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Understanding Google’s latest research on micro-moments and the implications for your marketing

It’s no secret that mobile has dramatically impacted how we do business and how consumers interact with brands online – the latest mobile adoption data indicates that mobile is still on course to overtake fixed internet access and that mobile ad spending accounts for 49% of digital ad spending.

As a result of this mobile shift, Google has conducted some interesting ethnographic research over the last year to explore how consumer behaviour is changing and gain an understanding into the needs of real people. Some of the stand out insights from the research includes:

82% of smartphone users use their phones to influence a purchase decision in a store

62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away to solve an unexpected problem or task because they have a smartphone

90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress towards a long-term goal or multi-step process while out and about

91% of smartphone users turn to their phone for ideas while doing a given task

Google’s research has led them to the conclusion that consumer decisions don’t happen in a defined, logical order, if they ever did. Instead, they happen at seemingly random times in a consumer’s life – what Google have defined as ‘micro-moments’.

What exactly are ‘Micro-moments’?

Micro-moments are moments when consumers act on a need, e.g. to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something or buy something. They are intent-rich moments where decisions are being made and preferences shaped.

Google recommends marketers consider four key moments and explain the importance of Moments in relation to mobile devices:

“We turn to our phones with intent and expect brands to deliver immediate answers. It’s in these I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments that decisions are made and preferences are shaped”.

Research presenting the increasing importance of these four ‘Moments’ is summarised in the visual below.

It’s not just Google who are pushing this concept. Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond tells us that ‘Consumer Engagement Is Shifting Toward Micro Moments’ whilst Brian Solis of Altimeter Group has explained ‘Why CMOs Need to Invest in Micro-Moments’.

From the Zero Moment of Truth to Micro-moments – an evolution

The introduction of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) challenged marketers to consider new, intentional strategies to enable brands to become discoverable and capture attention in the discovery stage before guiding consumers through to purchase.

Micro-moments is follow-up to ZMOT and influenced by the increasingly ubiquitous nature of mobile among consumers. Instead of thinking about one common Zero Moment of Truth in any given situation, Micro-moments encourages marketers to consider many different, real-time, intent-driven micro-moments related to hundreds of different scenarios, all of which give marketers an opportunity to shape consumer decisions.

How do micro-moments influence modern marketing?

In many ways the underlying theme of Google’s Micro-moments research is not new. The idea that the consumer journey no longer follows a predictable, linear model, and the need to create more fluid, bespoke personas for our customer groups, has been covered before:

However, where I think Micro-moments is particularly interesting is in the mind-set shift it encourages us to adopt. Living in a mobile-orientated world has dramatically impacted how consumers think, search and buy online and as a result marketers must respond accordingly in order to succeed.

Micro-moments in action

With Google’s data and research in mind, let’s consider some examples of Google’s Micro-moments in action and how they may influence marketing decision-making:

People evaluate purchase decisions ‘in-the-moment’

Consumers have their smartphone to hand at all times and this has implications for brands who sell products in physical locations. According to Google, 1/3 of online consumers aged 18-34 say information discovered through search caused them to buy a more expensive product in a store if that product is more effective.

This insight provides a clear opportunity with search. Mobile means consumers can instantly search and compare products in the moment, meaning marketers must win these moments by providing timely and relevant information, such as product details, reviews and testimonials.

People solve problems ‘in-the-moment’

If something breaks or goes wrong, or if a consumer suddenly thinks of something they might need in a given moment, they’re likely to pick up their smartphone to take action. Google has found that online consumers purchase in unexpected places – 39% in the kitchen; 28% in the car; 21% in the bathroom.

In moments like this it’s important to be found so search is again a key consideration. However, in order to seal the deal marketers must also ensure that the mobile experience is consistent from start to finish. The user experience and shopping process must make things easy for the consumer, meaning products are first easy to find, followed by a painless checkout process.

People pursue big goals in small moments

We often think that buying a large purchase, such as a new piece of technology, car or even house, as something that requires dedicated research time carried out in one go. However, nowadays research is conducted in ‘stolen moments’ spread across the day, for example waiting in a queue, during a lunchtime break or sitting in an airport or train station.

Google has found that mobile queries for mortgage calculators have grown 66% since last year, illustrating the demand for research tools such as these ‘on the go’. Mobile moments are critical within long consideration journeys, with people chipping away at bits of research in free moments. Marketers must therefore ask:

• Do I offer the right experience for the screen and the context?

The micro-moment action plan 1. Make a moments map

Identify a set of moments you want to win or can’t afford to lose by examining all key phases of the consumer journey.

2. Understand customer needs in-the-moment

For each moment you want to win, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ask “What would make this easier or faster? What content or features would be most helpful for this moment?”

3. Use context to deliver the right experience

Leverage contextual signals like location and time of day to deliver experiences and messages that feel tailor-made for the moment.

4. Optimise across the journey

People move seamlessly across screens and channels. Ensure your brand delivers seamlessly in return and don’t let competing objectives or department silos stand in the way.

5. Measure every moment that matters

While the return on investment for certain moments may not yet be directly measurable, use credible estimates to ensure nothing’s falling through the cracks.

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How Vpns Can Help You Overcome Internet Security Threats

If you are looking for a secure and private way to browse the internet, then a VPN is the perfect solution. VPNs are becoming increasingly popular for their numerous benefits. They provide an added layer of security to your online activities and help you access content from around the world.

1. You Can Access Geo-Blocked Websites

If you’ve ever tried to access a website only to be told it’s blocked in your region, you know the frustration. This type of content is called geo-blocked content. Fortunately, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you get around these types of restrictions.

A VPN allows you to connect to a server in another country, allowing you to bypass regional blocks and access websites that would otherwise be unavailable to you.

This means that if you want to access Omegle in a country where its access is banned, you will have to use a VPN for Omegle to access the website in your area. So, no matter where you are in the world, a VPN can help you access geo-blocked content.

2. You can Browse the Internet Anonymously

Using a VPN is essential for anyone who wants to stay secure and anonymous while browsing the internet. By connecting to a VPN, your data traffic is routed through a secure tunnel that encrypts your information, making it unreadable to any third parties.

3. You can Stay Safe Online

When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network without a VPN, you are vulnerable to hackers who could steal your data or infect your device with malware. However, with a VPN, your data is encrypted and secure.

4. You can Download Files Safely

Downloading files from the internet is never safe. You don’t know when a hacker will be ready to log on to your computer by feeding malicious software through the downloaded files.

With a VPN, you can access websites and download files without worrying about exposing your data to cybercriminals or other third parties. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server you’re connected to, protecting your information from being intercepted.

Furthermore, some VPNs offer added security features like an automatic kill switch and a no-log policy to ensure that your information stays private.

Maximizing Returns: How Dpat Can Help You Profit From Africa

Cryptocurrency’s fame is at an all-time high and the digital asset economy has now reached a staggering value of more than $1 trillion. Africa too stands to reap immense benefits from its potential for growth in this field, making it the perfect destination for crypto success!

Direct Property Africa Token (DPAT) is the first company to harness this potential and offer an end-to-end solution that allows users to profit from the booming African real estate and infrastructure markets. DPAT has launched a NFT marketplace that allows developers to raise funding for their projects directly from global investors. 

DPAT is transforming how individuals view Africa and the profits that can be realised from the continent. With a team of passionate industry veterans expertly merged with crypto professionals and blockchain fanatics to form an inclusive community – it’s no surprise they are quickly becoming leaders in the continent’s adoption of digital technology.

Direct Property Africa Token (DPAT): An Overview

DPA Token is a game-changing, revolutionary blockchain based platform that has revolutionized the world of emerging market real estate investments. By embracing decentralization and creating a secure Web3 environment, DPAT has opened opportunities for investors from all corners of the globe to access borderless projects related to property development, infrastructure construction and more.

With an estimated population of 1.1 billion by 2050, The African Development Bank predicts that the African middle class is set to explode with tremendous potential for the continent. This anticipation will be especially true in the coming five years as 200 million people make their way towards urban centers, making this boom one of history’s largest real estate expansions! Consequently, Africa stands to reap immense rewards from its increasing economy and populace size as it continues growing in strength and stature.

Top Cities Where You Can Maximize Your Returns By supporting DPAT

Lagos, Nigeria: With its thriving economy and rich culture, Lagos is the perfect place to start your African journey. The city is home to some of the largest real estate projects on the continent, making it a prime market for investors looking to maximize their returns.

Cairo, Egypt: As one of the most populous cities in Africa, Cairo offers access to an array of lucrative opportunities. Cairo’s growing commercial sector has attracted foreign investment from all over the world and makes it an ideal destination for those looking to get involved in the African property market.

Accra, Ghana: The capital of Ghana is an emerging powerhouse in the African real estate market. As one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent, Accra presents investors with many opportunities for growth and returns.

Nairobi, Kenya: With its high-tech infrastructure and booming job market, Nairobi is a great place to invest. As one of East Africa’s leading financial centers, it has become a major hub for businesses from all over the world and presents numerous possibilities for those looking to capitalize on African investments.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: As one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, Addis Ababa is an excellent choice for those interested in expanding their portfolio to include new markets. The city’s burgeoning IT and tech sector have attracted a great deal of foreign investment, making it a prime spot for those seeking to maximize their returns.

Cape Town, South Africa: As one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on the continent, Cape Town offers an array of investment opportunities. With its bustling economy, thriving tourism, diverse culture, and world-class infrastructure, investors can capitalize on the city’s offerings to maximize their returns.

The Bottom Line

With urbanization rates escalating, population growth booming, and greater connection to the world economy, African cities are faced with both difficulties and possibilities for quick real estate and infrastructure expansion.

DPAT is one of the leading blockchain projects in Africa and stands out from the crowd as its ground-breaking model combines alternative funding for developers and builders while offering global investors alternative markets to diversify their portfolios. Traders and investors are locking in short term price action gains and holding for long term appreciation from this well-rounded tier 1 project.  

Find more information HERE   

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Stop Covid

AI to identify, track and prevent future outbreaks

The better we are at identifying and following the movements of the virus, the better we will be at fighting it. By analyzing news sources, content published on social networks or publications made by different governments. We will first learn to detect new outbreaks of the disease and, therefore, before we can act.

AI to aid in the diagnosis of the disease

Another key to stopping the virus is being able to carry out early tests, so that the first symptoms can be directly related to those of the disease. Companies like Infervision are working in this field with the Chinese giant Alibaba.

Thanks to the use of Big Data, the patient’s history. They can determine with a success rate higher than 90% if that person has already been infected or could likely have it. So the treatment procedures can be started even before obtaining the results from medical laboratories.

Using drones to deliver medicine

It is something that has already been successfully demonstrated in China. Where an aerial drone corridor was able to establish between the Xinchang Disease Control Center and its People’s Hospital. Drones have also shown their effectiveness in urban surveillance tasks, urging people to “go home,”

Developing new medications

One of the companies that is leading the cause is Google. Its Artificial Intelligence unit, Google Deep Mind, works to determine the complete structure of the proteins. That may involve in the structure of the virus so that effective treatments can be found.

A similar case is found at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, belonging to the United States Department of Energy. There, a group of researchers is using Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, to aid in the fight against COVID-19. This supercomputer, developed by IBM for this department, is being used to identify and study drug compounds that can help find a cure.

AI to identify affected individuals

It may be the most controversial use of this technology. And it may only be implemented in countries where citizen surveillance is routine, but it seems to work. Companies like SenseTime have adapted their facial recognition systems to identify on the street or in closed spaces (a shopping center, for example). If a person shows external signs of being suffering from COVID-19, by crossing this facial recognition as the person’s background and all available information about the area in which they live. With this, a reasonable probability estimate can be made.

AI for vaccine development

Of all, the best news we could give right now is that Artificial Intelligence is helping to find an effective vaccine against COVID-19. Currently, some of the most powerful computers in the world are in this effort.

They are making use of AI techniques that allow them to process much more information in less time, based on probability models. In China, companies like Tencent, DiDi, and Huawei have made almost all of their resources available for this cause. And, likely, we will soon see how these efforts multiply in other parts of the world.

These Machines Were Supposed To Help Win The War In Afghanistan. What Happened?

This week the world has witnessed the stunning, historic takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban forces, marking a dramatic end chapter to roughly two decades of American-led war. 

As recently as May, the United States maintained a network of bases across the country, supporting the government it had backed for nearly 20 years in an ongoing war. This week, the number of troops deployed by the United States has quadrupled from the 2,500 it was in May. Meanwhile, the area of US control has shrunk to just Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the United States is overseeing evacuations of foreigners and vulnerable populations out of Afghanistan. 

The flights out have seen heroic feats, like the C-17 transport that carried out hundreds of people. There have also been fresh tragedies, with Afghan witnesses reporting between three and four people falling from the outside of a plane, before crashing onto houses near the airport. Human remains were also found inside the wheel well of a C-17 after it landed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, according to an Air Force spokesperson. 

The airport, located in the country’s largest city and capital, is named for the long-serving former president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a government that existed in July and may not anymore. The Taliban, a group that once ruled most of the country and waged a decades-long insurgency to reclaim it, proclaimed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan today.

The shocking events are the latest chapter in a war that saw the direct arrival of American troops in October, 2001, when the United States arrived leading a multinational invasion against the Taliban. This invasion followed the 9/11 terror attack by al Qaeda on the United States, which was planned and coordinated from training camps inside Afghanistan. 

[Related: The Taliban have seized crucial US military equipment, including data on Afghans]

But for Afghans, their long years of war began far before that, with a palace coup in 1979, which then led to a decade-long occupation by the Soviet Union, who fought that entire time against a coalition of armed insurgents in Afghanistan. After the USSR left in 1989, regional warlords fought and factions coalesced, with the Taliban consolidating their control over most but not all of the country by 1996.

Over the nearly two decades of direct US involvement in this war, between the eras of Taliban rule, over 170,000 people were killed in the violence. These numbers include an estimated 66,000 Afghan national military and police, and estimated 51,000 Taliban and other insurgent fighters, and a minimum of 47,000 Afghan civilians. (A higher estimate, by the Costs of War project at Brown University, places the total dead in fighting that spanned Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan at 241,000 people, with at least 71,000 of those civilians.)

Observers are still figuring out what led to the rapid collapse of the Afghan National Defense Forces, which came just over a month after the United States had vacated the massive Bagram Air Base it used to headquarters much of the war effort. It is a rout with both immediate and likely much deeper seeded origins. The consequences of that abrupt end, from feared reprisals to the diminished futures under a deeply different vision of government, have led to a rapid exodus from the country, especially among Afghans who worked with the United States. 

Popular Science’s ‘War Report,’ revisited

In February 2002, PopSci took a look at the machinery of the US war in Afghanistan. Titled “War Report,” it was written as “troops were on the ground and phase 1 of the war was ending.”

As the likely last phase of the US role in the war in Afghanistan draws to a close, it is time to revisit those weapons. The story of the war is much more than the machines used in fighting it—wars are prosecuted by people, of course—but the machines matter because they are a broader part of that process. Looking at how the weapons were used and heralded on their first use in the war in 2001 offers some insight into what changed, and what didn’t, in the intervening decades of combat.

Five aircraft were featured prominently in “War Report” for their role in the dawn of the war. Many of them are still flying today, at the sunset of the war.

A B-52 is refueled over Afghanistan in 2023. Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott / US Air National Guard

The B-52

The Air Force’s longest-serving bombers were already old by the start of the October 2001 invasion, and are now practically ancient. As War Report acknowledged, “the newest of the B-52s used in Afghanistan was built in 1962, long before many U.S. airmen were even born.”

The AC-130

Also flying above the skies of Afghanistan this August were AC-130 gunships, which first flew into action against the Taliban in 2001. Operating almost like an 18th-century ocean-going ship, the AC-130U “Spooky” gunships that flew in 2001 had three big guns sticking out of the left side of the craft, which it would fire while circling people, buildings, or vehicles below. These weapons include a gatling gun for use against light vehicles (like trucks), an anti-aircraft cannon that can be fired at longer range than the gatling and with somewhat more accuracy, and a howitzer artillery piece, used to destroy buildings. 

The Air Force formally retired the AC-130U gunships in 2023, replaced by the similar AC-130J “Ghostrider.” The Ghostrider features a similar array of guns, and adds to that package several bombs and missiles, including the Hellfire missile common on armed drones. 

A MQ-1B Predator in Afghanistan in 2024. Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys / US Air Force

The Predator

Alongside the B-52s and AC-130 gunships that attacked Taliban forces this summer were MQ-9 Reaper drones, the direct descendant of the more-famous Predator drone. (The lineage is so direct that Reapers flown by Customs and Border Patrol are known as Predator-Bs.) In 2001, Predators flew above Afghanistan.

Predators had seen war before, flying above Bosnia and Kosovo and other countries in the Balkans in the 1990s. In fact, Predator drones based in Uzbekistan even flew over Afghanistan in the summer and fall of 2000. These Predators were operated by both the Air Force and the CIA, and were unarmed surveillance planes, useful for directing other aircraft to a target but incapable of launching attacks with weapons of their own.

Arming Predators with anti-tank hellfire missiles, which were lightweight and fast and could kill clusters of people as well as destroy vehicles, fundamentally changed the role of drones in the war. By February 2002, remote pilots using Predator drones had successfully launched fatal attacks against people linked to al Qaeda in Afghanistan, a role Predators would pursue there and above countries like Yemen and Somalia for years, until all Air Force Predators were retired in March 2023, with their job replaced by Reapers. (The Gnat, an even earlier drone that led to the Predator, was also flown over Afghanistan in 2001).

An RQ-4 Global Hawk in an undisclosed location in 2010. Staff Sgt. Eric Harris / US Air Force

The Global Hawk

The Global Hawk is as massive as drones go, and capable of flying for over 30 hours continuously. (As a remotely piloted vehicle, that means switching remote pilots multiple times while the Global Hawk is airborne.) The cameras on the Global Hawk allow it to scan vast sections of terrain, letting one vehicle keep watch over entire battlefields.

Global Hawks are still in use today; one older model was famously shot down over the Strait of Hormuz near Iran in 2023. The Air Force is actively trying to retire more of its older models in less dramatic ways, though Congress has prevented that effort out of a concern that the absence of surveillance by these drones would impede US missions. Beyond cameras, the Global Hawk drones use high-resolution radar to track movements below.

The E-8C Joint STARS

Looking like a business jet with a long bulge underneath the fuselage, the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JointSTARS) is a modified Boeing 707 jet. The E-8C saw action in the 1991 invasion of Iraq. Its flight crew of four keep the plane airborne, while a “mission crew” of people across the Air Force and Army operate the sensors inside. The long radar built into the belly of the craft is the chief tool of the plane, and it can look for vehicles moving on the ground up to 150 miles away. 

“The radar system acts much like a VCR in the hands of one of the 18 operators onboard the plane,” said Popular Science in a phrase that perfectly dates the story to 2002, “who can fast-forward through images recorded during the previous 6 hours or run them backward to show, for example, where a column of vehicles originated.”

Radar is built to track movement, so if a vehicle stops moving, the human crewing the radar can record the stop for when movement starts again. Once the E-8Cs arrived over Afghanistan in 2001, they stayed in the broader Middle East for 18 years, moving on to other theaters and other missions in 2023. The Air Force plans maintenance and upgrades to keep the fleet flying into the 2030s.

Classifying Invertebrates Is Hard. Butts Can Help.

When French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck set out to categorize the animal kingdom in 1801, he divided it into two groups: vertebrates, those with spines, and invertebrates, those without. The terms have stuck around for more than 200 years, but around 1900, scientists realized that they’d been categorizing wildlife wrong. Plenty of animals without spines—like starfish, invertebrates that extrude their own stomachs to eat—are more closely related to us than to their shellfish prey. Certainly, some animals have spines, and others don’t. But the spineless world is defined by much more than what it lacks. 

The real line that separates humans from insects, slugs, and shellfish? The answer lies partly in the anus. According to more recent thinking, the development of butts has become a key question for taxonomists cataloguing the diversity and evolution of the animal kingdom.

All animals begin life as a rapidly dividing bundle of cells. Early in that process, the embryo is just a tiny sphere of cells. But to develop a gut, the round blob needs to somehow turn itself into a donut. To do so, a dimple forms on the sphere, and eventually pushes its way to the opposite wall. In humans and starfish, that dimple becomes the anus, working its way back to a second opening—what becomes the mouth. In shellfish or crabs, these openings develop in reverse; the original dimple usually becomes the mouth.

That distinction separates most animals into two categories: deuterostomes, or “mouth second,” and protostomes, or “mouth first.” While all vertebrates are butt-first, not all invertebrates fit into either bucket. Even the textbook Invertebrates: A Synthesis distances itself from the word “invertebrate,” writing on the first page, “The distinction [between vertebrate and invertebrate] is hardly natural or even very sharp.” So-called invertebrates aren’t categorized by their lack of spine, so much as their approach to the anus. 

[Related: Watch beetles shoot hot chemicals from their butts to escape toad bellies]

Or so it used to be. “It is true that deuterostomes were classically said to be defined by the development of the anus,” says Imran Rahman, a paleontologist at London’s Natural History Museum, “but we now know that some protostomes also develop in the same way.”

More recently, researchers realized that certain mouth-first animals, like some species of brachiopods, a type of shellfish, developed butt-first. Others develop both at the same time, where the spherical embryo hollows out and rolls over on itself like a burrito. In 2024, a team demonstrated that the shape of the gut is actually an artifact of a more subtle process: The embryo transforms from a sphere into a stretched out, shrimp-like shape.

That would mean that our common ancestor may have evolved the shrimp-like physique first, and then figured out how to build its guts. The findings, the researchers argued, suggest that anuses (or in some cases, mouths) have evolved over and over again.

That could explain the case of the comb jellyfish, which branched off long before the ancestors of starfish and humans had evolved a waste disposal system. Most jellies have what are called “blind guts”—an entrance with no exit. Most gulp down food, digest it, then spit up the remains.

It’s possible that the anus is much older than scientists realize, and comb jellies are evidence of a common ancestor with a through-gut. But it’s also plausible that the butt is just so valuable that jellyfish have come up with it on their own.

And indeed, the oldest purported ancestor of humans, starfish, and all so-called “mouth second” animals is, intestinally speaking, a lot like a jellyfish. The creature was a seafloor-dwelling animal, called Saccorhytus coronarious, or “crowned wrinkly bag.” It was about the size of a pinhead, and had a huge, gaping mouth on top of a round body. It had no anus, but was covered in pores that its discoverers believe to be a precursor to gill slits. “However, not everyone is convinced by this interpretation,” says Rahman.

The name deuterostomes has stuck around, though. More recent genomic work has demonstrated that we still evolved alongside animals that basically share our intestinal toolkit, letting us know that the animal kingdom is defined as much by butts as by spines.

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