Look at the stars, look how they shine

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Look at the stars, look how they shine

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The Aeon Telescope Kindler brings a new definition to the phrase ‘aim for the stars’. This tiny yet powerful telescope is ideal for the amateur stargazer, making astronomy truly accessible to the masses. The telescope pivots on a magnetically stabilized ball and socket joint, allowing the user to precisely aim and position it. It works with a companion app, allowing one to view cosmic bodies on the screen, along with all the necessary information. Much like an augmented reality encyclopedia! Can someone buy me this as an early Christmas gift?

Designer: Marius Kindler

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On Twitter, women are more misogynistic than men

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LONDON — When it comes to misogyny on Twitter, we’re all in this together. A new study has found that misognyistic tweets were written by women 52 percent of the time and men 48 percent. 

The study — conducted by social intelligence company Brandwatch on behalf of anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label — used both automated and manual data analysis tools to analyse almost 19 million public tweets to explore the current climate of misogyny and masculinity on social media.

As part of the study, researchers analysed the language around 4 million tweets and found that women were more likely than men to use pejorative, misogynistic language.

The analysis excluded instances where misogynist terms were clearly used ironically or in a neutral context, e.g. “bitch please”. Instead, the research focused on instances of hate speech, where language “intentionally attacked and offended” and “language where womanhood is being undermined”, Ed Crook — lead researcher on the study — told Mashable

According to the research, which looked at tweets written in the English language published between August 2012 and July 2016, women were most likely to use derogatory language pertaining to promiscuity, appearance and animals (i.e. bitch, cow, mare).  

Male Twitter users, on the other hand, used language relating to anatomy, intelligence and sexuality. Furthermore, insults to do with female anatomy were also “significantly more likely to come from the UK”. 

The study, while revealing, should be taken with a grain of salt: It’s not entirely clear which words were considered misogynistic or how the data was gathered, so the results may not properly reflect the full context of a tweet, its tone, or whether it was part of a larger conversation.

Crook — research manager at Brandwatch — told Mashable that the findings show that women’s use of misogynistic language focused largely on sexual promiscuity and ‘slut shaming’, whereas male language was centred on female objectification. 

This common theme of derision relating to promiscuity and female bodies did not have a male or masculine equivalent, the research concluded. 

“We don’t want the research to be seen as vilifying women. That goes against objectives of study. We are not pointing at women and saying they are misogynists,” Crook said. 

Crook believes the findings suggest that misogynistic language is “increasingly being considered normal”. 

“We wouldn’t want to endorse censorship, but it would help for people to be cognisant of the language they’re using, particularly language that’s loaded,” Crook continued.

Crook also believes that campaigns designed to encourage gender equality should address both men and women, not just men. 

“It may also reflect a normalising of misogynistic language and that authors (including female authors) no longer consciously consider the terms offensive,” reads the study.

“Such a finding is supported by the casual and common usage of insults such as ‘lil bitch’ by female authors, with self-reference also common. However, 

This isn’t the first study to suggest that women are playing a role in publishing misogynistic tweets. Indeed, a recent analysis by think tank Demos found that half of all misogynistic tweets came from women. 

The research by Demos counted the number of international uses of certain words as indicators of misogyny over the course of three weeks. The study found that 200,000 tweets using the words “slut” and “whore” were sent to 80,000 people during the three-week period. 

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Ten Wedding Hacks Every Engaged Couple Should Know

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Weddings are an expensive business. According to this article from MoneySavingExpert.com, the average cost of a wedding ceremony is around £20,500 so any little bit that can be shaved off the price tag here and there is very welcome! If you’re a particularly savvy couple, there are a couple of ways to cut down on the cost of your big day and make things run more smoothly without it being any less special, so read on for our top ten wedding hacks that every engaged couple should know. We’ve also thrown in some special tips and tricks which will help give your wedding that little bit of extra sparkle that’ll make sure that you and your guests will never forget it.

Set up a “dessert bar”.

Instead of shelling out for an expensive wedding cake, why not consider setting up a dessert bar? It’s a much cheaper alternative and is a lot more fun and quirky! All you need to do is purchase a selection of sweet treats whether they be cakes, cookies, or even just chocolate bars, and let your guests come and get their own as they please. For a special touch, you could even bake some of your own treats to add to the table or ask your guests to do so.

Be your own DJ.

Hiring a DJ and all of the necessary equipment can be one of the biggest costs associated with a wedding, so why not cut this out by being your own DJ! All you have to do is put together a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music in your phone, plug it into the speakers and away you go! You and your partner can spend an afternoon putting this together and pick out some of your favourite songs, perhaps including some that are special to you.

Avoid printing loads of paper items.

A surprisingly big cost when it comes to weddings is that of printing out all of the individual menus and seating plans, etc. How about creating some attractive signage using something like a chalkboard instead of printing out pieces for each guest? You would be surprised at how much can be saved!

Opt for a Friday or Sunday.

Saturday weddings are in hot demand and are definitely the most expensive day of the week to get married. Going either side of Saturday could wind up saving you a lot of money, and still give you a weekend wedding to make things easier for your guests and let the celebrations take place over a couple of days.

Surprise your guests with a special touch.

Sometimes going that extra mile can really leave a lasting impression on your guests, whether it be the entertainment, the food, or something to do with the ceremony itself. For a really spectacularly thoughtful touch (especially for a night-time outdoor wedding), how about these amazing light up letters from Light It Up UK. They add a unique touch to the ceremony and will definitely stick in everyone’s memory.

Use weights to keep your veil in place.

If you’ve gone for an outdoor wedding and it’s a windy day, your veil is going to get blown all over the place. However, you can use handy little weights such as those at Save the Veil which will help to keep everything in place.

Set up a dedicated email address.

It might seem a little bit overboard, but believe us, it can be a really good idea to set up a separate “wedding planning” email address. The last thing you need is to miss emails, especially if the caterer cancels at the last minute! By separating emails, you’re much more likely to keep on top of everything, and you can even use it afterwards to send out wedding photos and maybe to deal with things such as households bills in your married life.

Buy a second-hand dress.

It might not be for everyone, but keeping an eye out for a second-hand dress can be a real help on the budget front. They’re likely to be in near-perfect condition as they’ll only have been worn once, and you probably won’t even be able to tell! While you might turn your nose up at the idea at first, you might change your mind when you see how much you could save. Check out this post from BrideBox for more info. on buying a preowned dress.

Opt for a faux cake.

If you don’t want to shell out for an ornate tiered cake, there is a more budget-friendly option available. You can ask your baker to make the top tier of the cake as usual so that it can be cut, and the rest can be made from styrofoam. (Another idea to just opt for a much smaller cake). You can then have a normal (but equally as tasty!) cake available which you can serve to the guests.

Get the venue size right.

Many couples often waste a lot of money by overestimating or underestimating their venue. To be on the safe side many couples opt for a venue which is actually far too big for their needs. While this doesn’t have a negative effect on the day, it takes a much heftier chunk out of the budget than it needs to!

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Just Eating More Veggies Isn’t Enough To Prevent Constipation, Here’s Why

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Do Vegetables Really Cure Constipation?

Constipation is no fun. It can leave you feeling bloated, tired and uncomfortable. Most of us will have heard that the best way to develop better bowel function is to eat a lot of vegetables. According to conventional wisdom, vegetables are high in fiber and so prevent constipation. However, this is not always sufficient to maintain regularity. Some popular vegetables are not actually high in fiber. For example, there are only 1.3 grams of fiber in a portion of lettuce, while recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day for an average adult. (Imagine if you only rely on eating more veggies, you’ll have to eat 25 bowls of lettuce!)

The Best Way Is A Holistic Approach

Rather than making superficial dietary changes, the best approach to prevent constipation is to make a series of lifestyle adjustments. Take the following five steps and look forward to better bowel health.

Step 1: Get Into A Morning Routine

Try and get into the habit of going to the bathroom early in the morning. According to expert Dr Kenneth Koch, this is the best time of day to move your bowels. As you sleep, your small intestine and colon work to process the food you ingested the day before. This means that when you wake, your body is ready to release waste products. Moreover, our bodies like routine. When you make it regular, your bowel will get used to it and function better.

Step 2: Change Your Position

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Did you know that the posture most of use when sitting on the toilet increases the risk of constipation? In a traditional sitting position, the colon is shortened, which does little to encourage the body to release feaces. Humans are physiologically designed to squat rather than sit as they use the toilet. Products such as the Squatty Potty can help by encouraging you to adopt a safe, more natural position.

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Credit: Video still from https://youtu.be/5P8L0r4JVpo / Squatty Potty

Step 3: Take Care Of Your Posture

Research shows that the healthiest posture to maintain when eating is one in which your shoulders are relaxed, with your feet in full contact with the floor. In this position, your body can make use of gravity in digesting your food. When you adopt a good posture, you also maximize the amount of oxygen that you take in via your lungs, which also helps your body achieve maximum digestive efficiency.

Sitting upright also encourages a confident, relaxed mood. Since the brain and the gut are intimately connected, any action that helps you stay relaxed will exert a positive effect on your digestive health.

Step 4: Replace White Carbs With Wholewheat Alternatives

White rice, pasta and bread may well be delicious, but they contain very little fiber and therefore increase the risk of constipation. For example, a portion of white spaghetti typically contains only 2.5 grams of fiber versus more than 6 grams for wholewheat versions. A 60 gram portion of wholewheat pasta contains over 9 grams of fiber, the equivalent of three oranges. You should also consider switching breakfast cereals. For example, bran flakes are a better, higher-fiber choice compared to regular corn flakes.

Step 5: Include Apples, Bananas, Papaya and Dragonfruit In Your Diet

Vegetables may have a reputation for preventing constipation, but certain fruits contain significant quantities of fiber and should therefore be included in your diet on a regular basis. Papaya is a great choice for several reasons. Not only is it high in fiber and water, both of which prevent constipation, but it contains an enzyme called papain which helps your body undertake the digestive process.

A typical apple contains around 7 grams of fibre (while an orange only contains around 3 grams of fibre). Given that the recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day for an average adult, eating a couple of apples per day could be a great way to help cover your needs!

Preventing constipation needn’t be difficult. Just by making a few simple lifestyle and dietary changes, you could soon be spending much less time in the bathroom.

Featured photo credit: Dailyviralupdates.com via dailyviralupdates.com

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How to Start Making Profits From PPC Campaigns by @Wrodarczyk

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Ask any advertiser if their PPC cost is too high, and you will most likely get a resounding, “Yes!” The cost per click is a result of an auction. The number of advertising slots in Google is limited. Advertisers, who want to buy more and more clicks, place higher and higher CPC bids in order to outbid their competitors, who in turn, do the same.

As a result, the CPC grows until advertisers realize they are paying too much. This very often happens when the bill for PPC clicks is higher than the total sales margin. For this happenstance managers use the euphemism, “overinvestment in ads”.

When We Spend Too Much

In fact, overinvestment occurs much earlier, even before the company produces losses. Buying more clicks requires higher CPC, and it causes higher conversion costs and smaller profits per transaction, even though there are more transactions and total profit grows. At a certain point, however, the increased number of transactions does not compensate for decreasing margins and total profit starts to decrease.

Function = Profit (CPC) Chart showing areas of under- and overinvestment, operational loss and the optimum level

Mathematical models help to identify the sweet spot where the profit is the highest. Increasing bids makes sense only if ROI > 1/E, where E is the price elasticity of clicks. Elasticity is defined as:

Price Elasticity Formula, relative increase of clicks divided by relative increase of CPC

For example, if higher bids cause a growth in CPC of 10% and clicks increase by 20%, then elasticity equals 2. If CPC grows by 10% and clicks increase by just 5%, then elasticity is 0.5.

Detailed derivation of the ROI>1/E formula is presented in the article How to Drive Profit With PPC Campaigns.

The price elasticity of clicks in PPC systems like AdWords generally decreases as CPC increases:

Elasticity of clicks (CPC) function chart, elasticity decreases as the CPC grows

ROI depends on CPC, because higher cost per click means higher conversion cost. Therefore, every change of bids changes the ROI as well as the elasticity. When CPC grows, both ROI and elasticity decrease, and quickly ROI can become smaller than 1/E.

The PPC optimization in e-commerce practice usually means maximizing the revenue according to the target ROI set by the company management. The ROI > 1/E formula tells us that this approach can be counterproductive. If one wants to maximize profit, the target ROI should not simply be an arbitrary decision of company decision-makers. The optimum ROI depends solely on the shape of the elasticity curve.

Each campaign and keyword may have different elasticity, and this elasticity can differ on different devices (desktop/mobile) and in other dimensions. Therefore, the target ROI cannot be the same across all keywords, devices, etc. Even if the target ROI is set by the company management at a certain level, for example, the company wants to maximize the income at ROI greater than or equal to zero – the elasticity adjustments to target ROI help to increase the revenue without changing the total average ROI. This process is described in How to Maximize the Revenue at a Targeted ROI.

The consequences of the profit-driven approach are sometimes counterintuitive. Instead of moving budgets from campaigns with lower ROI to those with higher profitability, we ought to consider increasing bids for keywords with lower ROI, but with higher elasticity (for example, balancing around “first page bid” value) and then we might decrease bids for the best-converting keywords with lower elasticity (for example, keywords with very high impression share and average position close to the first position at the top of the search results page).

The elasticity should be measured and monitored. AdWords native features, such as bid simulator and A/B experiments, help to obtain necessary data to estimate the elasticity.

In practice, the elasticity of keywords for ads displayed on the top four slots above the search results page, selected by the most aggressive occupants, is usually around one or smaller. So, if they want to increase traffic by 10%, the CPC will also grow by 10% or more. According to ROI>1/E formula, such an increase makes sense only if the current ROI is greater than 100%. In a competitive market, such profitability is rare.

This is the typical situation, but it can differ in a particular case. However, the leading advertisers most often increase their profits when they decide to be less aggressive in PPC, especially in SEM.

Click Value and Price Optimization

Besides PPC optimization, advertisers usually try to increase the conversion rate by better web usability and site speed, cross-selling, retargeting – basically, anything that may increase the chance that the visitor becomes a client. One of the forgotten points of optimization is the price of the product itself.

Sometimes advertisers offer discounts in order to encourage the visitors to finalize the transaction. In the case of the majority of products, the lower the price is, the easier it is to sell the products. Discounts usually increase the conversion rate.

But does it increase revenue and profit?

Now it’s worth emphasizing the difference between revenue and margin. The revenue is the total price paid by the customer, but it’s not the same as the profit. The goods sold have to be produced or purchased first; therefore, the margin is the revenue less cost of materials, production, packaging, transport etc. This means all the direct costs required to deliver the product to the customer. Therefore, we should always compare our PPC conversion cost, not to our revenue, but to the margin per transaction (M/Conv).

The profit is the difference between the margin per transaction and the conversion cost, multiplied by the number of transactions (conversions):

Profit = Conv × (M/Conv – Cost/Conv)

This equation can be also written using the number of visitors/clicks (Clk):

Profit = Clk × (Vclk – CPC)

where Vclk is the click value, equal to conversion rate (CR) multiplied by the margin per transaction:

Vclk = CR × M/Conv

The conversion rate generally does not depend on CPC and number of clicks, and it is mainly related to everything that happens after the click. Margin per transaction and click value do not depend on the number of clicks either. The higher the click value is, the higher the profits. Therefore, in order to maximize profits, advertisers should maximize neither the conversion value nor the conversion rate. They should maximize the click value.

Maximization of click value is a process independent from PPC optimization, because click value does not depend on the number of clicks and CPC.

How does one maximize the click value? Conversion rate and margin per transaction are not independent values. In order to increase margin, we increase our prices. But that decreases the conversion rate because some clients find the new price too high. The optimization of click value is a trade-off between the margin and conversion rate.

In order to find the sweet spot, we conduct A/B tests and observe the reactions of clients to different prices. Also, we can use the term “elasticity” here. In this case, it’s the elasticity of demand. Profits are highest if the elasticity of demand is equal to -1. For example, if we increase our margin by 10% and the number of transactions drops only by 5%, then the elasticity is -0.5. That means that we should increase the prices. If a 10% increase of margin results in 15% loss of transactions, the elasticity is -1.5 and means that the prices are too high. If an increase of margin by 10% decreases the number of transactions by 10% too, the elasticity is -1 and our prices are close to optimum.

Conversion Rate, Click Value and Elasticity Charts. Conversion rate decreases as the margin grows, and the maximum click value is when elasticity is equal to -1

In practice, e-commerce businesses are reluctant to raise prices and margins. The consensus is that if you raise prices, customers will go somewhere else. This is partly true, but what if higher margins compensate with a vengeance for the loss of the most price-sensitive customers? What are the results of previous discounts? If the decrease of margin by 30% increases the conversion rate by 10%, the discounts are not profitable.

The elasticity curve is continuous. Therefore, in this case, we may expect that doing the opposite, i.e. increasing the price, should make our profits higher, even though we may have fewer transactions and probably less revenue.

It is also possible, that your prices are too high, but the only way to check that is by testing it. The most common mistake is that after the revenue grows as result of discounts, managers decide that lower prices deliver better results. They don’t count the profits. They maximize revenue instead of click value. A large share of e-commerce businesses increase their profits when they decide to raise prices and accept that they will sell a little less.

The Miracle of Higher Click Value

Does it all mean that in order to increase profits, we should raise prices, decrease CPC spend, and accept lower revenue? Not necessarily. Even if the maximization of click value requires higher margins and, in consequence, a lower conversion rate, this optimization may open up new opportunities in PPC traffic acquisition.

This is because increased click value increases our ROI. According to the ROI > 1/E formula, we are able now to expand the PPC campaign to areas of lower elasticity.

See the example below, column A: The advertiser spends $100,000 on PPC ads buying 100,000 clicks at $1 CPC. With a conversion rate of 1%, it produces 1000 transactions. At a unit price of $1450, the margin per transaction is $150, and the total margin on all transactions is $150,000. The profit after PPC cost is $50,000.

In order to increase the traffic, the advertiser decides to increase PPC bids (column B). As a result, the CPC grows to $1.10 (+10%), and the number of clicks grows to 120,000 (+20%). Transactions also grow by 20% to 1200 and so does the total margin (growth to $180,000). However, after the PPC cost, the profit decreases to $48,000. This is not a surprise since the elasticity was 2 (20% more clicks with 10% CPC increase). Therefore, the ROI required to increase the bids should be greater than 50%. The actual ROI was equal to 50% (column A). So the campaign already was operating at an optimum level, and the increase of bids produced losses.

Click Value Miracle Example

So the advertiser decides to reverse the bids to previous values and optimize the price of the product (column C). The clicks, CPC and ad spend are therefore the same as in column A. The unit price increases by $49, from $1450 to $1499, and the margin per transaction grows by $49 from $150 to $199 (+32.7%). The higher price means the conversion rate decreases from 1.0% to 0.9% (-10%), because one in ten customers decides to buy somewhere else. So, the elasticity of demand is -0.31 (far from the optimum of -1) and the price change has increased the value of click. The total margin grows to $179,100, and the profit also grows to $79,100.

It means that the ROI is now 79%, and, as we already know (from PPC data in the column B) that the elasticity of clicks is 2, it means that the ROI > 1/E (79% > ½). Therefore, we can think about PPC expansion. The advertiser changes the campaign (column D), again increasing CPC to $1.10, and the number of clicks grows to 120,000 again. This time, however, the total margin grows to $214,920 and the profit after PPC cost grows to $82,920.

If we compare columns A and D, we can see that not only the profit grew, but also the total margin and number of transactions are higher. The optimization of prices allowed buying more expensive PPC traffic that the advertiser could not previously afford.

The example above shows how important the optimization of click value is. Although this process is independent from the PPC campaign parameters, it can open new opportunities in advertising and allow expansion that could not be previously considered.

If PPC clicks are too expensive for you, you might need to change your prices. Although a big part of e-commerce businesses tend to keep their prices too low and over-invest in PPC, it can be different in each particular case. It’s worth to stress that the only way to determine if the CPC bids and prices are too high or too low is to measure the elasticity of clicks and demand and then modify CPC bids and prices up or down accordingly.

 

Image Credits

All images by Witold Wrodarczyk/Adequate Interactive Boutique

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