How Entrepreneur Media drove 1,094% ROI in two months by unlocking its first-party data

The company

For 42 years, Entrepreneur Media Inc. has been serving the entrepreneurial community by providing comprehensive insights on business and personal success through original content, products, and experiences.,, corresponding print publications and publishing imprint Entrepreneur Press provide solutions, information, inspiration and education read by millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. The publisher helps advertisers reach this valuable audience with a breadth of offerings ranging from contextual targeting to custom sections, content, and more.

The challenge

Entrepreneur was successfully winning RFPs based on the value of its audience and strong offerings for advertisers. However, it couldn’t see or activate its audience for its own advertising and promotions, or to provide audience-targeted media packages for advertisers – and this created a roadblock to valuable revenue opportunities.

This was because Entrepreneur’s Data Management Platform (DMP) couldn’t deliver scale reflective of the publisher’s user numbers; the proportion it could reach with ad campaigns was as low as 20% of the projection. There were two main reasons for this.

Firstly, the team’s DMP couldn’t keep up with today’s browsing behaviors. It processed audience segments in nightly batches and couldn’t target users in real time – leaving the publisher unable to target the ~60% of its audience who visited very briefly, or infrequently. These ‘passerby’ users would also get added to segments after they had left the website, leading to outdated segments. Secondly, Entrepreneur’s DMP couldn’t target effectively on browsers that block third-party cookies, like Safari and Firefox, leading to an additional loss of up to 29% of their audience.

As well as wanting to increase targetable inventory, the team at Entrepreneur wanted to be innovative with data but were restricted by the limitations of their existing system.

When Entrepreneur then heard about Permutive’s edge-based DMP,  the publisher began to completely re-evaluate its needs.

The solution

          “We decided to switch to Permutive while our other contract was still going. The numbers just made sense.” – Michael Frazier, Director of Ad Ops, Entrepreneur Media

Scale increase

As well as demonstrating the platform’s speed and ease of use, the test confirmed for Entrepreneur that Permutive was able to target its full audience – something the publisher had never been able to do before. Permutive allows for segmentation and targeting in milliseconds, providing access to the ‘passerby’ audience Entrepreneur previously couldn’t capture – and the publisher DMP’s lack of reliance on 3rd party cookies provided better visibility of users browsing on Safari and Firefox.
          “We ran a test and let the numbers do the talking – and that really proved that Permutive can target significantly more people, especially on that first page view.”– Michael Frazier
The audience scale increase was so significant that Entrepreneur decided to deploy Permutive before their existing DMP contract had come to an end. This also made the change smoother while giving extra reassurance that ongoing campaigns would be unaffected during switchover.

First-party data

Entrepreneur found that Permutive provided access to a wealth of new valuable first-party data they hadn’t been expecting. The publisher was able to build its own industry-focused first-party data segments based on real indicators such as behavioral tendencies, removing its reliance on third-party data.
          “Permutive has helped us build first-party segments that we just didn’t have with our old DMP, so we’re no longer reliant on third-party data all the time.” – Michael Frazier

RFP wins

Entrepreneur found that Permutive’s improvement of data flow armed its sales teams with the ability to propose differentiating and rich first-party data solutions for their customers, and close deals that they otherwise wouldn’t have won.

Entrepreneur saw strong performance in core audience segments such as business owners, C-level leaders and decision-makers, all levels of company sizes, affluent income levels and age groups, as well as areas of interest such as travel, luxury goods, auto and more. The publisher has had success in leveraging a tailored mix of these segments to provide the highly customized targets its advertising partners are seeking.

User understanding

As Permutive stores first-party data on a per-user basis, Entrepreneur can apply a granular understanding of their audience for its own advertising, products, and services. For example, the publisher is launching new products aligned with its mission of helping entrepreneurs, including ‘Entrepreneur Insider’ membership to virtual events, online business courses, and ‘Ask an Expert’ one-to-one coaching. With Permutive, Entrepreneur is now leveraging audience data to identify and target user segments that would find these products most useful and relevant to their needs.

Data innovation

Entrepreneur Media is finding it easier to experiment with data (one of its long-term goals). This, together with a vastly increased dataset, is allowing the team to work out baseline campaign optimizations and test campaign improvements resulting from targeting audiences based on interactions and verticals. The team is working to improve Entrepreneur’s data ‘story’, using Permutive as a ‘data funnel’ to store audience information and make first-party data actionable in a way the publisher never could before.
          “Being able to see those segments and do testing, together with the ease of the interface, has helped us iterate faster.” – Michael Le Du, COO, Entrepreneur Media

  • 1094%

    ROI in two months

  • 7.6x

    increase in targetable inventory

"Permutive is having a significant impact on our overall win rates and deal sizes."

Michael Le Du, COO, Entrepreneur Media