This release sees solid progress in Affino across the board. It is very much an evolving release, as we are mid way through our projects for this second half of 2019, which means that much of what we’re working on will come to fruition later this year. There are some key breakthroughs in this release though which make it stand out and will be transformative in your ability to engage with and target your audience.
We have made a host of Actionable Intel updates which transform the way in which you can identify audience behaviour and trends, and immediately act on the insight. We provide much more insight in-context to where you are working, so if you’re on an article you can now see what companies and individuals are engaging with it, immediately add those individuals to a list, and then track the referrers and trends. All right within the article.
We have similarly updated the Search Analysis, Conversion Events, Site Analysis, Topics, the Audit and introduced a great new Accounts Report. We have also greatly improved the presentation for both accounts and contacts on the listing and detailed views (make sure you update your CRM Profile to make the most of this).
Also included in this release are: the new Reviews template, which brings high impact Reviews back to Affino in a big way; and the new Event Credits which is an advanced system for distributing event credits to members, who can then use them instead of paying for events.
There are also many significant updates and fixes in this release to complex technical, functionality and security issues which have arisen over the previous quarter, making this an essential update for all Affino sites. Behind the scenes we have introduced two key now monitoring tools to provide us with more insight on the setup and running of all Affino instances, which will further increase uptime and reliability.
This release sees the first phase of a big leap forward for Affino’s delivery of Actionable Intel. We’re looking at every interface to put as much meaningful and actionable intel at your fingertips as we can. This means that there are dozens of screens and workflows which see major evolutions, including Accounts, Articles, Topics, Audit, Site Analysis, and Conversion Events. Here are the highlights, and there are lots more throughout:
Intel / Accounts Report
This release sees the introduction of the new Accounts Report. This is a major new feature which allows you to compare and contrast all the key account based activity on Affino. It provides a unified report across CRM, site, event and awards, commercial, message campaigns and the sales and marketing automation, all in a single report.
There are extensive filters, many of which can be pre-configured in the CRM Profile, and options to two-way sort by almost every criteria. The data can then be exported as needed. This means you can see which accounts are the most / least engaged by a host of criteria, and identify indicators which can lead you to better target the factors which most critically affect account engagement and revenues. We have introduced a new active filter panel here that we will be rolling out to many more of the Control screens over the coming releases.
If you’re doing any account based engagement, sales or targeting then exploring the Accounts Report is an absolute must.
Intel / Audit
The Audit is where you can see all recent interactions in Affino. Historically this was more of a high level activity / security review, but recently we introduced performance analytics into the audit. We have now introduced easier auditing of contact interactions, you see more of the history when clicking through from a contact, with smarter linking and filtering on the audit.
When going directly into the Audit you can now filter by accounts and contacts, and immediately see job titles as well as accounts that the contacts are in. Crucially you can now add all recent contacts who have clicked on any link / are in any account / use a particular browser to a Contact List. It means that if you’ve missed setting up a conversion event, or have spotted an activity pattern, or simply want to target active contacts based on any activity, then it is now possible.
Intel / Site Analysis
We have greatly streamlined the Site Analysis in this release. We’ve added a new preview panel so you can see the title, teaser, thumbnail, creator and creation date for the content you’re looking at.
You can see all the sub channels, sections and articles, with new quick links to further drill down on the details. We now focus on a single timeframe for the simplest and most direct experience, you can then switch between timeframes. This means you instantly get a feel for the traffic level on each key page.
Intel / Channel - Section - Article Analysis Panel
When you click through from the Site Analysis, or indeed directly on to the Control View screen of any Channel, Section and Article there’s a new Analysis panel which shows the recent viewing history, along with what accounts (companies) have viewed the content, and which contacts have viewed it recently. We also show how many times the article has been viewed (by people) along with how many times per day on average.
Crucially you can now add the contacts to any Contact List on the fly from the article screen. It means that if you forgot to set up a conversion event on a landing page; or spot an interesting activity pattern; or need to issue a correction and want to inform the specific readers; you can now do so quickly and easily. We know this will be very useful to everyone, given how often the requirement has arisen to see the content engagement, and need to message and organise those contacts.
You can also see the top inbound referrer links, and quickly link through to see all the inbound URLs and sites.
Intel / Search Analysis
It is now possible to filter the searches by Accounts as well as contacts to see what searches have been made on a company level. We’ve also added Job Titles and Accounts to the listing so that you have much more context on who is searching for what, and how many search results they had.
Intel / Topics
We have significantly improved how you review Topics both on the list and detail view. We now provide immediate feedback on how many channels and articles have the topic applied, how many trending views there are for each topic, and how many contacts and accounts relate to those topics. You can then immediately click through to drill down on each of these. This is transformative when it comes to reviewing how you’re targeting and creating content for topics on your sites.
Intel / Conversion Events
We provide more detail on the Conversion Event listing, so that it’s now possible to immediately see how engaged the audience is with the conversion event, i.e. when last triggered, how many times, and how many points issued.
This release sees the re-introduction of Reviews into Affino. We have delivered the best review experience we could envisage, with a host of great features that make for standout high impact reviews. The reviews themselves are a new article template, with two key layout options, the first with a primary image, the second with a slideshow at the top.
We have introduced a whole new set of options to Article Attributes so that you can customise the reviews with a host of additional meta data, including Accounts (companies), Contacts, dates and text. This allows for advanced meta data options for each review, all directly managed on the article in a structured format.
Each review has two levels of rating, the first is by the reviewer them-self, the second is the re-introduction of star ratings to comments and ratings. This means that each review can have a reviewer lead star rating as well as an audience one. We’ve also extended a number of core listings, including the main Article Listing and Smart Article Listing DE to support the new star ratings.
For the highest impact reviews, we have greatly improved the presentation options on Article Steps. It is now easy to add background images to steps, and to apply a parallax scrolling effect to the background. At this point they’re specific to reviews, but we will be extending them to other content types in the future.
This release sees the introduction of Event Credits to Affino. These allow accounts to be assigned a pool of credits which can be used for member events, so that when users with available credits see an event, they can simply use the Event Credit and bypass the purchasing of an event ticket.
It is possible to select that these event credits are used on individual events, or across an entire product line’s events. It is further possible to lock down eligibility to specific start and end dates, as well as a specific security group, and to set whether or not the credit can be cancelled.
When a prospective attendee is viewing the event, they have the option to buy, or use an event credit to attend the event. If they chose to use the event credit it simply bypasses the whole checkout process.
We have updated the My Account so that attendees can now see their Event Attendance tab, and in the event that they are using event credits, they can now cancel them in advance of the event (you can set whether or not they can cancel, and the cutoff date for the cancellations). When the cancellation is made, it can fire off a conversion event and send both notifications to the user and to your team.
You assign event credits to Accounts, and then the current contacts in those accounts can use up those event credits. We have also update the Account Detail Report so that it showcases the use of event credits.
Attendees using Event Credits appear in the main Attendee report, and you can filter whether you want to see all, only event credit attendees or non-credit users. We have also added a new Event Credit column to the main listing and export, and re-organised some of the columns for consistency.
Subscription Renewal Automation (Alpha)
It will soon be possible to generate PDF subscriber renewal templates and letters automatically. These can then be sent to the printer / distribution houses, along with the user export for targeted print subscriber renewal campaigns. We have introduced a new PDF specific WYSIWYG editor so that the edited content on each letter can be created in the most effective manner.
Note that for the messages there are three fonts supported, namely Helvetica, Times and Courier). This is an alpha of this functionality, covering some of the key Control elements, and we expect to have it fully in place in the next release.
This is a crucial Affino SaaS security update which will be fast to update, and is essential as it needs to be in place for key infrastructure updates. This release also includes new service monitoring updates which run behind the scenes and greatly help with diagnosing any infrastructure and setup issues.
It is key that it is updated to quickly to ensure the ongoing security and performance of your Affino instance. 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.
Accounts - new advanced topic filtering (see Contacts below for details). It is now possible to do an Account level audit, simply click on the Audit link on the account to be taken to a filtered view of the audit. Crucially you can then filter by any URL (activity) to add the users to Contact Lists. We’ve increased the size of the Active Subscriptions icon, it’s a small thing, but bigger.
Account Export - is now possible in tsv, csv and xlsx formats.
App Bar - It is now possible to manage and edit the on-screen Accounts and Editions directly from the App Bar
Article Carousel - it is now possible to have a centred article in the carousel, which invites users to explore more content (as they can partially see the articles to the left and right), especially on mobile devices.
Articles / Messages - Alternative Titles - It is now possible to add new alternative titles to articles which are used exclusively in messages to act as teaser headlines, e.g. ‘You’ll never guess who the new CEO of Apple is?’. The alternative titles are show in the messages, message preview and message analysis for consistency.
Article Attributes - this release sees a major enhancement in the way Article Attributes work, to-date these have all been topic based, we’re adding Account, Account Type, Contact, Date and Text attributes in this release. Initially this will just be supported by the new Review template, but we expect to roll out to other template types over time.
Blogs - you can now swipe between the images on touch devices
Bot Detection - we have further improved the bot detection by integrating with the leading bot reporting service. We use this as an additional indicator to quickly identify both malicious and non-malicious bots. It means even more reliable stats and less malicious behaviour on your Affino sites.
Campaigns - we have worked extensively on refining and removing inconsistencies from the Campaign Reporting in this release. In practice we have completely re-written, and re-worked the underlying logic and execution from scratch with new centralised campaign statistics functions. The stats should now be much more solid and consistent.
We have also added the option to hide the Viewable Creatives stats from the Campaign reporting so that they are not included on-screen and in the exports when they are selected to be hidden. This is useful when clients have purchased campaigns based on impressions delivered rather than views delivered. We strongly advocate moving to selling on Views Delivered and going through the market education needed. Long term this will give you a considerable competitive advantage as Affino fully delivers to the full audience, in a way that other ad platforms struggle with.
Catalogue Groups (Alpha) - it is now possible to group together similar items, initially focused on Subscriptions, so that when in the shopping basket, if one of the group of items is selected then the other options are present on the shopping basket and can be switched to, e.g. between a 1 month, 3 month, 12 month subscription; low, mid and high; digital only or digital + print; or variations based on payment method. Note that this release focuses on the management side, the display will be in the next release.
Catalogue Items - Gifting (Alpha) - we have added the ability to set catalogue items as gifts. The management (Control) elements are all in place so that you can configure whether or not each item can be gifted, default messaging for the gifting, and who the notification recipient will be. It is also possible to select whether or not deferred start dates are permitted on the gifting, e.g. gifting a subscription at Xmas and deferring the notification and subscription start until then. The live display side will be rolled out in the next release.
Catalogue Items - Payment Method Control (Alpha) - it is now possible to set fixed payment methods and trading zones on catalogue items, e.g. control that a subscription can just be sold in Sterling using Direct Debit (and discounted accordingly). Note that at this point it is only the Control Centre in place, with the display side functionality in the next release. We have further re-organised a number of Catalogue Item attributes to make them simpler to manage.
Catalogue Item Import / Export - We have added a host of columns to the export after CurrencyCode3, namely: Price4, PreviousPrice4, PriceNote4, ValidFrom4, ValidTo4, SecurityCode4, CurrencyCode4. The Import and Export now also include after CaptureContatList: CatalogueGroupCodes (pipe delimited), PaymentMethod (payment method name), and TradingZone (trading zone name) and ArticleTypes column after the Article Type Name column
Comments and Ratings - it is now possible to have star ratings again in comments and ratings. Simply configure your Comments and Ratings profile as needed. You can also update the Smart Article Listing DE (and other article listings) to show star ratings with articles.
Contacts - new advanced topic filtering. It is not possible to use either simple AND / OR logic on topic filtering when searching contacts, or it is possible to use advanced free-form logic to filter them, including advanced AND, OR, EXCLUDE and (brackets) within the topic logic. Affino both verifies the existence of the topics and notifies of any errors, and parses the logic of the advanced statement to ensure that it works.
Contact Lists - we have added a new Message Campaign filter to Contact Lists so you can see which members are already included in specific message campaigns.
Contact Listing DE - now supports partial and non-case-sensitive searched.
Contact/Account Related DE - new Design Element which displays content related to the Contacts and Accounts in the Prime Content Article. The DE will check for the top 3 of each of Contacts and Accounts related to the Article and find the most relevant related content.
Conversion Events - a much requested feature has been to be able to personalise messages sent directly from Conversion Events. This is now possible with the addition of First and Last Name placeholders that can be used in conversion event messages. We have added a new trigger for Cancelled Attendance, this is initially only available where attendees are cancelling their use of event credits.
CRM - there have been a host of usability and intel updates in this release, the intel updates are outlined below, here’s the key list of usability and other CRM updates (ensure you update your CRM Profile to make the most of these):
CRM API - It is now possible to set Member Types using the CRM API.
Social Links - for Accounts and Contacts now have much simpler dedicated icons for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and we’ve added quick links for the website, map and Google search as well. These can now be included in the Account and Contact listing as well for faster navigation.
Design - we’ve added new styles so that it is possible to style the meta data uniquely without needing custom styles, similar to how it is now possible with Topics. We have also added new Image Caption and Intro styles so that they can be easily styled. It is now possible to set a different font colour on bold text in the Design Style. Crucially these are all available on the Design Style Breakpoint Selector so can be styled differently for each breakpoint.
We have introduced an improved approach to hide rows more effectively when navigating between break points (i.e. page width). We have also made dozens of design refinements that better support different layouts and more use cases.
Ecards - the email form now opens in a new tab, so that when closed the user goes back to the content.
Editions - it is now possible to drill down to, and search for Editions in the Control Content Navigation
Events - Event Attendance is now displayed on the account and contact event tabs irrespective of whether or not the payment has been made
Exports - Affino now supports CSV and TSV exports on select exports, including the Account, Article, Article Step, User and ABC Log exports.
Forums - we have improved the main message box in forums, both to provide useful instructions by default when entering in a forum post, and better expanding the entry box to make the best use of the screen on all devices.
Help - we have updated a number of the help texts throughout Affino to better assist and reduce any confusion which might arise
Job Titles - now support commas
Login - we’ve updated the Login so that Remember Login is now working throughout, on the metering, Login DE and standard Login. Is set on the Login Profile.
Messaging - it is now possible that when you have Google Analytics tracking enabled on Message Campaigns, to selectively disable it for individual messages, e.g. when a client wants to include their own GA tracking in the URL. See also Alternative Titles above for a great new way to drive message clicks.
Message Analysis - we have added UserCode to the export to better track users (previously used the email address only as the identifier)
Metering - it is now possible to display the login directly on the metering screen when the user hits the limit on articles read. This is a key update as it lets users immediately login if they have an account, and on some devices, including the latest iPhones and iPads, this can happen by simply glancing at the article. Since the original trial we have further added ‘Remember my Login’ to this login.
Orders - it is now possible to enter / manage the External Order ID on each order (previously was only editable through imports)
Performance Monitoring - we have been progressively rolling out a number of new behind the scenes monitoring services on Affino over the past few months. These greatly help with identifying any issues which arise, and give us leading indicators on upcoming issues that you might have. Over time we will evolve these further to monitor trends and become more predictive in notifying and diagnosing future issues.
They help us to catch platform issues at the earliest point for each Affino instance, and have helped us to raise both the performance and uptime consistently over the past few months.
Product - we have further refined the Product up-sell panel on products
Promotion Channel / Promotion Profile (alpha) - you will see references to the upcoming promotion Channel for promoting different subscription and other product offerings. At this point it’s purely the Control settings in place, the Display will be in the next release.
Seminars - note that in the Seminar Profile there is a setting to only display the listing (and not the grid view). The setting is there but the display side will be updated in the next release.
SEO - we have introduced a new option for you to specify your preference for short or long canonical links. If you go to the Zone there’s a new attribute to manage this. It’s debatable whether there’s an advantage to having one or the other, but you now have the option. Note that when you select this option it will change a lot of the URLs that are submitted through the Sitemap to Google (and the other search engines).
We have also made a host of additional SEO improvements, including adding Editions to the sitemap, and added the LASTMOD attribute throughout where relevant, e.g. on editions, contacts, accounts and articles. We have also updated the Open Graph meta data to include name attributes where relevant, e.g. first name, last name and username. We also include considerably more items in the sitemap than previously.
Smart - we’ve deprecated the old Article, Channel, Product, Events and 2 Column listing templates. In turn we’ve also renamed the key Smart templates to remove the Smart prefix, e.g. Smart Article Listing becomes Article Listing. We’ve done the same for the Event, Channel and Product Listings.
Smart Article Listing DE - new position setting for the Header Title / Section Header to be displayed Top Right
Sponsored Content - it is now possible to filter the Article Listing and Article Carousel DEs by Sponsored Content.
Straight to Checkout (alpha) - you will see this option in place in the Store profile, it means users who click to buy someting will be taken straight to the checkout, rather than simply adding the item to the basket. At this point it is simply the setting, Display side in the next release.
Topics - it is now possible to easily hide topics on a Skin without having to set it individually on each design element.
User Export - is now possible in tsv, csv and xlsx formats.
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.
Article Listing (multiple), Article (display)
Awards (multiple, moving entries)
Campaigns (multiple), Campaign Analysis (multiple)
Catalogue Item (Import & Export)
Channel (copying, Header Image)
Comments and Ratings (multiple, including messaging and replies)
Contact (multiple) / Contacts (Listing, multiple) / Creative Analysis Export
Contact Lists (multiple) / Contact List View (multiple)
Conversion Events (Redirects) / Conversion Event Analysis
Design Objects (Security, Hidden Rows)
Dynamic Form (title)
Editions Profile (editing)
Event (display, multiple)
Featured Section DE
Forum (Thread display, today) / Collaboration Forum
Mailing List (export) / Mailing List Registration (permission, plus more)
Media Upload (SVG)
Message (Add, URLs, personal messages, archived users) / Message Analysis (now supports form links) / Message Campaign (multiple)
Order Line Item Report (export)
Search (multiple, now includes media consistently), Search DE (predictive search)
Smart Article Listing DE (multiple)
Smart Button DE
SMS Sending (improved internationalisation)
Social Sharing (Twitter link)
Topics (Child Topic Sort), Topic Lists (show deletion guidance)
User Auto Archive (multiple)
There are no elements removed in this update.
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:
No integrations updated in this release.
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 - 4.9.6
Video.js updated to - no change