The Power Of Single-Market Media Buying

By Mike Minardi, Vice President, New York Interconnect

The chaos of the past year and a half has shifted a great deal of focus away from the national to the local market. These days, given the deafening noise happening at the national level in any given industry, many advertisers are finding their best opportunities to break through with their audiences happening at the local level.

Given the vast differences among local markets, savvy brands recognize the need to use the latest available qualitative and quantitative market data and research to tailor their campaigns to a particular market. At the same time, the unique assets of the local market have never been more indispensable. The total market for local advertising revenue in the U.S. will see a significant increase to $137.5 billion in 2021, according to BIA Advisory Services’ latest U.S. Local Advertising Forecast. Of that tally across all media, the BIA projects local TV will account for 11.4 percent of the business, with linear media revenue comprising 55.3 percent of all local advertising and digital capturing 44.7 percent of the U.S. total.

Advertising in a single market provides an opportunity to connect with targeted, desirable consumer segments while simultaneously growing your business across the country. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s critical to think nationally but buy locally.


The majority of targeting on a national basis is likely to remain modeled or aggregated in some fashion. Local campaigns that offer IP targeting and 1:1 data down to the household level, in contrast, are customized and are best positioned to result in a specific consumer action. For advertisers that are looking to glean data and intel before launching a national rollout, starting with a targeted single-market campaign can also shed critical light and provide direction.

Audiences-Based Buying

Driven by census-level, first-party data, audience-based buying within a local market has the ability to get more granular and finite than a national solution, since it has the ability to reach down to the household level. It’s about finding out what content viewers are really watching and when they’re watching it, and then targeting them around the most relevant programming, in the dayparts that matter to them.

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Testing and Reporting

By focusing on a single DMA, advertisers can use targeted data as they engage in media planning on the front end, to determine the best ways to saturate the market. Critical learnings from testing will help steer a campaign’s direction as it gets “smarter,” and continually narrows its focus on the most actionable audience. A single-market focus also enables marketers to succinctly scrutinize their ROI. Ad platforms reporting on a regional buy can, with greater efficiency, use matchbacks to prove that an intended target audience was, in fact, reached.

Local Inventory

Messaging in the right local market can get your brand in front of important audiences you’d completely overlook with a national spend. For another, big-ticket live programming events such as sports and entertainment shows tend to sell out quickly on a national basis. Local spots in top markets allow brands to get inventory in those same programs.

Sports are among the best gateways for brands to incorporate ads in a local market. Certain sports—baseball, basketball and football among them—have a decidedly more regional fan base. Those sports, and teams, consistently draw higher ratings in select markets.

Similarly, local news is highly valued and trusted in the communities it serves, and loyal viewers are tuning in daily. Where national news coverage can come across as remote and repetitive, local news has a more intimate, more immediate relationship with consumers. Additionally, the majority of local news viewership occurs in the linear television realm, which, despite all the talk of digital and KPIs, remains paramount in a brand’s ability to confirm you’re reaching your desired audience.

Messaging and Creative

Local marketing humanizes your brand and plants it in the front yard of your desired audience. Well-engineered local creative can foster a deep connection with consumers by making a strong, emotionally connected statement. From a practical perspective, homing in on a single market eases the issue of juggling a large volume of ads with different copy and executions. That said, the savviest brands speak to local populations with any number of relevant messaging cues, from distinct accents to specific scenery to unique landmarks and personalities that can resonate well beyond a 30-second spot and lock in a unique voice that cements brand recognition and loyalty.


When it comes to return on investment, local markets are grabbing headlines like never before as the country’s economy begins to recover. The average 30-second television ad costs $115,000 on a national network, according to the organization Fit Small Business. On the contrary, local spots running in the same programming are often less expensive, and at the same time are capable of generating strong brand retention with specific audiences. In the local market, a brand’s message, with targeted relevancy, resonates with consumers who are more likely to take an immediate action.


Addressable advertising, the ability to show different ads to different households while they’re watching the same program, is a game changer. However, national addressable doesn’t necessarily provide specific geo-location data reporting for a campaign, so advertisers don’t always know where their spots have run—an ad could have aired in a rural market as easily as in a major metropolitan DMA when your net is cast across the whole country. When brands consolidate addressable ads in a single market, they’re better able to target, and glean more specific data and reporting.

There are numerous reasons national media buyers, both traditional marketers and digital marketers new to the television landscape, should be investing in single markets. If you’re buying nationally, you’re no doubt missing out on key audiences and efficiencies that can only be found in local markets. What’s more, single-market buying offers greater targeting capabilities, quality inventory and actionable reporting—all with a proven ROI that leaves no question as to the effectiveness of every dollar spent within a local market.

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