PayPal says eBay separation has been ‘freeing’ as it talks up contextual commerce

The payments firm, which was one of the fastest risers in this year’s Brand Z rankings, says its ‘New Money’ brand positioning is helping it to grow users.

A couple row about who pays the bill in one of Pay Pal’s new Channel 4 ads

It has now been two years since eBay and PayPal started to trade separately. And all the signs suggest PayPal has benefitted most from the divorce.

It rose 13 places to 52nd in this year’s Millward Brown Brand Z power rankings; this made it one of the 20 biggest risers and saw its brand valuation rise to $19.15bn.

It also recently linked up with Channel 4. Over the next six months, the exclusive partnership will see PayPal launch a series of adverts centered around Channel 4 shows such as The Crystal Maze and Made In Chelsea.

The comedic ads, which will be narrated by actor Richard Ayoade, aim to tap into the shows’ key themes to increase the understanding of PayPal’s digital payment options among 18-to-34-year-olds.

The brand is also persisting with its ‘New Money’ brand positioning, a new slogan and business mentality designed to wake shoppers up to new features such as PayPal One Touch, which allows online checkouts in just one click.

Prioritising innovation

Speaking to Marketing Week, PayPal’s UK marketing director Alison Sagar says the eBay separation has allowed PayPal to differentiate itself in a crowded payments market.

“We’re establishing PayPal as a brand in its own right and New Money is a great way of articulating where the future of money and contactless payments is going. It’s really resonating with consumers,” she explains.

“People are starting to see PayPal as more than just an online checkout button. The eBay separation has been freeing, I guess, because we’re now 100% focused on payments and using mobile technology to make this simpler. We can focus purely on innovation.”

As well as the aforementioned One Touch, this innovation has included launching PayPal Credit, which allows four-month interest free credit on purchases of more than £150, and to make charitable donations – there have been $7.3bn (£5.5bn) worth so far.

Contextual commerce will keep on growing as users don’t want to keep switching between different apps

Alison Sagar, PayPal

It has also teamed up with brands such as UK pub chain Wetherspoons, so people can pay for and pre-order drinks at its bars by using PayPal.

Moment-based marketing

Subsequently, Sagar says the brand’s marketing strategy is now all about “moments rather than channels”.

“We want to create marketing that is consumer centric and not beholden to a particular channel. For example, we have ambient media in 800 pubs across the country,” she explains.

“Essentially, we want to go out to the places where our 24 million active UK users are socialising and making purchases, and advertise to them there rather than focusing purely on specific traditional advertising channels.”

Contextual commerce

In 2010, mobile accounted for just 1% of PayPal’s total payment volume. However, in 2016, nearly a third of the of the 6.1 billion payments PayPal processed globally were on mobile; its mobile payment volume was $102bn as a result.

Looking to the future, Sagar says PayPal will continue to prioritise mobile innovation. She also sees contextual commerce as one of the biggest trends that will change the payments industry. She believes the likes of Facebook and Instagram will become much larger ecommerce players.

Sagar concludes: “In the US we work to enable people to make Uber bookings through Facebook Messenger so you don’t need to switch between different apps.

“This kind of contextual commerce activity will only keep growing and lots of people are going to need to partner together as users don’t want to keep switching between different apps. There’s going to be lots of players in the ecosystem and we’re ready to facilitate that.”

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