific consumers. For even more select targeting, you can opt to use a zip+4 code which targets an area even more specifically, right down to a select group of buildings or even to an individual who regularly receives lots of mail.

For those who are familiar with direct mail marketing, consider that the online marketing equivalent of zip+4 codes is called geo-targeting, which is used to deliver online display ads to customers within a specific local area. Using geo-targeting alongside information on demographics means you are more likely to get your campaign to the ideal people, and is of great value to smaller and medium sized companies who don't have the large marketing budgets of their bigger competitors.

Every business has differing and individual requirements and target consumers. Vantage Local specializes in creating custom marketing campaigns for our clients that use geo-targeting to make the most of your advertising budget. Call us today to speak to a member of our team about how to increase your customer base.

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