Affino 8.0.15 - The Reputation, Directories, and Monetisation Release

AffinoCRMFeaturedperformanceSearch+-
2019AfBlgAffinoMonetisingReputation700-min

This Affino update sees a host of improvements throughout Affino, and together they add up to a significant push forward for engaging with, understanding and monetising your audience. The most significant push forward has been with Affino’s directory and reputation capabilities, and accompanying CRM improvements.

 

For the first time it is now possible to create company directories, and easily roll out featured editions in a simple manner. We have also greatly improved the ability to monetise individual and product directories, events and seminars. What these all have in common is reputation marketing, which Affino now excels at.

 

Behind the scenes we have made a host of updates throughout the CRM to support the new reputation marketing capabilities and greatly improve the insight and ease of managing everything form accounts (companies) to contacts, and opportunities through to contracts. We have put a particular focus on entire workflows and looked to make them simpler, faster and generally more capable.

 

This release also sees the introduction of the new CRM and User APIs, which are focused around accounts (companies) and contacts (users); and user authentication, interests and triggering conversion events from 3rd party apps respectively.

 

We have also rolled out hundreds of display and control side enhancements (and fixes) throughout Affino. Highlights include the greatly improved Contact Lists, Awards and Attendee management, Account Management, and Message Analysis.

 

You will notice that the consistency, and speed, of the Affino SaaS service has improved considerably since we migrated all sites to the latest generation Affino SaaS hosting service in Q1. For most clients there will have been zero downtime since, with consistently fast delivery (see your Audit for reference).

 

Key Enhancements

 

Accounts Directories (new)

It is now possible to display Account, i.e. company, information in a public listing. Previously it was only possible to list out individual contacts, so this is a major step forward for presenting structured company details, the company offices, and associated contacts and content.

 

Affino can pull together automatically the featured offices, staff and content and showcase it for each company. Editors can then chose to assign specific articles and contacts to be featured on the account overview. It is possible to set accounts as sponsored, which is then highlighted throughout the listing and detail views for the account (company).

 

It is possible to either list out all the accounts set to Public using the new Accounts channel, or each channel can have the list narrowed down to just the Accounts associated with contacts in a Contact List as set the Account Profile. This lets you create multiple company listings focused on specific groups of companies. In the case that some Accounts are Sponsored you can select the option to highlight them.

 

Each account has a unique URL (screen names), canonical link and all the essential meta data ensure that it is SEO optimised.

 

There are numerous options for determining what information is displayed and security is tightly controlled for restricting and granting access throughout. We have also updated the management side on accounts to include the option to include Child Accounts as a static filter, and the option to list the parent account for each account.

 

Editions Directories (new)

This update sees a complete re-imagining of Editions in Affino as they can now be presented live to your audience. They have gone from being exclusively on the back end, for managing print and digital subscriptions, through to being live web editions, which pull together all the content, company and contact references for each edition.

 

There is an incredible amount of flexibility in how you present the edition and the key content, with all the usual options in place for your images and listings. Each edition can have multiple tabs including Text, Contact, Account, Article and link tabs. These are managed through the Edition Profile and support the most basic and simple to manage edition, through to advanced editions with multiple content types.

 

This update includes:

    • Each edition now has a host of Display options for the live display including new text, teaser and image options as well as topic, section selector and sort order options.
    • It is now possible to generate contact lists for each edition which features the contacts associated with that edition. These are fixed ‘system’ contact lists which then can’t be removed.
    • We have introduced Year of Publication for editions as a more formal way to identify the year an edition was published in.
    • The edition search now shows the year and ID in the dropdown for faster lookups.
    • We have added two further date options to Editions, including Submission Deadline and Online Date. The Online Date is crucial as it determines when an edition displayed live on site.
    • Note that Edition Types are now Edition Profiles with greatly expanded capabilities around how content is displayed on the live page and how you manage each edition.
    • Unique URLs (screen names), canonical links and all the essential meta data ensure that the editions are SEO optimised.
    • Editions can be archived and default not included in any listing.

 

Advanced Seminars (new)

This release sees a major evolution for Seminars with the introduction of the new Advanced Seminar templates. There are three major updates: the seminars can now either be presented as a listing or a grid; it is now possible to email yourself your agenda whether you are logged in with an account or not; and Affino highlights what seminars you are signed up for and which ones you therefore can’t attend.

 

There is a great navigation and search on the seminars making it easy to browse by day and stream, and to filter and search by topics, presenters and key seminar details.

 

As before, Affino showcases the sponsors and speakers throughout and now additionally highlights moderators.

 

To make use of the new seminars simply create a new Skin with the Advanced Seminars listing and when you create a seminar ensure it’s an advanced one. Note that on mobile only the listing is available and on Internet Explorer users see the Simple version and a notice to update their browser for the full experience.

 

CRM API (new)

This release see the launch of Affino’s new CRM API. This initial release is very much focused on syncing Accounts (companies) and Contacts (all types) between Affino and 3rd party systems. The API is a lightweight RESTful one with tight security management.

 

The Key Methods are: List Accounts, Get Account, Create Account, Update Account, Delete Account, List Users, Get User, Crete User, Update User, Update User Avatar, Add User to Account, Update User Account and Delete User Account.

 

The API has been extensively trialled and stress tested and allows for solid syncing between Affino and 3rd party platforms.

 

The Test Tool is there so that you can fully test your integration and ensure that you have the security and calls all as intended.

 

You will be able to see the full documentation and test tool by going to the API Profile, view the Help (top panel) and click through to the documentation and test tool.

 

User API (new)

This release see the formal launch of Affino’s new User API (has been in beta for some time now). This initial release is very much focused on authenticating users through Affino for 3rd party app / site access, providing basic user details and permissions. The API is a lightweight RESTful one with tight security management.

 

The API also provides methods for getting and setting user Interests, getting their Subscriptions, Content Security Clearances, and triggering Conversion Events.

 

The Key Methods are: Post Login, Get User, Post User Data, Get User Data, Get User Interest, Post User Interest, Delete User Interest, Get User Subscription, and Post User Conversion Event.

 

The Test Tool is there so that you can fully test your integration and ensure that you have the security and calls all as intended.

 

You will be able to see the full documentation and test tool by going to the API Profile, view the Help (top panel) and click through to the documentation and test tool.

 

Contact Lists (updated)

This update sees the single biggest move forward for contact lists since we originally introduced them. Most importantly we have introduced a Status option to contact lists which allows you to set any bespoke status option to any contact list. This is exceptionally useful for lead generation and event lists, but can be used for any scenario where you need to process a list of contacts.

 

We have also updated how tasks and contact notes work on contact lists, so that now only relevant ones are listed out and presented for any list rather than all the ones for the contacts on each list.

Other updates to Contact Lists include:

    • It is now possible to select which fields are to be listed (only a small number are now fixed).
    • We’ve added a number of filters on the contacts within a list so that you can filter on a subset of contacts in other lists or exclude ones from other lists, also check for what conversion events they’ve triggered and check for ‘My’ contacts only, can be essential when processing a complex list.
    • Tasks and Contact Notes can now be associated with specific contact lists, and therefore actioned and displayed within those lists.
    • We have introduced System contact lists for the first time, initially those associated with Editions which then list out all the contacts for each edition on the public edition screen.
    • You can now set the security clearance on viewing the contacts in a list as well as the previous edit control security right. Users who have this right can view the list if a security clearance is assigned, others can no longer view the contacts in the list.

 

Transformed Hosting

Since the last Affino release we have updated Affino to an entirely new SaaS hosting stack with great success, see here. We updated the entire underlying architecture to the latest generation of Amazon AWS services and updated all the underlying application stack to the latest generation service / software across the board.

 

Since the migration, Affino’s service has been significantly faster and more robust, with most client services running between 99.99% uptime and 100% uptime. This is in large measure down to the fact that Affino’s service is now provided on a 95% server-less setup, with the remaining services all being auto-scaling and auto-failover.

 

This release further smooths the experience and in particular addresses issues around scheduled tasks to ensure that they are as fast and reliable as they can be.

 

Upgrade Guidance

 

This is a major Affino SaaS update, so you will need to do additional testing and due diligence with this release. We recommend that only Staging sites are updated at the first instance / week, and that when you do update you have a robust test plan in place.

 

We strongly advise that you liaise with your account manager or support team (through the support forum) to schedule in the update on your main Affino instance so that support can be at hand if needed. We also strongly advise a thorough review of the release notes prior to updating, and that you review the CRM Profile once you do 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.

 

Other Enhancements

 

Accounts - we have considerably refined the account listing and view in this release to provide more flexibility and immediacy when working on accounts. Highlights include:

    • Updated Account Detail screen to highlight more key details including the Account engagement points and primary contact, with a number of easy access links for adding contacts, opportunities and pro formas to the account.
    • We now display logos consistently throughout the account screens (is an option on the listing)
    • Many more column options on the account listing (see the CRM Profile). Crucially we now display the Account points and allow sorting by engagement on the listing.
    • Affino now showcases whether or not any account is Public
    • It is possible to sort both ways on most account listing columns

 

App Bar - enhanced to show the new editions when in the edition channels. Also shows the default value for each Text Item, so that if it is every deleted or changed in a way which is no longer useful then it is possible to easily reference and restore the default.

 

Articles - it is now possible to relate Authors to articles. Affino stores both the contact and account so that if the author moves accounts (companies) at some point then the article will still be featured on the account page. It is possible to link through to both the individual and their company for each author. It is now also possible on the Control Article listing to filter by Security clearance, e.g. so that it is possible to view just the premium articles

 

Article Attributes - is is now possible to have Control side only Article Attributes. Simply select the System attribute for the ones you do not wish to display on the live article.

 

Article Import / Export - added new creator first name and last name columns. If you do not have the ID or email address for the creator then the can be used to set the name on the article creator even in the absence of them being in the CRM. It is essential to import both first and last names if either is imported and will return an error if one is missing.

 

Attendees - we have removed the date range selector and replaced it with date from and to selectors for more accurate selection. We have also made it possible to see and filter by the Catalogue ID on each event which is useful when year on year the events have the same names, we’ve also included it in the attendee export. The attendee export has added customer email and customer telephone columns.

 

Awards - there are a host of updates to Awards that when combined make this a significant evolution. Updates include:

    • It is now possible to include a judging link and email within the judging notifications message. It makes it easier to showcase where they go to judge (we also made it possible to have longer messages).
    • We have updated the Awards Analysis so that the Entry Stage filter is now the Entry Stage Reached filter and it excludes completed entries.
    • We have added the Category Summary for each Awards entry for the judges, makes judging a bit easier.
    • It is now possible to re-open awards, both the entries and the judging, at any time. Note that it will take up to 5 minutes to re-open when you change the date / time for it.
    • We have also resolved a significant number of issues with awards, making this an essential update.

 

Campaign Analysis - it is now possible to export individual campaigns, especially useful when breaking out daily reports.

 

Channels - it is now possible to set up Channels with AND or OR filtering on the Topics, allowing for more granularity on content rich sites. Note this is still in beta and will be extended in future releases.

 

Checkout / Conversion Events - we have updated Conversion Events to support a multi-step Checkout trigger. It is now possible to trigger conversion events on each of the following checkout steps: Address, Delivery, Payment, Review. This is on top of those for viewing the product, adding to basket, viewing the checkout, and buying, and will allow for full funnel analysis for any sales process form campaign send through to purchase completion.

 

Contacts - it is now possible to sort all the Contact listing columns in both directions

 

Contact Note Import - we have added the ability to import Contact Notes for Users (contacts). This is a new option under the User Import and allows you to import of contact notes against CRM contacts. This option can be found under the User Import, along with a sample import spreadsheet.

 

Contracts - we have updated Contracts management in a number of key ways to minimise errors and streamline sales workflows, including:

    • Improved contract lookups, with pre-filtering where useful, e.g. same account
    • Default Payment term option you can set in the CRM Profile
    • Automatically set up Contracts as renewals to match each Opportunity
    • Track through Contracts for renewal opportunities
    • New Default Invoicing contact on Accounts for Contracts, automatically sets the contact on the Contract, and if not set then the Opportunity contact

 

CRM - this release sees a host of CRM updates, most are covered elsewhere in these notes, here are some of the more general CRM updates, note that you will want to review the CRM Profile to ensure it is configured the way you prefer with all the new options:

    • An important update we’ve made is that for Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities Affino now titles the page with the specific item being shown so that it’s clear when you have multiple tabs open. Greatly improves usability .
    • It is now possible to display the Country on the Account and Contact listings by selecting the option on the CRM profile.
    • It is also possible to show the editions contacts are featured in on the listing by selecting the option on the CRM profile.
    • Account and Contact searches are now accent insensitive, i.e. will look for a range of characters not just the one being searched for.

 

Design and Usability - as with all Affino releases there are a host of design and usability focused updates throughout. We have further extended the underlying design framework and refined the display side presentation throughout Affino.

 

Geo Tracking and Targeting - we have added IPv6 support for Geo Tracking and Targeting.

 

Mailing List Subscribers - all now set to Private so they do not display on the Display side, however it is now possible to manage the privacy directly from the Contacts management should a contact need to be surfaced publicly.

 

Message Campaigns - we have extensively updated how campaign reach is calculated, taking on board all the preference and opt out options. These were being taken into account previously when sending but are now presented throughout. We have also updated message campaigns so that they send out secured content (previously they would not send out content which the sender did not have access to).

 

Message Analysis - we have reviewed all the message analysis to ensure that all are presented consistently and highlighting through out where stats are based on the total number of clicks versus number of engaged readers and unique clicks throughout.

 

My Messages - Affino now only stores My Message notifications for a maximum of 31 days as some sites where being overwhelmed on the data side with legacy notification messages.

 

On Page Feedback - we have transformed how on page feedback notifications and analysis work. You now have far more insight on page having feedback, what that was, and the overall sentiment on each page.

 

Opportunities - We have made a number of great updates to Opportunities management, including:

    • Now export Topics with the opportunities.
    • We’ve also updated it so that On Hold opportunities are no longer listed by default nor included in the summary totals.
    • We have made a number of useful opportunity workflow improvements, including the option to have it required to include the proposal document when setting an opportunity to closed won.
    • Easier access and linking to the contracts, and the ability to track previous contracts (for renewals).

 

Orders - now display the Total and Paid Total in the order listing summary. We have also connected Orders and Subscriptions together so that if an Order is cancelled then related Subscriptions are suspended with a note that the order has been cancelled.

 

Page Optimisations - we have considerably reduced the code size on each page in Affino compared with some of the recent releases, with more elements loaded up and cached dynamically. Improves page load and rendering speeds.

 

Pro Forma Orders - we have added the Store Profile selector to the Pro Forma Orders so you can now create an order for a different store from the one you’re in. Affino also switches the terms and conditions and the invoice profile to match the selected store along with the tax and currency settings.

 

Public Profiles - There are multiple updates to Public Profiles including:

    • New option on the Registration Profile to create personal screen names with the full first name last name combination (rather than the traditional first name plus two letters from last name.
    • Ability to display / hide individual telephone numbers and email addresses on public profiles when they are default shared in a directory.

 

Regions - we now support abbreviations for regions and have updated the region management accordingly including the import and export

 

Robots.txt - we have greatly slimmed down the robots file to not include more of Affino’s core elements. These are well enough protected and it is better not to surface them any more.

 

SEO - we have refined Affino’s canonical URLs to be more consistent, and made sure that they are in place for the new Account and Edition pages. We have also included the new Edition and Accounts pages in the Sitemap.

 

Site Search and Search DE - These are both updated to incorporate both contacts and accounts into the predictive drop-down for the first time. We have also further refined how contacts and accounts are displayed in the main site search. Whether or not a contact is displayed in the search is dependent on their privacy setting.

 

Scoped Searches - now use the new Amazon AWS search engine, bringing the same powerful new search capabilities to directory, event and content searches.

 

Sitemap - we have added the Edition and Account URLs to the Sitemap (Google Sitemap) for SEO.

 

Site Search - we have considerably refined the new site search so that it now looks better across all devices. We have also updated the predictive drop-down when searching to include contacts and accounts as well as refining the presentation further.

 

Smart Button DE - more smarts on the button Panel behaviour so that when set, any click off the panel automatically closes the smart panel (preventing overlapping panels).

 

Smart Prime Related Content DE - it is now possible to display related Accounts (i.e. companies) and Editions. There is a great deal of flexibility in how the company info rmation is displayed, including the contact attributes and logo. We have also updated the Contact display to give you more control over how you display the avatars for related contacts.

 

Styling - we have continued to evolve the styling across a number of Affino screens to further refine the user experience. Expect the look and feel to be subtly improved throughout Affino.

 

Subscriptions - we have updated the subscription statuses considerably to add much more nuance depending on the order, payment, renewal and lapsed condition on any given subscription. The statuses should be fairly self explanatory with a number of additional options including payment pending.

 

User Auto Archive - we have extended the user auto archiving with the ability to add exclusion security groups, e.g. for staff and contractors so that they are not archived.

 

User Export - new filters for Permissions and Preferences built into the User Export.

 

User Security - improved ability to filter through archived users with the new Archive filter menu

 

WYSIWYG Editor - Affino now supports WYSIWYG text editing on mobile. It was previously restricted to tablet and above, but now works great on mobile devices as well.

 

Fixes and Minor Enhancements

 

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 (multiple) / Account Report / Account Import

 

Article Carousel DE (multiple)

 

Articles (control - multiple) / Article Import / Article Step Import

 

Attendees (multiple) / Attendee Export (multiple)

 

Audio / MP3 Player

 

Audit (multiple)

 

Auto Login

 

Awards Entries / Awards Analysis / Awards Profile (multiple)

 

Blogs

 

Campaign Message

 

Campaigns (multiple)

 

Campaign Analysis (multiple)

 

Canonical Links (essential fix)

 

Catalogue Export (multiple), Catalogue Import

 

Catalogue Item (capture contact details)

 

Checkout

 

Comments and Ratings (notifications)

 

Contacts (multiple including permissions)

 

Contact Merge

 

Contact Lists (multiple) / Contact List Selection

 

Contact Notes Import

 

Conversion Events (multiple)

 

Cookie Bar

 

CRM Topic Selector

 

CSS (generation and compression)

 

Dashboard

 

Directory

 

Dynamic Forms (multiple) / Form Entries (multiple) / Form Entries Export (multiple)

 

Event Listing / Event Detail (multiple)

 

Forums (multiple)

 

Image DE

 

Image Uploading (svg images)

 

Internet Explorer (compatibility updates, note that IE is no longer supported by Affino but we do our best to be compatible)

 

Mailing List Subscribers (always set to Private) / Mailing Lists (multiple) / Mailing List Registration

 

Media Listing / Media Downloads / Media Library (multiple) / Media Listing DE (multiple)

 

Message Campaigns / Messages (multiple) / Message Analysis

 

My Account (multiple)

 

My Messages (multiple)

 

Opportunities (multiple) / Opportunity Export

 

Orders (batch deletion) / Order Import (multiple)

 

Order Line Item Report

 

Page Feedback DE

 

Previous Order Report

 

Product Detail (image alignment) / Product Listing

 

Product Search (multiple)

 

Pro Forma Orders

 

Recruitment Brief

 

Redirects

 

Relating Content (multiple)

 

Sales Leaderboard

 

Scheduled Tasks (multiple)

 

Seminars

 

Sharelines (multiple)

 

Site Analysis

 

Site Search (multiple)

 

Skins (sticky rows) / Design Objects (multiple)

 

Smart Article Listing (multiple) / Smart Article Listing DE

 

Smart Prime Content DE

 

Steps (multiple)

 

Subscriptions (multiple) / Subscription Import

 

User Export (multiple) / User Import (multiple)

 

User Merge

 

Removed

 

There are no elements removed in this update.

 

Integration Updates

 

These are integrations which have had essential maintenance in this release, if you rely on any of them then you’ll want to update at the earliest opportunity:

 

LinkedIn - updated the social sharing to improve compatibility

 

Twitter - updated the social sharing to improve compatibility

 

Component Changes

 

Affino benefits from using some great frameworks, here are the updates we’ve rolled out for these frameworks in this release:

 

JQuery updated to - no change

 

JQueryUI updated to - no change

 

HighCharts updated to - no change

 

TinyMCE updated to - 4.9.4

 

Video.js updated to - no change

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Affino's Next Level Search Engine

Affino's Next Level Search Engine

The Rapid Evolution of Affino's Contact Lists

The Rapid Evolution of Affino's Contact Lists

Microsoft has Edged out Internet Explorer

Microsoft has Edged out Internet Explorer

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2014 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year (Again!)
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2013 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year
2013 PPA Digital Publishing Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Digital Brand of the Year

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