This release sees over one hundred and eighty updates, with a host of critical improvements across the Affino service. The most significant updates are the Live Events, the public Accounts (Companies / Brands) and related areas.
The Live Events updates centre around creating great experiences for live event users, highlighting live seminar video and chat streams, showcasing the sponsors in the most effective manner, and maximising the post-event experience through media highlights and collaboration spaces.
Affino now provides a powerful set of tools for promoting brands and their products, connecting with their resellers, including geo-targeted dealer listings showing the nearest dealer for the brand.
Products are showcased through articles, videos and podcasts, including our great reviews platform, and we have further evolved the review comparison toolset to provide even better ways of showcasing and comparing products.
Behind the scenes we have introduced new conditional attributes on articles, this makes it far easier to work with big topic hierarchies, so that rather than presenting all the topics on the editorial screen at the same time, the user can drill down to the topics needed, and select just those.
There are also a host of fixes, optimisations and usability improvements in this release, which will have an immediate impact, including the new swarm bot detection for faster identification and throttling of malicious bot nets; the ability to run subscription renewal campaigns through conversion events and active management for a more nuanced approach; enhanced ad campaign delivery which overcomes all the recent ad blocking measures; the ability to hide discounts and line item totals on pro forma orders and invoices for more nuanced sales, and much more.
Seminars - Live Events
We are introducing a new generation of Live Event capabilities to Affino in this release. These are centred around Seminars, and feature a new post event tab showcase on Events. The major seminar enhancements revolve around featuring the live streams directly within the seminar listing, detail and itinerary screens. This way the audience can track the live broadcasts throughout the day and join in from any of the key seminar screens. Each seminar showcases the live feed 15 minutes in advance.
The second set of key updates revolve around featuring Sponsors more effectively throughout the agenda. Firstly it is now possible to have up to two event sponsors and two stream sponsors within the seminar listing itself (note the stream sponsors are only shown on the list view). We have also enhanced the individual seminar sponsor placements so that these are larger and more impactful on the seminar detail where there are fewer featured sponsors. Finally, we have also updated the display logic on Seminars, so that it is possible to feature an entire column of sponsors to the right of the seminar listing (on wide screens), showcasing all the key event sponsors. This is done on the Skin by adding a side panel.
We have added post live video upload capabilities so that each seminar can display the recorded live stream after the event, making this an essential long term resource. Note also that Affino supports live YouTube and Vimeo video streams as core embeds and media items. Meaning that they can be showcased throughout your site.
You will see a number of new attributes on the Seminar Profile including Headline Sponsor 1 and Headline Sponsor 2, and for each Topic Stream it is possible to select up to two Stream Sponsors. These are all link articles for showcasing clickable link logos.
You will also see new Join Now and Watch Video links for live video, e.g. Zoom, YouTube Live, Vimeo Live, and post session video reviews, i.e. native, YouTube, Vimeo. Note: Once a post event video is uploaded, the Join Now button will be replaced by the Watch Video button.
Accounts - company brands, resellers, geo sorting and lead generation
We continue to upgrade company directories rapidly. This release sees greatly enhanced lead generation from company listings with the new ability to list out geo-targeted dealer networks for brands (this could also be nearest branches, or offices). When users browse to the brand (account), they can navigate to the dealer (offices) tab where they are presented with the nearest dealer to their postcode using the new postcode search.
We have greatly enhanced how accounts, and their offices / dealers are presented with a host of new options on how each is presented ranging from how the social icons are sequenced, though to what details to display in each case, and if when clicked on the user is taken through to a premium level dedicated dealer page (rather than a subsidiary page on the main account). In essence this supports multi-tier directories with a host of sellable options for both primary brands and dealers.
Together, these add up to great new abilities to promote brands and their associated dealers. When used alongside Affino’s review and comparison capabilities, these combine into excellent brand, product, and dealer network promotion capabilities.
This release sees the introduction of deep Account Page Analytics. We recently introduced the core Affino Site Analytics for tracking access to public account directory pages, and we have taken this further in this release with a monthly breakdown of the number of clickthroughs to the client’s website, email address, direct messaging, and offices (which can also be used for dealer referrals). These are charted and displayed in-depth on the Account detail screen.
Message Template Editor - WYSIWYG Drag-and-drop (beta)
The message editor has moved forward by leaps and bounds. It now looks great, and we have added a host of improvements to message formatting and management, including the ability to rename the message template within the editor and much improved usability all-round. There are still further usability and styling enhancements planned prior to the final v1 version and as always, welcome your feedback on this new feature to Affino.
If you have a Staging site, we recommend updating to this release and testing thoroughly prior to updating your main Affino instance. Note that all active scheduled tasks are wiped when you update the site - so make sure that any required ones are completed prior to running the update.
It is important to liaise with the support team to schedule in an update window where they can be on hand to support with the update. It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the sequence of the system and design updates laid out on the Control > Update screen.
Note that we now have a current list of Affino Beta Elements which can be found here.
Article Attributes - new conditional article attributes are now available for articles. When used, you select the top level attribute, which then lets you drill down to lower level attributes for selection. This is especially useful when you have large attribute data sets, e.g. for products, product comparisons and reviews.
Article Import / Export - we have added a host of Review related columns to the Article Import and Export. The columns have been added to the right of Multimedia and are: ReviewQuote, ReviewRating, Review ShowImageAsSlideshowYN, ReviewFullWidthYN, ReviewDetails, ReviewScore, ReviewVerdict, ReviewPros, ReviewCons. Note: Please ensure you download the sample import file each time you upgrade your instance.
Article Listing DE - When the ’Exclude Duplicate Articles’ option is selected, Affino now also excludes the article on the Prime Content. Which means Affino is no longer recommending the article you’re reading.
Article Profile - key updates to deliver a more effective article profile with improved grouping of attributes and the new ability to set conditional article attributes when editing articles.
Articles Report - we have enhanced the Articles Report so that the Shares, Message Clicks, Readers and Accounts columns now also adhere to the Time Frame filter. Note that we have removed the Topic and Style columns, but these both remain as filters. This update also sees the official full release of the Articles Report (no longer beta). Note: If you have bookmarked the Articles Report, you’ll need to re-bookmark this link as the title has changed.
Auto Archiving (User) - numerous improvements in the user auto archiving workflow. New audit trail for each archive action, showcasing a smart status on each user record. This release sees further refinements to the process including for those with active orders.
Bot Detection (Swarm and Email) - improved swarm bot detection in Affino automatically slows down or blocks over-indexing / accessing of the Affino SaaS by swarm bots. This improves the overall site performance and quality of the analytics. We have also implemented a new email bot detection engine to more gracefully handle email bots, i.e. ones which index from email links, this will in turn improve the message campaign analytics.
Campaigns - enhanced campaign presentation to overcome ad blocker advances, full delivery resumed.
Catalogue Items - updated On Sale filter so that it now has the following options: All | On Sale | Not On Sale.
Catalogue Item Import / Export > Major Updates for Subscriptions
We have made significant updates to the Catalogue Item import with a dozen new attributes supported, including all the ones used in subscription sales. Other new and updated attributes include those for store credits, checkout notice, cancellation, contact list capture, catalogue groups and targeted currency.
Comparisons (Reviews) - multiple formatting enhancements to ensure that the reviews align well, and look great with differing content.
Content Subscriptions (Articles) - new Send Via Content Subscription attribute on articles. Content subscription alerts are now only sent when selected, meaning you control the exact timing of the alert.
Conversion Events - this release sees further major optimisation to conversion events. To achieve the best performance we have split out the actions from each conversion event between those which fire immediately, e.g. security related ones, and those which have a slightly delayed action, e.g. notifications. In practice we have also resolved a number of complications around them as well for overall improved execution. This release sees a new trigger for ‘adding to comparison’ when users are comparing product reviews.
Cookie Profile - we have added three hard-to-find Text Items to the cookie profile for the Accept All Cookies, Cookie Settings and Save Settings labels.
Dynamic Forms - New Account Passthrough Field type. This field passes through the Public Account Name in a Dynamic form and can be used alongside Account directories for direct lead generation, i.e. click on a Message Account link from the Account page, through to the dynamic Form, with the option to directly message the primary contact on the account. On the acknowledgement screen Affino now displays the answers below the questions, rather than have them side by side.
Editions - further refinements on the circulation calculations to include the new Active Awaiting Payment status to the circulation figures and data.
Events - new post event tab setting on events, when selected the event will default to this tab as the main tab event (and be placed as the first tab) once the event has ended. This way you can best feature the post event content.
Forums - added the ability to unsubscribe from all forum thread subscriptions quickly. Improved forum search so that it now no longer opens all the forum search options when searching all forums.
Media Selector (Media Upload) - we have added some nice enhancements to the image media selector, as well as a host of minor fixes, e.g. better support for apostrophes and long names. As well as the dimensions, Affino now also displays the file size.
Menu DE - multiple critical updates to the Menu DE in this release, making it an essential update. In practice we have transformed both the management and live display for the menus.
Message Campaigns - added further smarts to split tests on message campaigns, including handling scenarios where users are deleted half way through a split test. Note that this fix makes this a critical update to message sending, which otherwise might stall.
Message Templates - we have added the Created column to the listing and Affino now default sorts them by the most recent up top. Note that given all the updates you will either need to clear the canvas on your existing alpha wysiwyg templates, or simply create new ones.
Object Designer - when adding a new cell, the default is now to add it below (which is the most frequently selected option).
Password Reset - enhanced to better support browser and other password managers.
Pro Forma Orders - new options to Hide Line Item Totals and to Hide Discounts. These are crucial in a host of sales scenarios, in particular ones where it is a complex contract with multiple elements where blanket discounts are applied, often to close the deal. By being able to selectively hide the line item totals and the discounts there is a great deal more flexibility in the proposals sent / contracts signed and the underlying financials and reporting. We have added support for VAT numbers on Pro Forma Orders, checking against both the EU VIES Service and the new UK HMRC API to ensure valid VAT numbers are being used.
Scheduled Tasks - it is now no longer possible to run scheduled tasks manually, unless the user has the developer security right. This prevents duplicate tasks being run or data being processed out of sequence except by authorised personnel with the appropriate security right.
Search Update - major update to support reindexing each type of content included in the site search, as well as the forms.
Staging Service - it is now possible to test Catalogue Item Imports on staging instances.
Stop Codes - Affino now displays the actual Stop Code when viewing the Stop Code detail, this is to support adding Stop Codes to Order Line Items and Subscription Imports.
Subscriptions - we have added a new ’Active Awaiting Payment’ status to subscriptions. This recognises active subscriptions awaiting payment, and ensures that those subscribers are authenticated and granted access. The existing Payment Pending status is renamed to ’Inactive Not Paid’. Affino now shows the Payment Status on each subscription when viewing or editing it (control). We have also updated a number of subscription labels throughout the control centre for consistency. Affino now fully supports the Renewed and Cancelled subscription statuses for free as well as paid for subscriptions, at the point when a subscription ends and the renewal has either been renewed or cancelled. Note: As there are changes to subscription statuses, please check your business workflows to understand the changes made here.
Subscription Renewal Profile - major update to the renewal profile for the subscription renewal campaign automation. It is now possible to run the automation without sending any campaign messages. A new attribute: ’Renewal Campaign Days Before Expiry’, sets the starting point for the campaign for firing off the initial conversion event (this used to be fired off by the first message). Note that for Pro Forma generated orders, the automated renewal notices is only sent to the customer (not the end user), and if there are multiple quantities, the conversion events are not fired off. Note: If you’re using the Subscription renewal profile for managing automated renewal messages, it is important you check these are still working as desired.
Team Time - you will start to see the re-introduction of Team Time in this release. It’s Affino’s In / Out board with fast task tracking and reporting. We find this an essential tool for remote working and team management. Expect to start seeing profiles and references to Team Time, to be fully re-introduced in an upcoming release.
User API - new option to lock down the User API to only make available selected methods to any particular Profile. This will support for instance subscription and security validation without passing back any personal identifiable information. We have also added a new method to return a users security group codes.
Fixes are elements which didn’t work as well as they should, and have now been made to work better. Minor enhancements provide subtle improvements that most people won’t notice (some will love), but which nonetheless improve on the overall Affino experience.
Accounts (added commas to the address line)
Article Analytics (adding contacts to lists)
Article Carousel DE
Article Editing (multiple)
Article Imports (crucial fixes)
Article Listing (topics)
Articles Report (multiple)
Contact (commerce tab > shopping carts)
Conversion Events (multiple)
Design Centre (colour picker, sticky rows)
Directory (topic editing)
Dynamic Forms (multiple - including conditional filters)
Editions (circulation calculations)
Featured Article (formatting)
Orders (payment status)
Manual Related DE (thumbnails)
Menu DE (multiple)
My Account (cancelling)
My Interests (message styling)
On Page Feedback DE (styling)
Prime Related Carousel DE (optimisation)
Product Listing (multiple)
Seminar Listing (arrows and formatting, filtering, itinerary, back button)
Site Search (predictive search, formatting)
Smart Auto-related DE (optimisation, duplicates)
Subscriptions (listing optimisation and fixes)
Subscription Plans (edit)
Subscription Renewal Profile
Video Players (popup)
The following elements were removed from Affino in this release:
No elements were removed in this release.
The following integrations were updated in this release:
Global Payments - removed the phone number field from the address details being passed through. Note that a further update to pass through validated phone numbers will be in a future release and is not yet supported.
PayPal - fixed issues with the PayPal integration
Stripe - further updates to handle payment anomalies
Twitter (Cards) - improved support for Twitter cards, especially on Android.
Affino benefits from using some great frameworks, here are the updates we’ve rolled out for these frameworks in this release:
DataTables updated to - no change
JQuery updated to - no change
JQueryUI updated to - no change
FontAwesome updated to - no change
HighCharts updated to - no change
TinyMCE updated to - updated to v5.7.0
Video.js updated to - updated to v7.11.2