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Affino's Recommended Strategies for Leveraging the New Normality

Affino Coronavirus / Covid-19 Response

At Affino we have been responding to the evolving Coronavirus / Covid-19 situation on a daily basis, and are continuously looking to provide as much support as possible to our community. Here are some of the highlights.


Major Traffic and Engagement Increases

Affino’s SaaS service is serving twice as many pages and sending double the number of emails as we were in January. Many Affino sites are up 200% to 300% plus in traffic in this period, with outliers being up by 1,500%. The number of emails being sent has also grown significantly, largely lead by Covid-19 related notifications.


Many Affino sites are up 200% to 300% plus during the Covid-19 crisis, with outliers being up by 1,500%.


This means that our particular focus these past few weeks has been on optimising Affino’s performance, both with sending messages faster, and in particular at serving web pages more efficiently under high loads. We included a number of key performance updates in the Affino 8.0.20 release last month, and the upcoming Affino release sees big breakthroughs in the speed in which pages are served and rendered.


We have made updates in two key areas: the first is to add more refinement to how we look up and cache the data to serve on each page, which is now more targeted, granular, and efficient. The second is that we have optimised many of the key display side templates to remove all the JavaScript layout code and move to pure CSS. This means the pages will be served quicker, and render considerably faster with the upcoming release.


We have also steadily been upgrading the email sending and analysis elements in Affino, separating out each process further, and then crunching the data and analytics separately from the message send processing. This means Affino can send messages that much faster, and crucially handle the traffic load better when it lands on the sites.


The exception to the traffic increases for some brands, is focused on the live event side, with sports related traffic particularly down. For our clients’ live events brands, it’s a mixed scenario, with some brands down 60%, and others up by 250%. What is noticeable is that where clients have member events as the focus, rather than standalone and one off events, the traffic and engagement is way up.


Engagement and Effort is up Considerably

We can see that audience engagement is up 150% on average over the past couple of months. For some brands it’s up by many 100%’s. What surprised me personally when reviewing the stats is how many brands still have not set up their customer ladder, and sales and marketing automation in Affino. That’s going to be a very significant amount of valuable data which is not being caputured, greatly reducing brands’ abilities to shape their engagement with their audiences. For those who are capturing and automating the user experience and journeys we are seeing the biggest increases in overall traffic growth, further underlining the benefits of doing so.


Affino Client Brands running the Customer Ladder and Conversion Events have seen traffic growth 481% above those without it during the Coronavirus crisis.


Another important measure we can see is the amount of activity that is happening on the Control side in Affino. This is up 220% since Juanuary, and is by far the fastest and biggest increase we’ve ever seen within the Affino community. It means that as a group we’re working hard to deliver value and meaningful information and experiences to our audiences.


Subscriptions and Memberships are Up

Having spoken with a number of CEOs over the past couple of weeks, one thing is also clear which is that print and digital subscriptions, and memberships in general are up. As are registrations, where our clients have registration and paywalls in place.


There is a great deal of demand for content, which is acting as a positive driver to get the audience to sign up to your brands. I know I have registered and signed up to a couple of news services just this week, and imagine many others are doing so as well as we’re all having to adapt.


For those companies who are yet to fully embrace paid for and membership based content and experiences, now is a great time to be exploring and implementing these for the first time on Affino.


WFH - Working from Home is working well in Affino

One of the most significant developments with the Covid-19 crisis is that virtually everyone is now working from home, and indeed engaging with Affino sites from home.


The great news here has been that since Affino is fully SaaS it has always worked from everywhere, albeit some clients have chosen to lock down the Control management side to specific IP Addresses. The big change here in the upcoming release is that this lockdown can now be applied to a specific Admin group, and no longer needs to be restricted by IP Address.


We’re on the lookout for further updates we can do to support remote working and have some in mind, but are waiting on more being raised by the Affino community.


Client Projects

As well as rolling out the biggest release for years, we continue to rapidly deliver on client projects, with a host of new client initiatives being rolled out, including a number of Covid-19 community hubs, member loyalty schemes, new subscription services, and support for our clients moving to digital and online events.


If there is one clear opportunity in these challenging times, it is for us all to improve our digital subscription, events, community, and ad service offerings, and we are working hard with our community to do so.


More Great Affino Updates Coming in the Next Release

We are certainly not resting on our laurels follwing the Affino 8.0.20 release (which would have been Affino 9.0 in different times). The next Affino release, in addition to the great performance updates, will see the biggest updates to messaging since we introduced Affino’s responsive messages, closing the gap on the message design and analytics capabilities versus our competitors, and moving further ahead with the overall audience engagement.


Other key updates will be on the Ad Sales side, with the addition of delivery date and edtition tracking for sales, meaning that all sales can be reported by delivery timeframes and against specific publications. We are at the same time introducing a great new way for setting up and tracking sales targets, with a live overall sales target leaderboard, and individual sales target dashboards with incremental sub-targets, and a complete breakdown of sales against each target.


Full Affino Service and Support is In Place

Crucially during this period, not only have we continued to fully support all our clients and systems, we have released the biggest Affino update in years, and are actively supporting all our clients with updating to the new release. We have stepped up our support with great new enhancements to the forums, the rapidly improving FAQs, and a host of updated and new Help Guides, with many more on the way.


Whilst we have had a couple of Covid-19 scares with the Affino team, there’s been none which have become serious, and we’re hopeful that will remain the case.


We’re fully committed to providing Affino’s full service and support level throughout this crisis, and are fortunate that we were well prepared for exactly a scenario such as this, with a distributed team, and tight working practices already fully in place.


If you have any questions, concerns you are looking to have answered, or have new projects you want to explore then get in touch with myself or JC (Jonathan Collins) and we’ll quickly organise a Skype or Zoom conference to move things ahead.

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