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Marketing Databases


Using Nielsen SMS

Nielsen Segmentation & Market Solutions provides current estimates of consumer-oriented information at a National, State, Metropolitan County, or custom level that can be laid out into Excel spreadsheets, maps or charts. The database helps you know who your best customers are, what they like, where they live, and how to connect with them best. Data comes from Nielsen consumer profiles and is updated twice a year.

Nielsen SMS has two different types of reports: Pop Facts and Segmentation.

Pop Facts Reports: population (aka demographic) reports; uses proprietary Nielsen methodologies combined with census data to accurately estimate demographic counts at smaller geographic areas. Good for getting an overview of who lives in a designated area based on characteristics like age, race, gender, and income.

  • Pop-Facts Demographics: age, race, household size, income, ethnicity, occupation and more. Select any combination of Snapshot totals, Census Overview data, or specific Quick Facts to view the data in different formats.
  • Pop-Facts Demographics by Age Race Sex: summary and/or detail counts for each race and age group. The Detail section breaks down the race and age counts for males, for females and for both. 
  • Senior Life report: compare information on the senior population (45 years and older) by sex, race, income, housing and other variables. Details for the last census, estimated current year and projected five-year counts are provided.
  • Pop-Facts Demographics Trends: summary and/or detail information for the last census, estimated current year and projected five-year counts. You can select options to include different groups of demographic variables, including age/sex/race and household information.
  • Pop-Facts Executive Overview: demographic summary information in narrative format for use in executive reports and presentations. Overviews are provided for population, household, income, labor, education and housing information.
  • Pop-Facts Household Income by Age of Householder: compare information on household income by household age range (15-24, 25-34, etc.). Details for the last census, estimated current year and projected five-year counts are provided. 
  • Effective Buying Income report: view current-year estimates and five-year projections of estimated households by Effective Buying Income (EBI) for 12 income ranges. Details for average and median buying income data, population, households, housing units, median age and median household income are provided.

Segmentation Reports: lifestyle or psychographic reports that address consumer attitudes and consumption. 

  • Consumer Concentration Report: Where are the customers?
    The Consumer Concentration Report shows details about demographics, consumer demand and customer data for any  elected analysis area(s).
  • Market Potential Report: Where are the targets?
    Compares current consumption pattern for one or more product profiles in an analysis area. It calculates a Market Potential Index to help determine the potential for introducing new products and services, or for developing strategies for cross-selling products and services based on current consumption trends
  • Profile Ranking Index Report: Where are the customers?
    The Profile Ranking Index Report compares one or more profiles with a selected collection of other profiles (product usage, media preference or demographic traits).
  • Profile Worksheet: Who are the customers?
    Shows usage information, by segment, for products and services (product profiles). The report can be viewed in standard Table View and in Title View.
  • Segment Distribution Report: Where are the customers?
    Shows the geographic distribution of each segment in a selected segmentation system. Use it to view and compare segment counts for any selected analysis area. The report calculates percentage compositions, penetration compositions and indexes for each analysis area, using the base you select.
  • Target Concentration Report: Identifying Your Target
    Shows how many target users are located in an analysis area. It can be viewed in standard table format and as an interactive map.
  • Target Segment Measures Report: Where are the targets?
    Displays detailed profile data on demographics, media preferences and lifestyle characteristics for a selected target and/or its segments.

From Nielsen SMS Reports at a Glance

Interpreting Nielsen SMS Reports

Each report type will have different data included. Definitions of the terms used in the reports are available in the Calculations Guide along with info on how the numbers in each report are calculated.

Here is an example annotated Target Segment Measures report showing how likely someone is to vote in a Presidential election based on the amount of education they've received.

Nielsen SMS annotated report


Tips and Best Practices

Nielsen SMS's Frequently Asked Questions document has some tips and best practices for using Nielsen SMS. Here are a few:

How many segments should I pick for a campaign?

  • It depends on the client and consumer behavior.  Our recommendation is to focus on 15‐20 segments.
  • Ideally, we recommend clients aim for over‐indexing segments with a score of 120 or higher. This creates clear separation from the general population.  The higher the index, the more likely that segment is to engage in the behavior.


What is an index? How do I interpret?

  • An Index is a basic statistical tool designed to show the proportional differences between two groups.  In the case of PRIZM, the index shows the difference or propensity to participate in a lifestyle, demographic characteristic, or to use or buy a product compared to an average of 100. For example, an index of 120 would imply that a segment is 20% more likely to participate in a certain behavior. For an index of 200, we would say the segment is twice as likely to participate in a behavior. The index is calculated by dividing the percent penetration for the behavior by the percent penetration for the base and multiplying by 100.

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