PayPal launching ad network fueled by user purchase data


PayPal is building an advertising business that will leverage the troves of data it collects on consumer purchases and spending habits.

What’s happening? The digital payments giant plans to create an ad network that allows merchants and brands to target PayPal’s roughly 400 million users with personalized promotions and ads based on their transaction histories.

Why we care. Advertisers should be interested in this because PayPal has a vast amount of purchasing data from 400 million users, so this could mean sophisticated targeting and advertising across multiple channels (as Paypal plans on serving ads beyond its platforms) from one platform.

Key hires.

  • Mark Grether, formerly head of Uber’s ad business, hired as SVP/GM of PayPal’s new PayPal Ads division to develop ad formats and build out the sales team.
  • John Anderson, previously head of product/payments at Plaid, hired as SVP/GM of PayPal’s consumer group.

Details. PayPal already offers an “Advanced Offers” ad product that uses AI to serve PayPal users with targeted discounts from merchants whenever they make a purchase.

  • The company plans to expand this to sell ads to brands outside of its merchant network that could be displayed across the web and connected TV.

What they’re saying. PayPal says users can opt out of having their data included in the ad targeting.

  • “If you’re someone who’s buying products on the web, we know who is buying the products where, and we can leverage the data,” Grether told the WSJ.

Between the lines. The move follows other finance giants like JPMorgan Chase entering the retail media ad space by monetizing their customer data.

PayPal’s ad business is still nascent and may struggle to move the needle for the fintech company whose core payments processing business has higher profit margins.

The big picture. PayPal’s ad ambitions come as the company ais to rebound from recent struggles, including major layoffs and a stock slide after forecasting muted profit growth this year.

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About the author

Anu AdegbolaAnu Adegbola

Anu Adegbola has been Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land since 2024. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media, video and more.

In 2008, Anu’s career started with

 delivering digital marketing campaigns (mostly but not exclusively Paid Search) by building strategies, maximising ROI, automating repetitive processes and bringing efficiency from every part of marketing departments through inspiring leadership both on agency, client and marketing tech side.


Outside editing Search Engine Land article she is the founder of PPC networking event – PPC Live, host of weekly podcast PPCChat Roundup, and brand evangelist at ClickTech. 


She is also an international speaker with some of the stages she has presented on being SMX (US), SMX (Munich), Friends of Search (Amsterdam), brightonSEO, The Marketing Meetup, HeroConf (PPC Hero), SearchLove, BiddableWorld, SESLondon, PPC Chat Live, AdWorld Experience (Bologna) and more.


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