Media planning basics: DMA vs. MSA

Media planners and marketers should understand the difference between DMAs and MSAs to most effectively incorporate these definitions into local broadcast campaigns and optimization strategies. Keep reading to find out more.

Designated Market Area or a DMA is a geographic area that represents specific television markets as defined by and updated annually by the Nielsen Company. According to Nielsen, “a DMA region is a group of counties that form an exclusive geographic area in which the home market television stations hold a dominance of total hours viewed.” Broadcast media planners often use traffic metrics from a certain DMA to determine how well a campaign performs.

Arbitron Metro Survey Areas or MSAs correspond to the federal government's Metropolitan Areas. They are geographical regions with high population densities at their center and close economic ties throughout an area. MSAs are used by radio media planners and buyers because each area usually includes the cities for the majority of the local radio stations and the counties where these cities are located. Click here to see Metro Data Maps.

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