PayPal Wants to Know Where You’re Shopping

PayPal Wants to Know Where You’re ShoppingPayPal, in a bid to find out exactly who’s viewing the ads on their ad network, has linked up with Placed, a mobile location tracking firm, so that they can track real-world consumer visits to everything from fast food restaurants to designer clothing stores.

Approximately 125,000 people have signed up to be on a Placed panel of app users who, in exchange for things like gift cards and contest entries, will have their mobile location data precisely tracked by the company using GPS and Wi-Fi. After every visit to any brick-and-mortar location they choose, Placed will also validate the actual location by surveying their users on the places they visited, making sure that they have the correct location (This is especially important due to the fact that so many locations are in close proximity to each other).

In fact, Placed is going to give panelists multiple-choice questions that are mixed with false choices in order to be 100% certain that their data is correct. Once that’s done they will also evaluate the under-or-over index of consumer demographics in regard to how many consumers visit a particular business. “We’re able to actually understand who went to a store,” said Sarah Hodkinson, head of Marketing for PayPal Media Network.

In 2011 PayPal acquired the precursor to its PayPal Media Network, Where, and today the location-centric ad network helps PayPal to more precisely target purchase data. A great example is 1-800-Flowers, which used the data that they received from PayPal to determine their ideal customer based on several criteria and purchase patterns. Once that was done they built models based around that data to find others in the PayPal network that fit it and advertise to them.

Third-party data like weather reports and flight information is also used by the ad network. For example, a travel firm would be able to geographically-target ads, based on flight delay data, to consumers in certain airports as they sit and wait for the weather to clear and flights to resume.

The PayPal mobile app can be used for transactions practically anywhere, from home-improvement giant Home Depot to smaller “mom-and-pop” establishments and restaurants around the country.

PayPal can also tie retailer data, such as CRM, into their mobile ads in order to determine whether a consumer actually made a purchase after being served and ad, although none of their clients have yet to employ this new technology. They can also link in-store purchases using email addresses and various other identifiers that are captured in-store.

“There’s definitely a desire for retailers to do it, but not many of them are savvy enough,” said Hodkinson regarding using CRM data for ad targeting.

One last thing she added that’s probably most important to consumers is the fact that advertising clients getting these new PayPal reports don’t get personally identifiable information with them… at least for now.