Developing an effective public relations campaign depends on reaching your client’s target audience effectively and affordably. Before you plan a campaign, learn how to understand and utilize the Nielsen DMA rankings.
What are the Nielsen DMA rankings?
A DMA is a “Designated Market Area” — each DMA is a geographical area where Nielsen measures media consumption, ranked by local television homes. A DMA not only includes the urban center and suburbs, but it also includes the surrounding counties (aka trade area) where small towns and rural homes receive the same television signals. There are 210 DMAs in the United States. New York City is the largest DMA, and Glendive, MT is the smallest DMA.
Nielsen uses proprietary electronic measuring devices that measure what programs, networks, and stations family members watch on every TV and digital device in their home. Radio listening is also measured via similar devices and through diary entries. The company selects people and families and invites them to participate. The Nielsen panel members and “families” represent a cross-section of each market’s demographics, including ages, races, ethnicities, and behaviors.
Nielsen’s selection process includes:
- A county within the DMA
- A group of block areas within that county
- Homes within the block/geographical area
Nielsen’s equipment detects audio codes to record the content that reaches each TV and device in the home. Depending on the market, Nielsen measures live content and on-demand, DVR, and streaming services. Their customized, exclusive software utilizes statistics and science to generate ratings.
These market-level viewing preferences allow PR firms and advertising agencies to make informed marketing decisions.
Do you want to more accurately target regional campaigns across multiple markets?
Updated 2021 Nielsen DMA Rankings Reflect the Effects of COVID-19
COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic have impacted every business throughout the United States and the world. From the early lock-downs in the spring to record-high COVID cases just before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, viewing and listening habits changed — family-by-family and market-by-market.
COVID-19 increased media consumption for several reasons — 1) people wanted news about COVID, 2) viewers and listeners wanted to know specifics about COVID outbreaks within their community, and 3) people were hungry for entertainment while self-isolating.
But one fact remains clear, the number of TV households increased regardless of the market.
According to the Nielsen DMA Ranks 2021, the Top Five markets remained unchanged.
- New York
- Los Angeles
- Dallas-Ft. Worth
But there was movement--up and down movement among the Top 10 in the Nielsen DMA rankings:
- Atlanta moved up 3 notches, from #10 to #7
- Washington, DC declined by 2 notches, from #7 to #9
- Boston also declined, from #9 to #10
San Francisco-Oak-San Jose remained #6, and Houston remained #8.
How do the Nielsen DMA rankings help PR firms?
A crucial goal for every public relations firm is to ensure that clients’ messaging reaches the maximum targeted audience and is cost-efficient. Broadcast is a critical part of every PR firm’s arsenal of media options. The Nielsen DMA rankings report is the “holy grail” for public relations professionals.
Broadcast, both television and radio, remains a cornerstone of most marketing campaigns. Nielsen provides accurate, reliable audience measurements in all 210 demographic market areas in the United States. The Nielsen DMA rankings provide targeting and distribution guidance. Whether you are planning paid or earned media, the Nielsen rankings offer information to ensure that your client’s message reaches the intended audience.
When you have a national communications campaign targeted across multiple markets, the importance of understanding the depth of information contained in the Nielsen DMA Rankings 2021 may be crucial for your campaign’s success. Sometimes, a DMA is composed of several cities, such as Minneapolis-St. Paul or Albuquerque-Santa Fe. Nielsen’s DMA integrates residents’ listening and viewing preferences into a specific, defined region (DMA).
As digital and streaming devices increase, it’s critical to consider and include newer listeners who access a New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago station from a distant location. An understanding of a DMA’s demographics strengthens your outreach, helping ensure high-quality, targeted leads.
Why work with MediaTracks?
MediaTracks has provided services to public relations firms since 1989. We help public relations specialists, like you, utilize Nielsen’s DMA rankings to assure that your message hits the mark for your clients.
Call us today at 847-299-9500 or email us at [email protected] to learn more about utilizing the Nielsen DMA Rankings in 2021.
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