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PayPal Lays Out Plans for New Commerce-Based Advertising Business

PayPal is entering the media business with plans for a new advertising platform that will draw on its relationships with millions of consumers and merchants to help the latter “sell more products and services effectively,” according to a company statement.

To kick off the initiative, the payments platform has made two key executive hires: Former Uber Advertising and Amazon executive Mark Grether has been appointed SVP and General Manager of PayPal Ads, and John Anderson, who previously worked at fintech company Plaid, has joined as SVP and General Manager of the PayPal Consumer Group. Grether and Anderson will both report to Diego Scotti, EVP and General Manager of the PayPal Consumer Group, Global Marketing and Communications. 

“Commerce and advertising are deeply connected, and we believe that the advertising platform we are building at PayPal will become a must-use marketing channel for merchants big and small,” said Scotti in the statement. “I’m thrilled to have Mark join our team and lead this important work.”

That work will center on the creation of “an advertising platform that is rooted in commerce” by using PayPal’s consumer insights to drive advertising spend performance and place “compelling offers” in front of its users. The advertising business also will include PayPal’s existing Advanced Offers platform, which uses AI to leverage customer data for better advertising results.

Grether joins PayPal from Uber, where he was the VP and General Manager of Uber Advertising. Under his leadership, Uber Advertising grew to a $1 billion business with more than 500,000 advertisers globally. Prior to Uber, Grether led the product strategy for Amazon’s advertising business and served as CEO of Sizmek, one of the largest independent advertising platforms globally, which was sold to Amazon in 2019.

Anderson has spent more than 20 years at the intersection of technology platforms and payments. In his new role he will be accountable for PayPal’s consumer business, including product strategy for PayPal and Venmo globally. Anderson joins PayPal from Plaid, where he was Head of Product and Payments and oversaw significant growth of Plaid’s payment product suite. Prior to Plaid, Anderson spent a decade at Meta in numerous product and leadership roles, including head of the product and operations teams for Payments, Commerce and Risk.

“John brings strong experience in developing groundbreaking, personalized consumer experiences to PayPal, which will drive relevance of our brands, fuel our innovation pipeline and give more reasons for consumers and merchants to choose PayPal,” said Scotti.

PayPal’s move into advertising follows similar efforts at other consumer brands that have been inspired by retailers’ success in the burgeoning retail media arena. Companies including Chase, United Airlines, Planet Fitness, Uber, Lyft and now PayPal are following a model laid out by retailers — to capture advertising spend as other, more established marketing channels experience signal loss due to cookie deprecation and other privacy crackdowns.  

To learn more about retail media, check out our full guide here.


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