PayPal is tracking what you buy — and plans to make big bucks off it

Customers would by default have their data included in the new ad network, but they can opt out, according to a company spokesman

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Tuesday 28 May 2024 21:33 BST
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Online payments giant PayPal has announced it will be launching a new advertising platform, driven by the shopping trends data of its customers
Online payments giant PayPal has announced it will be launching a new advertising platform, driven by the shopping trends data of its customers (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Online payments giant PayPal is launching a new advertising platform, driven by the shopping trends of its millions of customers.

The company said that its long-standing relationships with both consumers and merchants made it “uniquely positioned” to create the platform “rooted in commerce”.

Customers would have their data included in the new network by default but they can opt out, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

It comes after the company announced in January that it would lay off 9 per cent of its global workforce as part of a cost-cutting effort. The following month, PayPal stock dropped after executives said they weren’t expecting much profit growth this year.

Several high-profile leadership appointments will support the new advertising business platform, including former head of Uber’s advertising business, Mark Grether, who joins as senior vice president and general manager of the newly-created PayPal Ads division.

According to PayPal, Mr Grether will join the company to build an ad business that will help “make merchants smarter” in selling more products and services effectively, as well as making it easier for consumers to find their favorite products.

The company said that its long-standing relationships with both consumers and merchants made it ‘uniquely positioned’ to create the platform ‘rooted in commerce’
The company said that its long-standing relationships with both consumers and merchants made it ‘uniquely positioned’ to create the platform ‘rooted in commerce’ (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The platform will include PayPal’s Advanced Offers platform, announced in January. The service was the company’s first ad product, and uses AI and PayPal’s data to help merchants target users with discounts and other personalized promotions.

Advanced Offers only charges advertisers when consumers make a purchase. Online marketplaces eBay and Zazzle have begun testing it, according to The Wall Street Journal, who cited a PayPal spokesman.

Similarly, the new advertising business will use customer insights to build a dynamic, “truly personalized” platform that will drive better advertising spend performance for merchants with targeted ads and offers to consumers, according to PayPal.

In addition, PayPal now aims to sell ads not only to its own customers but to so-called “non-endemic advertisers”, or those that don’t sell products or services through the company. Those companies might use PayPal data to target consumers with ads that could be displayed elsewhere, for instance, on other websites or connected TV sets.

PayPal processed 6.5 billion payments made by approximately 400 million customers in the first quarter, according to its most recent earnings report.

PayPal’s profit rose in the first quarter, and the company raised its outlook for the year.

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