Pay-Per-Click and "Clicks" Versus "Clicks"

Low Quality High Volume Clicks

When I launched my first pay-per-click campaign I was seduced by the thought of getting as many clicks as possible. I figured that with a lot of clicks I would get more sales and sales would be a percentage of all the clicks I received. Unfortunately, the conversion, that is the ratio of sales to clicks, where consistently much lower than 1%.

Where I went wrong was that I estimated an advertising budget and divided it by the profit margin of the product. This gives the number of sales that I would need to make to cover the advertising budget. I estimated that my conversion rate would be around 1-4%.  The basic math is shown below:

  • Advertising budget := $240 per month
  • Estimated Product Profit Margin = $8.00
  • Sales to cover advertising budget = $240/$8 = 30 units per month
  • Estimated conversion rate: 1-4% — assume around 2.5% on average
  • Clicks needed to make 30 sales: 30/0.025 = 1200 clicks monthly
  • Maximum bid price per click $240/1200 = ~$0.20 maximum bid per click.

The problem with this model is that the lower your conversion rate the more clicks you need to make the required conversions. And the more clicks you need, the lower the maximum bid price.

Unfortunately, as in everything else, the quality of the click, in this case measure by how likely it is to be converted to a sale, is directly related to the the maximum price. And if you follow this model what happens that you get a lot of low quality clicks with very few sales. This causes your advertising costs to exceed sales revenue. At least, this is what I experienced. Therefore, I needed to modify my strategy.

Strategy 2.0 — Keyword Search

What I tried next was to very carefully select my targeted market. The pay-per-click service I am using has a tool that provides keyword suggestions and I used it to explore my options.

I found that some of the keywords had first page bid estimates that exceeded the estimated profit margin. I choose not to compete for those keywords and excluded them from my list.

On the bids that remained, the ones I could competitively afford, I initially bid at the estimated maximum. As a result the conversion rate significantly increased to well above 2% on the average. Furthermore, the costs per conversion decreased. This is the advertising costs for acquiring a sale.

 The PPC service I was using provided these numbers as part of the service. I had to set up the tracking which required that I load a custom script (provided by the PPC service) on the Web page where the customer confirmed a sale.

I would highly advise setting up the scripts and PPC service to monitor costs and performance. This information is required to effective manage the PPC campaign.

Strategy 3.0 — Content

At first, I had set bid for the content ads (image ads that are placed on affiliated network sites) at a relatively low amount. However, when the number of clicks I was receiving plummeted I panicked and I reset the PPC services to automatically manage the maximum bids costs. This had an immediate effect in that the number of clicks skyrocketed and so did the associated advertising costs. Unfortunately sales did not come even close to tracking the costs. So I reset the content bids amounts back to manual management and relatively modest bid amounts.

For content advertising,  carefully select the relevant placement networks. Also be aware that its is widely reported that content PPC is prone to click fraud. I have not experienced that myself but there are numerous mentions on the Web about this subject.

Another thing to be aware of is that content advertising is not as targeted as keyword search advertising. That is, in a keyword search your ad is placed in front of someone that has expressed an interest in the product — at least that should be case if the keywords have been selected properly. Whereas, in a content placement, the ad is placed in a broad category of similar products. As a result, the conversion rates will, in general, be significantly lower than keyword search placed ads.

Strategy 4.0 — Weed the Garden

Once a few weeks of performance data has been collected on the PPC campaign carefully analyze the costs and the associate revenue of keywords, content networks, text and image ads.  Remove those elements that costs more than they produce in revenue. Next examine those elements that remain and try to identify common traits. Use these common traits to add new elements with comparable traits.

Furthermore, use your intuition to select completely new untried elements. In short, experiment with something completely new and untried.

In addition to eliminating advertising elements that cost more than they produce, look at the days of the week that the ads run. If there are any days where the daily advertising budget exceeds the revenue consider not running the PPC campaign during those days.

A word on caution on this point, the decision to purchase may lag when the ad was seen  by some considerable time.  That is, the customer may see the ad on Friday and make the purchase on Monday. So if there is a sudden drop in sales when the PPC ad is shut off on select days then things need to be reconsidered.

Also, if the advertising costs exceeds revenue on most or all days the entire PPC campaign needs to be restructured.

Strategy 5.0 (Conclusion) — Need to Tend the Garden

Unfortunately you can just set the parameters and walk away from the PPC campaign. It requires constant attention. Things that work today may suddenly quit working tomorrow. Also there is always room for improvements no matter how well the campaign is performing.

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5 Emerging Technologies Among Java Developers in 2018

1) Unit Testing:

In the event that you need to improve as an engineer in 2018, at that point you should take a shot at your unit testing aptitudes. What’s more, not simply unit testing, but rather robotized testing? This likewise incorporates combination testing. You can learn JUnit 5 and other propel unit testing libraries like Mockito, Power Mock, Cucumber, and Robot to take your unit testing expertise to next level. Mockito is extremely effective and enables you to compose a unit test for complex classes by taunting conditions and simply concentrating on the items under test. In the event that you an apprentice in unit testing and need to learn it in 2018, you should gear up and work harder to compete your rivals.

2) Big Data and Java EE 8:

Big data has been a very trendy and encouraging field in the Software industry for the last 3 years. Plenty of jobs wait for the one who is comfortable with Big Data. This has been among top 10 technologies for the java developers in 2018. Many new features come with Java EE 8. Servlet 4.0 with support of http://2, new and improved JSON building and processing, improved CDI and Restful web services, new JSF version, new Java EE Security API are some of the updated versions in the field. But majority of back-end developers tend to pick Spring as their technology for java in 2018.

3) Node JS:

Today, we are pleased to have a platform that is built on the Chrome’s Java Script runtime known as Node.js. This has helped a great deal for easy building of the fast and scalable network applications in the dynamic world today. The code has the property of being lightweight as Node.js is based on an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. This has emerged as recent trends in the technologies employed by the java developers of 2018. It is very efficient and is perfect for data intensive and Real Time (RT) applications that may run across any number of the distributed devices.

4) Design Patterns and Readability of the Content:

No doubt, design patterns are neither are a technology nor a framework, yet they are the field of discussion among the java developers in 2018. Even in the present scenario, readable, clean and maintainable code is the goal of many java developers and it has to be this way only.

5) Angular and React:

If want to be known as a full-stack developer, it is mandatory that you have considerable knowledge in front-end technologies too. For building an attractive and eye catching presentation layer of the web-app, Angular and React offer the opportunity to do this in a more convenient and time efficient manner. Though React and Angular are not the only options available nowadays, but still their growth and popularity is evident from the positive reviews given by the end consumers.

Second Homes – Condo Hotels Make Sense

The Compelling Facts…

What if… Just 5% of the Baby Boom Generation learned of a cost effectice way to own more than 1 home in retirement? 75 million boomers will retire over the next 15 years, 5% equals a demand of 250,000 condo hotel units per year, every year unitl 2020.

What if… you could buy a second home/condo, use it when you wanted, and a professional (hotel manager) optimized the rental income and minimized the expenses while you were not in residence? Would this be more desirable than the alternative of doing-it-yourself for at least 5% of the population?

What if… you could deduct several homes instead of just 1 or 2?

What if… you could say you have condos in Town & Country and on The Slopes & Shore? And all these condos cost you less than just one traditional second home?

What if… all these properties appreciated like your home has?

The Condo Hotel opportunity will be the choice of more than 5% of the Baby Boom Generation, and the trend is just beginning. The condo hotel industry will also breath new life and prosperity into the hotel industry, making quality and ‘the best located’ hotels more profitable than ever. Condo hotel will separate the real estate business from the hotel service business and create a win-win for condo hotel ownership and hotel guests. Lastly, retirees of the next decade will expect more and be able to afford a higher lifestyle through condo hotel. These are the premise of this paper.

THE POWER OF THE BOOMER GENERATION…

Why are Baby Boomers Important?

81 million US Baby Boomers* (born between 1946-64) began to reach retirement age (59 ½) in 2004. 28% of the US population is a Baby Boomer. 2016 is the peak year, with 4.3 million 59 year old birthdays. A Boomer turns 50 every 7.4 seconds this 2005!

*Many non-US Boomers will choose to retire in the USA to be closer to the world’s best health care system.

per year: 4,000,000

per day (4.0 mil / 365): 10,958

per hour (10.6 k / 24): 456

per minute (456 / 60): 7.1

Boomers have just begun buying their second/retirement homes.

Michigan has 234,000 second homes, California has 237,000 and Florida has 483,000. 6.4 million people own a second home, up over 40% since 1995. By 2010, an estimated 10 million people are expected to own a second home, despite 9/11, this is a 56% increase in just 5 more years and could be considered a boom market by any measure. More people will buy in the next 5 years than have purchased in the last 10 years, competition for desirable retirement residences will only intensify, appreciate in values will follow suit. Low rates have helped fuel this real estate market, but they are a smaller part of the equation than is commonly believed. Currency exchange rates have a much more dramatic inflationary effect on resort area real estate.

The trend began in 2001, and intensified as interest rates fell in 2002-03, causing some boomers to “buy early”. Real estate further became the investment “du jour” as it became clear in 2001-02 that the stock market was ‘not returning the level of investment returns’ that many boomers had built retirement savings expectations around.

This lack of security and control in the stock market, and its positive effect on real estate investment, will be discussed further in this report.

In addition, tax ramifications for second home ownership has helped encouraged second home ownership says the Wall Street Journal “In addition to low interest rates and demographics, the second-home market has been helped by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which established new rules for the treatment of a capital gain on a principal residence. Under the old law, taxes on gains were deferred if the seller bought a new home of equal or greater value up to two years before or after the sale of the primary home. In addition, sellers over age 55 could claim a one-time exclusion of $125,000.”

New rules repealed the mandatory gain-deferral and increased the exclusion to $500,000, as long as a taxpayer owned and used the principal residence for two of the five years preceding the sale date of the home. Plus, the exclusion now can be claimed every other year.

These tax changes “liberated” sellers from the pressure to trade up to avoid a tax hit. Instead, says an NAR spokesman, it has encouraged many sellers to trade down to more modest digs, while using the remaining proceeds to purchase second and third homes. Tax changes have created a whole new form of property ‘trading’, where there is a tax advantage to buy a new home every 24 months, allowing a capital gain profit with zero tax cost. For many savvy investors, this has created a true ‘cottage industry’ in home flipping.

“The second-home market can accommodate 100,000 to 150,000 new housing starts a year over the next 10 years”, estimates David Hehman, CEO of EscapeHomes.

But why second homes? As many professional people have discovered, as technology allows us to ‘work from anywhere’; why not work from someplace beautiful, someplace ‘vacation-like’, from the cottage? The evolution of the home office has turned to the cottage office.

The typical vacation-home buyer is 55 years old and earned $71,000 in 2003, while investment-property buyers had a median age of 47 and earned $85,700.

For properties purchased between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the median price of a vacation home was $190,000 compared with $148,000 for investment homes. In contrast with the last available full-year price data in 2001, vacation homes have appreciated 12.8 percent from $168,500, and investment homes have risen 25.4 percent from $118,000.

Nearly one out of five second homes will become primary residences after retirement – 27 percent of vacation homes and 14 percent of investment property. “In addition, buyers were looking to diversify portfolio investments,” Mansell said. “This is now the most frequently cited motivation for purchasing a second home.” In listing the reasons why they bought second homes, respondents said there were some differences depending on the type of home. Overall, 30 percent of buyers wanted to diversify investments, 28 percent sought rental income (37 percent investment vs. 7 percent vacation homes), 14 percent wanted a personal or family retreat (29 percent vacation vs. 8 percent investment), 6 percent planned to use for vacations (16 percent vacation vs. 2 percent investment), and 5 percent had extra money to spend.

“Because the typical second-home buyer is a baby boomer, it’s likely over the next decade that second-home sales will remain historically high,” Lereah said. “The boomers are still in their peak earning years and have both the wherewithal and the desire to purchase vacation homes and investment properties.” Ninety-two percent of all second-home buyers see their property as a good investment. In addition, 38 percent said it was very likely they’d purchase another home within two years, breaking down to 47 percent of investment buyers and 16 percent of vacation-home buyers.

The 9/11 effect, and family values is another unpredicted phenomenon that many experts sight when discussing the second home market. The theory says that as Americans were shocked by the events of 9/11, they wanted to create more ‘family together time’ and come together in vacation destinations where far-flung family members could rejoin as a whole unit. Drive-to destinations were first to experience the effects on family-tourism from 9/11, these resort locations within a 2-5 hour drive from metro areas actually saw increases in occupancy immediately following 9/11. The theory is still evolving, but through my own surveys of boomers, this effect has merit on cottage demand. Drive-to vacation cottages is still the fastest growing market.

Can the demand for second home, resort properties and retirement residences be truly measured or is it just another version of real estate investment hype? A new study by NAR, shows that 23 percent of all homes purchased in 2004 were for investment, while another 13 percent were vacation homes. In addition, there was a record of 2.82 million second home sales in 2004, up 16.3 percent from 2.42 million 2003. The investment-home component rose 14.4 percent to 1.80 million sales in 2004 from 1.57 million in 2003, while vacation-home sales rose 19.8 percent to 1.02 million in 2004 from 850,000 in 2003.

The figures have merit and factual measurement. Real estate values in nearly all ‘vacation, resort, and retirement’ areas have out paced the overall market by double digit (alarming) rates. The working communities of America are not only lagging, but in many cases falling in real value (when adjusted for CPI inflation).

(A note about inflation & currency: All too often we read reports about the increasing value of assets like real estate without any discussion of the cost of inflation in these increases or the exchange value of the currency being used to value the asset. If the dollar falls in purchasing value by 30% against other currencies, the value of real fixed assets should correspondingly rise by 30% (if they are desirable for purchase by foreigners). Real estate markets that have a high level of foreign investment will appreciate quickly as the dollar falls, and fall if the dollar strengthens (Hawaii circa 1990s). If the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rises by 3%, then the value of a home that rises by 5% has truly only increased by 2%. It is disturbing to this author that this is not more openly discussed by our mainstream press, who by profession are journalists with liberal arts degrees, not MBAs. Watch the true inflation-adjusted appreciation rate, no the media hype.)

Can these high rates of appreciation in second home markets really continue? Many experts believe, “Yes!”, it can sustain for a long run (not months, but years). The fundamentals of rapid appreciation equate to supply growing slower than demand. Supply in areas such as South Florida have been rapid (78,000 new or planned condo units entering the Broward/Dade county market by 2007), but material shortages and hurricanes have slowed the ramp-up and created a large amount of pent up demand chasing reduced supply. Also, the foreign buyer demand in the Miami area is extremely high, this means these buyers are using currency that is 20-30% strong than last year. A 30% rise in property values is easily absorbed in this environment.)

In areas such as Arizona and Las Vegas, water concerns and lack of infrastructure and skilled laborers have slowed the rapid pace, but the grow rate is still staggering. Other scenic second home destinations, like the mountain states, Pacific Northwest and Florida Keys have environmental hurdles which raise the barriers to entry for developers and restrict supply. A restricted supply in the face of demographically empowered demand is always a formula for rapid price appreciation (CA in 1970’s).

What goes up must come down? Yes. But a 20% per annuim rise for 5 years, followed by 5 years of stagnation or a 10% loss, is still 5%+ annual growth rate (worse case). If leveraged at 90%, the return on initial investment is still 44% per year. The hard part is making sure the best years are in the beginning… even hard is selling at a peak. It is estimated that there are between 40-90,000 new condo hotel units coming to market by 2008.

The demand for these units will exceed 1 million buyers, so the price of condo hotel units could be much higher than presently expected.

Franchises – A Proven Business System

Franchises offer the first time business owner a proven and successful business opportunity. If you are looking to start your own business for the first time, franchises provide you with the greatest opportunity for success. When you purchase a franchise from the “Franchisor”, and become a “Franchisee”, you are not only purchasing a business, but a complete business system.

Franchises have over a 90% success rate, compared to about a 15% success rate for those indidviduals starting their own businesses from scratch. Franchises have spent years developing and modifying their systems of doing business, and they pass that “trial and error” knowledge on to their Franchisees. Initial training exists for every aspect of the business, which can last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. Training usually takes place at one of the franchises existing locations or their corporate office. Training may consist of the day to day “hands-on” positions required to run the business, to marketing, hiring, purchasing, bookkeeping, management and supervisory techniques.

Assistance is available with “demographic” reports to aid in selecting the right location. Support is also available for lease negotiation and “build outs”, if necessary. Pre-opening strategies and marketing materials for newspapers, print-ads, handouts, yellow page advertising, radio and even TV ads are are complete and professional.

During the first few weeks of business the Franchisor may provide its own personel to the Franchisee for assistance and support. This helps ensure a smooth opening. Additionally, once the business is open, a Franchisee will receive ongoing assistance and support from the Franchisor, not to mention support from the other franchisees, all who are all just a phone call away.

Once a year or more Franchise Meetings occur between the Franchisor and their Franchisees to exchange ideas, develop new techniques and strategies, and to compare progress and profits.

All of this is not free, of course. Franchisees normally pay the Franchisor an initial Franchise Fee, plus monthly royalties which can range from 3% – 12% of their total income per month. But it can be well worth it!

In owning a Franchise, you are in business for yourself, but you are not by yourself!

(Copyright 2005-ehbvi-http://www.businessventureinc.com)

Get Rich Quick – A Genuine Scheme Or a Scam?

The question I am always asked is “Do they work?”

My answer is usually a blunt “No, they do not work…well, not for you!”

There are many angles to these work at home business and the GRQ is actually part of another, much grander scheme. Hopefully you are intelligent enough to realise when something is too good to be true…

The simple idea behind the GRQ, is that an individual is selling valuable information, software, marketing tools etc, that will guarantee your success if used properly. They will often offer a money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied. Now, I don’t know about you…but I would not bother chasing an individual for my money back on a $5 piece of software. The limited guarantee will use legal jargon to illicit itself from the terms of such an agreement. There is no authority to help you chase up any claim should you require a refund, and such any refund will be offered under a limited stature, ie; a 30 day money back guarantee. The chances are, from the date of purchase it will take many months to wholly utilise any information as stated in the guarantee, therefore exempting themselves from any such agreement. It is on this basis that the GRQ guru makes his or her money. The information will be more than likely out dated, copied, incomplete, too technical to understand and usually designed to put people off before they even finish reading it. Again, it is this vague marketing of the product that relinquishes the seller of any comeback…they pray on the fickle human nature of someone who, for example, would even believe it was that simple to GET RICH QUICK!

“In a court of law, there is nothing about the GRQ that is technically illegal, you will receive exactly what you pay for. Basically, 99.9% of people will not understand, nor finish the literature.”

As times change, individuals have also had to adapt to the change in the market. Any businessman will know that to increase profitability, you have to decrease your costs and increase your market presence.

It is this very basic principal that has led to the turbo-seller! The cheek of this GRQ scheme is almost brilliant…

These new age GRQ program sellers, sell you little more than a few lines in an email and a few page-fronts to choose from. This has been so successful, that within ten minutes of browsing, I encountered no less then 17 different pages displaying the very same graphics. How can this be?

The seller will claim a 100% return on the buyer’s initial investment. Once purchased, the seller will (often in an automated email) dispatch say, 4 or 5 ready made front pages offering the very same content as the individual has just bought, with an email stating all they have to do is replicate their experience…and they will too make their return. Do this over and over again, and I would say it is possible to make some money…but not a lot. The market is already over saturated and without the know how to generate your own front pages and graphics…and the frame of mind not to have thought of the idea yourself…people inevitably get bored and give up. Meanwhile, the consumer becomes increasingly wise to seeing the same material on every website…and knows there is no more to this scam than, well, a scam!

The important thing to remember with the GRQ, which is true for nearly all internet schemes, is that they very cleverly, and legally, sell you exactly what they advertise.