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Affino Intelligence Briefing - May 2020 Site Engagement Trends


Coronavirus Hubs are having a Big Impact on Traffic and Engagement Growth

Paywalls and Engagement Waoos are delivering Clear Results during the Coronavirus Crisis

Brand Engagement Remains Strong in May

At Affino we provide a host of business SaaS services to a multitude of media, events and professional services companies, and to ensure a consistently high level of delivery we continuously monitor a number of key indicators. We have found that these indicators are now providing valuable insight into some of the key trends affecting our clients’ brands across the board as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on their brand engagement.


Coronavirus Hubs are having a Big Impact

In the last briefing on the New Normality we identified the net explosive growth in engagement aggregated across the brands running on Affino. We noticed in particular that clients running Affino’s sales and marketing automation services were seeing growth rates 330% above those not using them. It implies that sales and marketing automation in general is critical for driving forward audience engagement.


This time around we explored the impact that Covid-19 / Coronavirus hubs were having - and it is stark, where those brands featuring Coronavirus Hubs are seeing average traffic growth rates of +366% since January versus those without them having a net growth of 70%.


Sites with Coronavirus Hubs are growing traffic 423% faster than those without one (Affino SaaS Sites from January to May 2020)


We have a great exploration with Drewry of the impact of their new Coronavirus Hub (see related articles) which saw them in one week deliver the most engagement of any single activity they have undertaken, and the project was launched in just one week, so it need not take long.


Traffic is Still Up Significantly

On average Traffic is still up 143% since January, but there has been a noticeable plateau for many brands, whilst other brands have seen a resurgence with the launch of their Coronavirus Hubs. Of the brands we are including in our analysis, whilst the average traffic overall was down 3% on the month from April to May, as a whole many more brands have started to see significant positive growth.


In April where we saw traffic exploding, it was focused on less than half the brands, with the majority of brands being somewhat under pressure. This has changed significantly in May with three quarters of the brands seeing growth, and over half seeing significant gains since January.


Paywalls and Engagement Wall a Clear Winner

Another deep dive we have made is to explore the impact of engagement (i.e. registration walls) and paywalls versus free-to-air websites. We are seeing a clear benefit from moving beyond free-to-air content. Whilst free to air sites are up 113% since January, sites with engagement walls are up 139%, and those with paywalls up 143%. This means that we have increased confidence in recommending to all our clients to accelerate their subscription and membership rollouts.


Walled content sites are growing 27% faster than free to air content sites. (Affino SaaS Sites from January to May 2020)


Engagement Remains Strong

Engagement across Affino sites remains strong, up a still significant 164% since January, albeit we are seeing big swings amongst the brands as new services, hubs and webinars are launched.


Management Activity

Another set of indicators we looked at was the overall level of management activity across the brands, in terms of content, CRM, messaging and all other activities. This is up 164% since January, but we have noticed a tailing off in late April and early May.


Key Sectors seeing Sustained Growth

Two sectors within which we have a number of client brands, i.e. retail and freight / logistics are seeing sustained growth as a whole, with big boosts on those brands with Covid-19 Hubs and running the sales and marketing automation. Retail brands are now up 220% since January and freight / logistics ones up 143% in terms of human site traffic.


Audience Growth

Another deep dive we made on the data this month was to explore audience growth across Affino brands since January. Whilst the relative growth is well behind the engagement and traffic growth at 7%, this is significant for a mainly B2B portfolio in such a short timespan where many of these brands are up to and over 100 years old. We have seen outlier brands grow their audience by up to 117% in just four months.


If you want to cover any of these areas in more detail then get in touch with either myself or Jonathan Collins and we will organise a video conference to explore how best you can accelerate and adapt your brands over the coming weeks and months.



Affino Intelligence Briefing Series

This insight piece is one of a series where we explore Affino Client Brand audience engagement, traffic, reach and more, to identify the latest trends.

For a more in-depth conversation please reach out either to myself of Jonathan Collins, your project manager, alternatively you can reach through the forums to your support team.

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