Trending March 2024 # Why You Need To Enter The U.s. Search Awards Now # Suggested April 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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This post was sponsored by We Are Search. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

The U.S. Search Awards is the premier celebration of PPC, SEO, and content marketing excellence across the United States – attracting entries from California to Massachusetts and North Dakota to Texas.

Now in its ninth year, the awards recognize the incredible creativity, innovation, technology, and people in search today.

The awards are judged by an esteemed panel of leading, international search experts – serving as a valuable and authentic acknowledgment of the outstanding work that takes place within the industry.

This year, there are 43 categories that encompass multiple industry sectors from retail to health.

Judges are looking to recognize outstanding campaigns and agencies that embrace the thinking and approaches specific to the sector, whether through the creative use of content, innovative use of data, or technical implementation.

We welcome entries from agencies of every size – no matter how large or small your budget or how big or little the marketplace.

Why Should You Enter?

Entering, making the shortlist, and winning the awards are all opportunities for showcasing your expertise, attracting new clients and talent, and improving brand awareness.

Winning agencies also get a chance to shine in a 12-month U.S. Search spotlight.

For the agency and team, winning an award is a form of personal recognition. It also contributes to success becoming an integral part of your organization’s culture and employee expectations.

This kind of recognition helps increase productivity and commitment – ultimately reducing staff turnover and dissatisfaction.

A winning team wants to remain a winning team, so the drive and determination to retain the title will see a continuation of outstanding work that could see your agency taking home trophies and accolades year on year.

Our Winners Say…

“Winning the U.S. Search Awards for ‘Best Local Campaign’ is amazing! Being listed as a winner next to agencies we respect, reinforces the commitment we take to trust, transparency and results in SEO. We are very grateful for the exposure winning the award has brought to our Agency, and for the new client opportunities that the US Search Awards provided as a result.”

– Michael Hodgon, Marketing Director, Infront Webworks

“Our most recent U.S. Search Award win puts our grand total to 11 awards over the years, including 3x as Best Integrated Agency – large and small. Such validation from our treasured industry peers certainly brings us great pride, but more importantly assures clients and prospects that we’ve earned our place among the best search and digital marketers in the world. A U.S. Search Award speaks volumes about quality, innovation, and leadership.”

– Marty Weintraub, Founder & Creative Director, Aimclear

Ethical, Transparent & Respected

The U.S. Search Awards are brought to you by We Are Search and Don’t Panic Events, both highly respected, ethical, and transparent award specialists who are proud holders of the Awards Mark Trust.

The robust two-step judging process which includes pre-scoring and a judging session ensures that U.S. Search Award accolades can be trusted by the industry, partners, and associates.

U.S. Search Awards 2023 2024 Dates to Remember

June 18 – Early Bird Close

June 25 – Entry Deadline

July 14 – Judging Session

July 16 – Shortlist Announcement

October 7 – Awards Ceremony

Entry Fees

Exclusive Multiple Entry Offer

Any organization submitting 10 entries will receive an additional 2 free entries which will automatically be applied at checkout when submitted together.

Entry Essentials

Entries must relate to work undertaken between April 2023 – June 2023.

All entries must not exceed 1,000 words.

Entry questions differ per category, please be careful when submitting the same campaign into multiple awards.

Entry Process

It’s easy to submit your entries to the U.S. Search Awards.

If you have never entered before, download The Don’t Panic Guide to Entering an Award or talk to the Award Experts at We Are Search who will guide you to the categories that most apply to your campaigns and teams.

We Are Search

We Are Search delivers Search Awards around the world including European Search Awards, Canadian Search Awards, APAC Search Awards, and MENA Search Awards. 2023 saw the introduction of the Global Search Awards.

The We Are Search Top 100 is the Search Awards leaderboard for excellence. Currently, U.S.-based companies inhabit spots 3 and 4 but this could all change following the 2023 U.S. Search Awards announcements.

It will be exciting to see the international competition hot up over the year.

Visit We Are Search for details of all the Search Awards, articles, and updates from judges and for the latest Top 100.

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9 Youtube Url Tricks You Need To Try Now

YouTube is the single most popular video streaming service on the internet. You’ve probably used it to do research, watch movies or TV shows, or maybe you have YouTube personalities that you love to follow.

What you may not realize is that there are a lot of hidden YouTube URL tricks you can use that will make your YouTube experience more streamlined. In this article, we’ll cover the 10 most useful URL tricks you can start using right now.

Table of Contents

1. Start a Video at Any Point

Whenever you put a YouTube video link into a browser, the video starts at the beginning. However, there are times when you’d like to share a particular part of a video rather than making someone watch the whole thing.

You can do this by editing the YouTube URL with &t=MmSSs and replacing M with the minutes and SS with seconds. The combination of minutes and seconds should mark the point in the video where you want it to start.

If you only want to start the video less than a minute in, you can omit the minutes addition like this:

You can paste this link into a text message, email, or social media to share it with others.

2. Skip the Start of a YouTube Video

An alternative to specifying the number of minutes and seconds into the video is to just skip the beginning of the video by a set number of seconds.

This is useful if you’d like to skip a long video intro. To do this, just append a start point in seconds. For example, to skip the first 45 seconds of a video, you’ll just need to append &start=45.

When you press Enter, you’ll notice that the URL automatically changes to the previous format, inserting the start time in seconds.

3. Create an Infinite YouTube Video Loop

On YouTube, there are a lot of videos you may enjoy playing in the background. These include ambiance videos like a fireplace or rain or even background music. You may want to leave videos like these running non-stop while you do other things.

There is an alternative site called chúng tôi that will take any YouTube URL and play it in a non-stop loop. To do this, just visit the YouTube video that you’d like to loop. Edit the URL and replace chúng tôi with YouTubeLoop.net.

Press Enter, and the chúng tôi site will play the YouTube video in an infinite loop.

This will loop the video permanently until you repeat the process and deselect Loop.

4. Autoplay Embedded Videos

If you’re planning to share a YouTube video with a friend and want to have it play instantly when they open it, there’s another neat YouTube URL trick you can use. 

To do this, just append ?autoplay=1 to the end of the video URL.

When your friend opens this link, the video will automatically start playing.

Note: In past years, you used to be able to paste links like this in social media or WordPress and the video would autoplay, however, this feature is disabled on most platforms now since they’ve become such an annoyance to users over the years.

5. Disable Related Videos

When you embed your own videos that you’ve made on your website, YouTube will often display related videos to your viewers. If you really don’t want to support your competition with extra traffic, you can disable this feature by appending ?rel=0 to the end of the embed URL.

To get the embed code, select the Share icon under your YouTube video and copy the iframe code.

In WordPress, create a code block and paste the iframe code. Append ?rel=0 at the end of the YouTube URL.

Now, when your visitors watch your YouTube video on your site, they won’t see any related videos at the end.

6. Download YouTube Video Thumbnail

If you’re writing an article or a paper for school and you want to mention a video while embedding the thumbnail into the document, there’s an easy service that lets you download the thumbnail.

To do this, you just embed the video ID into the following URL:

You can download the YouTube video thumbnail using this link:

You’ll see the video thumbnail appear as an image on the page.

7. Create a Playlist Without a YouTube Account

You might already use playlists on YouTube. If you select the Save link under any video, you’ll see the option to save the video to one of your existing playlists, or create a new one.

But what if you’ve collected a list of several video IDs and you just want to watch a playlist without actually saving it anywhere? You can do this with a single YouTube URL trick.

Just insert each video ID you’ve collected into the URL as shown above, separated by commas. You can append as many video IDs as you want. For example, if you have four video IDs, your URL will look something like this:

When you paste this into a browser and press Enter, you can watch all videos in order as a quick playlist.

8. See Only Your YouTube Subscriptions

If you visit the YouTube main page as most people do, you’ll see a list of YouTube recommendations for you. Many of these may be irrelevant and nothing that you actually care about.

This will open YouTube and only show you all of your subscriptions, and nothing else.

No more irrelevant recommendations, just start watching the stuff you already know you love.

9. Create a GIF from a YouTube Video

Have you ever wanted to create a GIF that you could share on social media featuring your favorite TV clip or movie scene? You can do this if you can find a very short YouTube video featuring that scene.

You can use a site called chúng tôi that’ll let you create and edit a GIF based on any YouTube video, so long as you have the ID.

chúng tôi

So if your YouTube video that you want to create a GIF from is NO8k8m, you just have to append this into the chúng tôi URL as follows:

This will open the entire video on the chúng tôi website in a simple editor tool. First, select the timeline of the video at the point where you want your GIF to start.

Next, select the point in the timeline where you want your GIF to end.

Select Create GIF, and walk through the quick wizard that will create the GIF for you. On the last step, you’ll see several optimized links for social media that you can use, or download the GIF to your computer.

It couldn’t be any easier to create fun GIFs that you can share wherever you like.

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter Advanced Search

And while many still view Twitter as a mere social media platform for following friends and being followed, a significant number are exploiting its immense potential as a business marketing platform, specifically for lead generation.

In fact, 82% of B2B marketers preferred using Twitter in 2023, which makes it second only to Linkedin for that audience.

Who Will Marketers Find With Twitter Search?

Contrary to earlier expectations – that Twitter growth would decline or flatten out – statistics show that Twitter growth is anything but stagnant.

Based on Twitter’s most recent quarterly filing, usage data shows that the platform grew by 24% relative to the preceding quarter, representing an additional 14 million users.

In the US, as of September 2023, 52% of Twitter users reported accessing (and probably using) the social media platform every, single, day.

And the Twitter Search function— specifically its Advanced Search feature— has huge business potential, through lead generation, for changing the marketing landscape.

What Exactly Is the Twitter Advanced Search Feature?

There are two Search features: the general Search feature (that you’ve most likely used) and the Advanced Search feature.

Let’s first explain the general Search feature.

The general Search feature is on the right-hand side of your laptop.

If you’re using a smartphone, however, the general Search is represented by the magnifying icon at the bottom of your mobile phone screen.

You can’t glean much from these general searches because your search range is limited.

That’s where the Advanced Search feature comes in.

How to Access Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature

You can access the Twitter Advanced Search by first using the general Search feature referenced above.

On your laptop, key in your search phrase. Let’s choose [Tesla], the company associated with Elon Musk.

After typing [Tesla] in the general search field, you’ll spot some three straight dots on the right-hand side of the screen.

If you point your cursor at the three dots, the word “more” will pop up.

By now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “That’s great for desktop users. But what about mobile?”

Advanced Search Fields

You’re going to get a pretty long list of search fields to choose from, which can be a little overwhelming. For example, under the heading “Words,” this list appears:

All of these words.

This exact phrase.

Any of these words.

None of these words.

These hashtags.

Written in (language).

Other headings include:

People.

Places.

Dates.

Other.

What’s cool about these fields is that you aren’t limited to choosing just one. So, for example, you could perform a search that combined an exact phrase, from specific accounts, during a specific date range.

Before moving on to what happens after you hit Search, let’s explore some of the common search queries and how you can use them to refine your searches.

How to Use the “Words” Field in Advanced Search

Perhaps the most commonly used search feature, there are six fields under the “Words” Search category on Twitter’s Advanced Search.

Let’s take a look at each so you understand what they mean.

All of These Words

Use this field to find tweets that include the words or phrase you type. To ensure the best search results, use quotation marks.

If you’re searching for tweets and you aren’t sure of the exact phrase, you can query some relevant and specific words — whatever you think the original tweet or tweets must have contained.

This Exact Phrase

Use this field to enter a very specific phrase.

So if you were searching for tweets about Heisman Trophy winners that attended USC, for example, you would enter [USC Heisman Trophy Winners] instead of just [Heisman Trophy Winners].

One cool thing is that quotes are automatically added in this field.

Any of These Words

Use this field to search for a group of related words.

The search field would add the word “or” between each word or phrase you typed to trigger the most specific results.

None of These Words

If you want to search Twitter but omit certain words or phrases, this is your search option. Using this field will eliminate any tweets that contain words or phrases you don’t want to be included in a search result.

For example, you may want results for [USC] but exclude any mention of [USC football].

This is an effective way for businesses to exclude search results for the names of other companies in the same industry.

These Hashtags

If you want to search for a hashtag, whether it’s a hashtag of your brand or the hashtag of a competitor, this is the relevant search option. For example, if you’re a sneaker company and you want to check out what people are tweeting about regarding a big brand, you could type [#Nike] to get results.

Any Language

Use this field if you want to get information about tweets written in one of the more than 50 foreign languages listed.

This may help if you are analyzing the foreign market in your industry or have a brand that operates in multiple countries.

How to Use The “Account” Field When Doing Advanced Search

Formerly named “People,” under “Accounts,” there are three different fields that can alter your search results depending on what you type.

Just type the username of a person with a Twitter account, or several usernames separated by a comma.

Then choose whether you want results exclusively sent by that account, to that account, or that mentioned that account.

Just remember to use proper Twitter accounts that begin with @.

How to Use The “Engagement” Field When Doing Advanced Twitter Search

The depth of engagement is measured by the number of retweets, replies, and likes a tweet receives. A tweet that generates thousands of retweets is doubtless an engaging tweet.

The way to do this is to specify the minimum number of retweets, likes, or replies in the search field or any combination of those three.

By doing this, you will absolutely weed out posts that add more noise and don’t add value to your search.

How to Use The “Dates” Field When Doing Advanced Twitter Search

If you remember a tweet but you can’t remember the exact date it was tweeted, the “Date” option has you covered, that is if you can remember the period within which the tweet was sent out.

Under the heading ‘Dates,’ you can select a specific date range and only receive search results from that time.

You’ll simply enter the date ranges, and the relevant tweet will be displayed, regardless of how long ago the phrase was tweeted.

One thing to note is that the first tweet was sent on March 21, 2006, so the system would default to that date if you entered a date earlier than that one.

Don’t Forget the Search Operators

These will help you weed out the useful tweets from the pics of what users had for dinner.

How to Understand Advanced Twitter Search Results

Twitter has an algorithm that will determine how you get the search results and in which order.

While what drives the nature and order of Twitter’s Advanced Search results isn’t known with certainty, several metrics may play a role.

These may include tweets that have elicited a certain level of reaction, relevance, time-lapse of the tweet, and location, among others.

After you have typed in all the information to generate a search, the results page will include the headings:

Top: This is a list of what Twitter considers the tweets that are triggering the most reaction.

People: These are the accounts of users based on your search criteria.

Videos: These are tweets with links to videos on other websites.

After reviewing the results, you may realize that you need to refine or broaden your search. You can do that by simply going back to the Advanced Search page.

Depending on the level of analysis needed, there are also paid programs that can email alerts based on hashtags, business name, etc. An example of this is Twilert, which is basically a Google Alerts for Twitter.

There are several ways to use this Twitter search feature to drive revenue through lead generation.

One way to do this is to assess what customers complain about regarding your competitors’ products. Then you can use this information to improve your product.

The Advanced Search feature can provide your business with valuable demographic information, information about prospects in your local area, and lead generation opportunities.

When your goal is lead generation, you will want to focus on these areas:

People.

Places.

Dates.

Other.

1. Competitor mentions

2. Product or service mentions

Type in the name of a product or service you offer under Words. If you sell computer security software, you would type that phrase + a “?”.

You can use the results to create a database of people who have made inquiries about products or services you sell and reach out to them about what you can offer.

But they are effective because they identify people who are unhappy with products or services they purchased or people who have expressed interest in those products and services but may have not yet engaged with a seller.

But there are other ways.

Check out these 8 Terrific Tips to Optimize a Twitter Business or Brand Profile.

Another Tool in the Your Marketing Tool Chest

Twitter Advanced Search helps you to analyze your market, judge how your competitors are doing based on positive or negative sentiment, and improve your geotargeting based on the number of tweets in specific locations.

It may take a few searches before you understand all the ways you can manipulate the results.

But once you do, you can hone in on the information you need to help boost your Twitter marketing efforts.

More Resources:

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Why You Should Need To Next Generation Smart Home Gadgets

Which were the most common smart house gadgets in 2023? Bright speakers and smart home safety apparatus were the hottest.

Do intelligent house gadgets replace your present apparatus? Occasionally, yes. But several clever devices also work together with your old technician.

Which are the greatest new smart house gadgets in 2023? Continue reading if you want to see our trailer selections, and watch the most recent arrivals in our smart house collection.

Which were the most common smart house gadgets in 2023? Bright speakers and smart home safety apparatus were the hottest.

In 2023, lots of new devices revealed the genuine value of smart house technology. However, the greatest, most exciting developments are to come. Following is a peek at the next-gen smart house gadgets which are very likely to take off at the brand new year.

June Oven Intelligent Countertop Oven

Smart house technology is coming in the kitchen, also. June is a smart oven which could cook and recognize 65 kinds of meals with no human input. Additionally, it preheats three times quicker than regular ovens.

Price: $599 USD, pre-order

SiB Programmable Smart Button

Voice controller is great once you’re in range of your speaker. However, with the SiB button, then it is possible to activate many different smart devices using a fast tap.

Cost: $5 USD

Sunflower Drone Security System

The next generation of safety systems will require a more active part in protecting your property. Sunflower picks up motion with inactive detectors and launches a smart drone to explore.

Cost: TBA

Also read:

Top 5 Automation Tools to Streamline Workflows for Busy IT Teams

Arlo Pro 2 Smart HD Security Camera by NETGEAR

In case your house security budget does not extend to drones, NETGEAR delivers a fantastic choice. Arlo Guru 2 catches crisp HD footage from almost any weather and even after dark, using built-in Wi-Fi for streaming.

Cost: $169.90

Smarter 3rd Gen iKettle Smart Electric Kettle

USD You can schedule it using the companion program, control it using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or automate it using IFTTT.

Cost: $149.99 USD

Wink Lookout Smart Home Security Suite

Another very wise alternative is Wink Lookout. This security suite comprises a motion sensor and two door detectors to detect risks, and it may send alarms to your mobile phone.

Cost: $199 USD

VARRAM Pet Fitness Robot

Petcare will be a significant fad in 2023. VARRAM is an early example — this wise robot encourages your pet to run about and play with chase by doling out occasional treats.

Cost: $99 USD

Bose Home Speaker 500 Alexa-Powered Smart Speaker

Up to now, most clever speakers have provided underwhelming sound. But that varies with the entrance of Bose. This Alexa-powered monster delivers epic stereo audio on demand.

Cost: $399.95 USD

FROLIC Studio Smartians Cloud-Connected Smart Actuators

Another important trend in 2023 is the automation of”dumb” devices. The Smartians are little actuators that may envision bodily switches when they’re triggered through the company program or from IFTTT.

Cost: TBA

Next-gen smart house gadgets for your New Year

With CES 2023 only days away, we are really eager to find out what smart house technology arrives at the New Year.

What type of smart house technician would you prefer to see? tell us!

23Andme Can Now Test For Brca Mutations. Here’s What You Need To Know.

The Food & Drug Administration is finally allowing 23andMe to provide testing for the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 and 2. Back in 2013, when the direct-to-consumer company originally starting selling the test, the FDA clamped down and forced 23andMe to verify its genetic health risk evaluations. 23andMe had to prove the genes they were testing for were related to a health condition, and show that the tests were accurate.

But it also means we’re handing out data to people who might not be adequately prepared to hear it, and who might not actually understand what they’re getting. Testing positive for a genetic mutation often doesn’t mean you’ll get the associated disease, and we still don’t really understand how exactly genes impact your overall health. Before, when you had to get your genetic information through a counselor, a trained expert walked you through the process and explained the complex factors that go into disease risk. Now you get your answer from a website.

There’s a lot to unpack about this new BRCA test, so let’s take a few minutes to discuss what’s at stake here.

What is BRCA, anyway?

Inside your cells, you have a set of proteins whose only job is to identify and fix mistakes in your DNA. Every time your cells divide (which, by the way, happens millions of times a day), they have to replicate your genetic code to pass it along. Individual mutations—which is what we call any mistake in your DNA—happen all the time, but your repair proteins fix most of them before they cause any harm. Mutations most often come in the form of one DNA building block being swapped for another, but sometimes they occur because a DNA strand breaks, and the repair protein mends the strand imperfectly. Maybe a piece is lost, or the wrong end of the strand gets stuck back on. If just one strand snaps, the repair proteins can usually match the right end. But if both strands break at once, repair proteins struggle to make it right.

This is why the majority of women with BRCA1 and 2 mutations go on to develop breast cancer. In the general population, 12 percent of women develop the disease at some point in their life. But having certain BRCA1 or 2 mutations ups those odds to 72 and 69 percent, respectively. It also increases your chance of getting ovarian cancer, though not by nearly as much.

These mutations are inherited, so women with a strong family history of breast cancer—especially family members who got cancer in both breasts and/or at an early age—are often encouraged to get a genetic test. Being a carrier of these mutated genes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop breast cancer, but it increases your odds so much that doctors tell people with positive results to get screened for cancer earlier and more often.

Does the 23andMe test work?

In order to get greenlit by the FDA, 23andMe had to prove that their test was clinically valid, meaning it can detects BRCA1/2 mutations with high accuracy and precision.

The big caveat here is that the 23andMe test only looks for three possible mutations out of more than 1,000 known variations. Not all of those are harmful, but many are, and the 23andMe test can’t tell you whether or not you have most of them. A negative result means you don’t have the three most common BRCA1/2 mutations, but you might have others.

It’s also worth noting that these three mutations are almost exclusively found in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Though you may have Jewish heritage that you’re unaware of, most people not of Ashkenazi descent are going to test negative through 23andMe regardless of whether or not they’re actually a carrier for other BRCA mutations.

Should I get the 23andMe BRCA test?

Very few physicians would recommend BRCA testing for the broad population. Less than one percent of people have a BRCA1/2 mutation, so screening everyone isn’t practical or ethical. You’d end up with a lot of false positives—meaning the test says you have a mutation, even though you don’t—because no test is 100 percent accurate. But it is often recommended that you get a test if you have a family history of breast cancer, or if a family member has a known BRCA mutation.

Before home DNA tests, you’d have to go to a genetic counselor to discuss whether you should get a BRCA test at all. The National Society for Genetic Counselors argues that this should still be the standard. “Anyone who has a strong personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer and is interested in finding out more about their individualized risk should consult with a genetic counselor to discuss their genetic testing options, or to discuss their results,” said Erica Ramos, President of the NSGC, in a statement. Though it’s never a bad idea to go talk to a counselor, not everyone still agrees with that idea.

“I have become more open to the fact that not every person who gets BRCA testing needs a pre-emptive counseling session with a certified genetic counselor,” wrote Leonard Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society, on his official ACS blog. “Even the genetic counselors have told me they have better things to do with their time, and that there are acceptable alternatives to informing those who want to know more about the test before they get it, such as computer-based information modules.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which reviews evidence for various screening tests and offers a recommendation, says that women should first be screened for a family history of cancer and that “women with positive screening results should receive genetic counseling and, if indicated after counseling, BRCA testing.” They recommend against getting screened if you have no family history suggesting BRCA mutations.

“Given the importance of integrating medical and family history in understanding the implications of the results, it is similarly important that these be considered when deciding which tests are needed,” says Michael Watson, Executive Director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. “Not only is it important to have knowledgeable professionals involved in interpreting the clinical implications of the results of these tests for a specific individual, it’s equally important that these knowledgeable professionals be involved in informing people of which test is most useful for them, if any.”

He notes that many of the other health conditions that direct-to-consumer tests look at don’t have a lot of clinical relevance. If you find out you’re predisposed to certain eye diseases, it probably won’t change what your doctor recommends you do to stay healthy. But Watson explains that the BRCA mutations do change your situation. Some women will have preventative mastectomies or hysterectomies to confront an extremely high likelihood of cancer.

There’s no one right or wrong answer to the question of whether you should get the test or whether you should talk to a counselor. But it can’t hurt to talk to a medical professional.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that companies who profit from selling you a genetic test are the ones encouraging you to take said test. It used to be that DNA testing companies got their business through doctors and genetic counselors. Now those companies are coming directly to consumers, and we shouldn’t assume they have our best interests at heart.

23andMe receives a steady stream of income from selling customers’ genetic information. Some of it goes to research institutions, but they also sell to for-profit companies who use that data to try to develop new drugs. Though they may have nothing but good intentions, 23andMe only profits if people take their tests. It’s not in their interest to tell you that this may not be the right choice for you.

That being said, 23andMe is also a fairly cheap and easy way of looking at genetic markers for health risks. It’s probably not the ideal way to learn about those risks—that’s why we have counselors—but it’s not the worst. And if you’re unaware of your family history—if you’re adopted or estranged from your biological family—getting a test like 23andMe can be an accessible way to learn some basics.

What happens if my test says I’m positive?

Should your test say you have a BRCA1/2 mutation, now you should definitely talk to a genetic counselor. 23andMe doesn’t directly provide those services, so your best bet is to use the NSGC’s “Find a Counselor” tool. You’ll also probably want to talk to your primary care doctor about the results, since they should be aware of your situation. It’s possible they’ll ask you to consider some proactive treatments, depending on how high your risk is. And if you test positive for one of the common BRCA mutations, they’ll definitely want to put you on a more intense cancer screening regimen than the general population.

You may think that if you know what the results mean and don’t care to do anything about them, you don’t need to see a counselor. But here’s the thing: you don’t know what you don’t know. Genetic counselors are trained to talk to people who have just received what is, undeniably, life-changing news. They will know what you need to be aware of, and should you experience any anxiety or depression from the news, they’ll get you help. And perhaps even more importantly, they’ll know if you should follow your 23andMe results with a more in-depth genetic screening. There are many other mutations out there related to breast cancer, and some of them can raise your risk for other kinds of cancer, too.

23andMe repeatedly brings up the study they did showing that receiving a positive BRCA test didn’t have negative impacts on their customers. That may very well be true, but you should also know the conclusion came from interviewing just 32 people who responded to a request to participate in the study, out of 136 people who tested positive. Out of those, 16 were men. Male carriers still have a significantly elevated risk, but their lifetime risks of 1.2 and 6.8 percent for BRCA 1 and 2 respectively are still lower than the average woman’s breast cancer risk. It also slightly elevates the risk of prostate cancer.

When asked about their emotional response to the news, three women and one man reported that they were moderately upset, indicating they “couldn’t stop thinking about the result.” Another three women and 6 men were somewhat upset, meaning they felt “initial disappointment” or “felt anxious at first but then anxiety went away.” Nine women and eight men were neutral (some of these may have been people who already knew they were carriers, since five women reported they had already been tested).

And what if it’s negative?

Since the test only looks for three mutations, a negative result on the 23andMe test isn’t a guarantee of anything. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you should go to a genetic counselor and ask about getting a full screening. It’s only with a broader test that you’ll know whether you’re truly a carrier, which can inform your future plans for cancer screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms. So unless you also want to take 23andMe for other reasons, it doesn’t make much sense to use it for BRCA. Just skip right to talking to your doctor. 23andMe may be cheaper if you’re trying to get tested without insurance, but it’s still not going to do you much good when you’re left with incomplete results.

What if I don’t want to know?

No genetic test is to be taken lightly, so everyone should consider the possible outcomes before they get one. Maybe it’s right for you, maybe it isn’t. Just think about it first. And if you’re at all willing or able to do so, talk to a doctor or genetic counselor, too.

Why Machine Learning Is Key To The Search Marketing Of Tomorrow

Advertising has changed a lot over the years.

There was a time when machine learning, automation, and software-based marketing tech stacks weren’t a “thing.”

But now we’re past the days of just radio, outdoor, print, and a handful of channels on TV.

There are hundreds of channels across physical and print media and online at present, including social, mobile, and video. Even TV has diversified into hundreds of cable channels on your remote control. And yet, digital ad revenue has gone on to surpass that of TV.

The dominance of digital is nothing new. Paid search marketing is becoming more data-focused than ever before.

So, What Do You Do with Big Data?

Why?

Is it because machine learning, automation, and software will completely replace savvy digital professionals and their creative ideas?

No. Far from it.

I believe that the future of digital will be a combination of smart marketers – like yourself – empowered by smart automation based on machine learning. As it happens, in a survey we recently ran on the subject, 97 percent of top digital marketing influencers (including speakers from AWeber, Oracle, and VentureBeat) agreed.

What Is Machine Learning & Why Is It Important? Digital’s Data Problem in Three Parts

Data is a challenge in modern marketing. There’s significantly more of it than there used to be, and as marketing technology matures, it becomes capable of collecting even more on top of that.

1. Overload

Data overload is a known problem. There’s too much of it – an overwhelming abundance of it already.

Yet Oracle points out that digital data growth is expected to increase globally by 4,300 percent by 2023. This problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

2. Ownership

Veritas reports that 52 percent of all business data is “dark” (of dubious or completely unknown value), and projects that mismanaged data will cost businesses $3.3 trillion by 2023.

3. Integration

There’s also a problem with siloing. Most businesses collect data in different buckets that aren’t necessarily integrated directly with each other, or indeed, with their own in-house marketing tech stack.

Accenture reports that while three-quarters of all digital skills gaps (the gap between a team member’s current level knowledge and the level of knowledge they need to successfully use new tech and tactics) come from lack of ownership, the remaining 25 percent of digital skills gaps come from a lack of integration.

And Then There’s the Changing Customer Journey

Advertising isn’t limited to a handful of channels. There are literally thousands of ways to reach customers, and pretty much all of them can be easily tuned out by an audience of increasingly demanding and disaffected customers who expect to have exactly what they’re looking for delivered to them instantly (and who will react poorly when it isn’t).

Research firm McKinsey breaks down the all-important consideration stage of the buying journey into four parts: “initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them.”

The firm also finds that two-thirds of the touchpoints in the crucial evaluation stage are customer-driven, including browsing online reviews or soliciting word-of-mouth recommendations.

How Does Machine Learning Solve These Problems?

Machine learning can be used to rein in the challenge of data, particularly when combined with disciplines such as probability-based Bayesian statistics, regression modeling, and data science. One of its greatest strengths here is the ability to take data-driven insights and build predictive models.

These predictive models can, in turn, be used to proactively address points of peak buying interest, attrition, or other key moments observed in the customer buying journey.

Examples of Machine Learning in Action

Let’s look at some examples of the way this technology is being used.

Chatbots & Voice Assistants

You may have noticed an increase in the use of conversational interfaces from major publishers such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook in the form of chatbots and voice assistants (Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana among others).

TOPBOTS notes that chatbots can have uses in unique, consumer-based contexts, such as event ticketing, health-related questions and the ever-important sports scores. These interfaces create a relevant and engaging user experience by supplying conversational responses based on historically-collected data – the most commonly-used or highly-searched terms.

Predicting & Preventing Customer Churn

A significantly deeper-funnel strategy at the post-purchase stage is to use machine learning to forecast common points of customer attrition.

Microsoft Azure and Urban Airship have both built predictive analytics models to determine the approximate timeframes and buying stages at which customers tend to most frequently churn. By projecting these important points in the future, these businesses are then able to proactively address common complaints before customers churn, driving higher retention and ultimately strengthening their businesses.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Semantic Distance Modeling

Takeaways

Machine learning isn’t necessarily a threat to marketers. On the contrary, it’s a powerful ally that’s making marketers’ lives easier while empowering them to predictively engage their customers in a highly relevant way.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time – and with the power of machine learning, marketers are able to more accurately accomplish this goal by relying on actual data, rather than guesswork.

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