How SHE Media increased scale and CPMs with more granular audience data

The company

SHE Media (formerly SheKnows Media) is a mission-driven digital media company created for and by women with approximately 60 million unique visitors per month and 350 million-plus social media followers. Its mission is to validate women’s voices and leadership as a unifying force for global good. The SHE Media Partner Network is the leading source for thousands of content creators, offering a diverse portfolio of monetization opportunities and educational materials to help them turn their passions into profit. Part of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), SHE Media is based in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The challenge

SHE Media was reviewing its technology stack to uncover cost efficiencies for its clients and to further better user engagement across its properties. The publishing group knew that it needed a solution to help reduce reliance on third-party cookies, which were contributing to wasted impressions and poor audience matching. Although SHE Media wasn’t necessarily in the market for a new DMP, it realized that Permutive could help uncover greater scale, and execute campaigns with a much tighter control on performance for its users and advertisers.

"We were looking for a partner to help make our first-party data more impactful and enable us to remain ahead of the ever changing regulatory and browser compliance landscape."

Ryan Nathanson, SVP Operations, SHE Media

The solution

SHE Media began implementing Permutive in early 2020 and began targeting with first-party data in July 2020. The company had two main goals for the partnership: create a first-party data strategy to increase audience scale and expand its understanding of its audience composition.

Building a first-party data strategy

Working closely with Permutive, SHE Media was able to create a robust first-party data strategy that included: building first-party segments, uncovering audience trends and growing the scale of audience segments. It educated its sales team to make sure they were ready to go to market with first-party audience data. It did this by creating awareness materials around the issues with third-party cookies and teaching the sales team how to communicate audience trends to clients. This has led to faster onboarding and higher adoption across teams because they are able to access data faster and the platform is easier to use.

Using IBM Watson tagging to create relevant behavioral segments, the publisher is now able to sell into new industries, including pharma and retail. It was able to win new business from a large retail wholesaler by using first-party data to create intent based segments and find new users that could be interested in memberships with the retailer.

Improving advertiser relationships

The team has a goal to include first-party data on every campaign and has built standard practices to drive progress. Sellers are now confident handling questions from advertisers in RFPs around third-party cookies and explaining what SHE Media is doing to prepare for any new privacy requirements as well as the degradation of third-party cookies. The publisher works closely with advertisers to provide relevant first-party data segments, which grow over time for all campaigns and clients who advertise on the SHE Media platform. Now that they are able to surface more inventory on SHE Media sites, the small to midsize businesses that SHE Media supports have seen increased CPMs and revenue. With more effective audience segments, SHE Media is able to increase engagement and conversion for campaigns.

  • 8x

    increase in audience scale on average across key first-party segments

  • 20%

    increase in CPMs from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020


Increased scale across first-party segments

SHE Media has seen scale increased significantly across segments on its owned and operated sites (,, For some of its key segments it saw an average increase of 8x the scale including the following segments:  

  • Tech increased 2.4x
  • Moms increased 6.6x
  • Parents increased 9.3x
  • Fashion enthusiasts increased 14.6x

Higher CPMs and better campaign performance

With more granular user data, SHE Media has also been able to launch new first-party driven ad products. It is now able to deliver performance based campaigns to a higher degree of accuracy and engage in affiliate marketing campaigns with tighter control over performance for advertisers. As a result, it has been able to increase average CPMs across its network, helping to drive revenue and performance for advertisers. Average CPM increased by 20% from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020.

See how SHE Media partnered with Permutive

Future possibilities

SHE Media continues to develop its first-party data strategy to deliver advanced targeting for its advertisers with Permutive’s DMP. Over the next few months, it will build on its first-party audiences through: surveys, contextual and behavioral data and second-party data from its advertisers. It continues to educate advertisers on its new targeting abilities as well as providing full transparency to advertisers. With real-time insights and a greater understanding of its users, SHE Media will be able to deliver best in class content and advertising recommendations for advertisers. Finally, it is also focused on developing new ad products, particularly for eCommerce and affiliates.

"SHE Media has grown its addressable audience tremendously. As a result, we waste few impressions and campaign performance has improved, leading to repeat business from existing advertisers."

Ryan Nathanson, SVP Operations, SHE Media