PayPal’s advertising ambitions: How can brands benefit?

James Hudson
By James Hudson | 11 June 2024
James Hudson.

For PayPal to come out and announce their intention to develop their own ad network is another significant step for non-traditional advertisers to enter a whole new world of growth.

With Mark Grether steering the ship, and his history of building new offerings and growing them quickly, both media owner and agency side, this stands as a real signal of arrival. 

Why Now? 

Financial institutions have partnered with other media vendors to monetise their data on a more generic level for years. For the likes of PayPal, Chase and now Revolut in the UK going to market with their own ad network model makes complete sense. Building a relationship directly with advertisers and agencies is a natural progression to make the most out of their wealth of data, and their initiate knowledge of what consumers do and don't buy.

Additionally, the impending depreciation of cookies a whole industry creates the next generation of individual experiences for consumer advertising, with deep buying knowledge presenting new ways to find and target consumers. 

We are again moving back into a world where advertisers are becoming more reliant on publishers, retailers and entertainment networks to give us that targeting ability. 

Eric Seufert has talked about this for a number of years. Where everything is an ad network, more and more companies are looking for secondary and tertiary revenue streams from their owned assets. This move will only be replicated more and more, as non-traditional "publishers" look to commoditise their wealth of data, traffic and reach, at scale. 

With PayPal's ability to target over 400 million people globally based on their purchases across a multitude of sites and environments, they have a hugely powerful offering. We can foresee vast swathes of brands jumping on board looking for efficiencies and efficacy in their campaigns. Let's not forget they are the most popular digital payment service in Australia and can target over 46% of all Australians based on their purchase behaviours. However, we must also think about how consumers will react. The quickest way to turn off consumers is to be invasive with our messages - using their intimate purchasing behaviours to target people can come across as invasive very quickly if ethics come second to profit. 

Clear a Path

With all the power of this financial data for targeting, consumers still need to go somewhere to make purchases. If you spend a huge amount of money targeting the lowest-hanging fruit, literally, people willing to throw money at you, and you make the purchase process laborious and filled with friction you will have wasted a huge amount of time, effort and investment. 

We have all seen the stats that show conversion rates increase with faster page load speeds, Google has highlighted that the difference of 1 second can increase mobile conversion by 27%. 

We also know consumers will respond more favourably to a nice user experience. Salesforce research shows that 84% of consumers consider user experience with a company as important as the products and services they sell. Forrester was even able to demonstrate that every $1 spent on improving user experience returned on average $100 to the business. 

Now think how powerful it is when we can target people we know want to buy and we send them to environments that make it so easy and enticing for them to do so. For this to happen brands must start looking at their marketing investment in a holistic way and even using the consumer lens to focus efforts. Ultimately, how do we make it simple and seamless for consumers to find what they want and get it quickly and easily?

Meeting the Market 

We believe that all these factors, working together in harmony, are of utmost importance. At Digitas, we have structured our agency to create what we call Networked Experiences, fully integrated customer journey capabilities, bringing together specialists across creative, intelligence, technology and commerce, ensuring we are driving efficiencies and efficacy across the entire customer journey, known as the Growth Loop. 

James Hudson, Head of Media, Digitas Australia

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