A little over a year after eBay bought mobile ad network WHERE, it’s ready to show how it will put the Boston startup to work. WHERE will become PayPal Media Network, as it moves beyond serving location-based mobile ads to offering inventory across eBay’s different online properties.
In addition to the 70 million mobile users reachable through the existing WHERE network, PayPal Media Network will now offer advertisers the ability to target eBay.com, Shopping.com, Bill Me Later, RedLaser and other properties. This helps PayPal address the increasingly multi-channel nature of commerce, which is happening on smartphones and tablets, online and in-store.
Now, advertisers can entice new customers into a store with location-based mobile ads and offers, or they can reach them when a user scans a barcode in store using their RedLaser app. Advertisers can also find shoppers when they’re browsing eBay or they can hit them up after a transaction is completed through Bill Me Later or through follow-up emails.
Walt Doyle, the former CEO of WHERE who is now GM of PayPal Media Network, said these days consumers are shopping in a variety of ways, aided by smartphones and tablets. A person may walk into a store to buy something but then find it online for cheaper. Or they’ll start their research while commuting, and do some more comparing at home before heading out to a store to buy the item. This can make it hard for advertisers to know where to place their bets.
“The consumer shopping behavior has become multichannel; they don’t know where they begin and end a purchase,” Doyle said. “We’ve enhanced our platform to embrace this behavior to allow our partners to reach consumers anywhere on that pretzel journey.”
Doyle said the PayPal Media Network will also be able to lean on the mountain of data PayPal and eBay have to help deliver relevant ads and offers to consumers. If they can tie a user to their activity across different sites, PayPal Media Network can incorporate their tastes, location and purchase history to show really personalized ads.
This is why eBay bought WHERE. It knew it needed a way to provide its PayPal customers with better tools to increase sales. Having location-based ads and offers are helpful in bringing in consumers and can be a key component in PayPal’s new in-store and small business payment services. But WHERE gets even more powerful when you tie it into eBay and PayPal’s bigger ecosystem.