Visa’s Blueprint for Targeted Advertising

Visa has filed several patent applications that provide a blueprint for using credit-card transaction data to target digital ads and personalize other content, such as search results.

The company is pitching the ability to use cardholders’ anonymous buying histories, in aggregate, to tailor the ads people see online, according to an ad executive who discussed the plan with a Visa official recently. That would let advertisers, for instance, show cat-grooming offers to people in one area, and dog-grooming ads to people somewhere else, based on the group buying behavior in the areas as a whole, the ad executive said.

A spokeswoman said Visa “is continuously assessing its strategies including ways trend data could help create more effective online advertising.” She said the company doesn’t discuss “Visa’s intellectual-property strategies.”

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