Ayal sat down with brandchannel to discuss his career, his company, his tennis game, and how your business can stand out from the clutter and ahead of the curve in online advertising.
When did you realize it was time to break into the online sphere?
I’m 31 now, I missed the first wave when I was a kid in Israel. I moved to New York in 2003, and from the beginning I knew online was the place to be. While the internet was just getting big in 2003, it was a good industry to be going into the crisis of 2008 since it was one of few areas that grew instead of contracting.
Why did you leave Advertising.com? Where was the need for DesignPax.com?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spark. I’d been at that company for a few years and made a lot of major contacts in publishing. Big ad networks like that were not growing as fast anymore, so I wanted to start something on my own. I saw the process of creating online banners as efficient and effective. The only part that was missing was the customized creative process. Design, one of the most important components of the advertising campaign was very fragmented. Out of this inefficiency, I started my business.
How did people hear about your company?
Initially, we had a few articles written about us within the small business community. After that it was a lot of word-of-mouth to a point where, now, we’re generating revenue and are cash-roll positive. We re-invest all of our profits. Now when you search “landing page design” or “Facebook fan page design”, we’re up there.
What’s your business model? What differentiates DesignPax.com from its competitors?
Before my site you had the options of going to Craigslist and placing an ad, a freelance site where designers would place bids, or using a crowdsourcing site. The way we’re different, is that we’re fasts. In 48 hours you can have a customized banner, word press theme, or a landing page. We eliminate the third party and offer reliability. Our time and price is fixed and all of our online products are customized to your needs. Crowdsourcing is good for logos, but for design that involves more communication like Flash banners, WordPress themes, twitter backgrounds, landing pages – we’re the best solution out there. Essentially, we are a web design agency without all the meetings and brainstorming, providing more affordable solutions.
How can brands stand out in all this digital clutter? What is working for your clients?
If you go to our website, there is no clutter. It is clean and direct. Brands should focus more on the clean, no-bullshit design that a company like Apple has introduced. People don’t pay attention to things popping up, flashy banners. We always take the approach of very clean and to the point. If someone gives us three pages of text for their landing page, we tell them people aren’t going to read that and to cut it down. Visual layout needs to portray professionalism and cleanliness. “The way to differentiate and break out of the clutter is to not be cluttered yourself.”
What is the major trend in online advertising now?
Facebook fan pages. Some businesses don’t even have websites, they just come to us in need of a Facebook presence. There are new ways to incorporate fan gates and offer promo codes to your site to engage your visitors. We design, install, and maintain Facebook pages. That is the fastest growing part of our business.
How has advertising changed with the rise of social media?
People are increasingly leveraging social networks to promote businesses. Now someone can tweet, retweet, and get retweeted so that thousands of people see your news bit. But, this is NOT making the advertising industry more free. It is making it more targeted.
The online advertising industry is expanding, Facebook advertisements are growing, and overall it is becoming easier to target customers. Before we had behavioral targeting, geo-targeting, textual targeting. Now there is consumer information available based on interests.
What form of advertising is most effective?
It depends a lot on the type of industry you are. If you are a legion, insurance, gold, mortgage, skin cream then it is about search, display, and having a great landing page that portrays professionalism and reliability. If you are a trendier type of business like a diet program or self-help guru, then a Facebook fan page or Twitter background are better. These are designed to build a following.
You started DesignPax.com with $1200. If you were given $1200 right now, what would you spend it on?
Tennis lessons. I play a lot of tennis but I always feel like I need to go back and improve my game.
Your company makes ads in under 72 hours. What are some brands you will use in the next 72 hours?
Wilson, Hertz, Zara (I don't want to be cheesy and say Apple, because everyone does).
What’s next for DesignPax.com?
I want us to be the go-to destination for anything online design. I want us to be the Vistaprint (business cards) for online. The long-term goal is to work with many different partners and be a plug-in into their platforms. We’re developing a way for ad networks to do this by uploading and customizing our platform, but when a client submits a request through their site, it is our in-house design team that handles it.
Hopefully we can evolve to integrate with online marketing as well. Not only could you come to us for online design but also for your campaign needs to become completely one-stop-shop for online advertising. But, we would maintain our speed, turn-around time, and transparency.