Need a good Strata alternative? Switching from Strata to Bionic not only reduces costs. It also upgrades your media team with a modern, integrated, complete media workflow system. Switching is easier than you think.

About Strata

Strata, founded in 1984 then acquired by Comcast in 2005 and rebranded as Freewheel for Agencies, provides media buying workflow automation. Its strength is in creating and managing insertion orders across all types of media – digital and traditional. Strata claims an installed base of more than 1,000 advertising agencies. Despite its rebranding as Freewheel for Agencies years ago, most in the industry still call it Strata.

Strata Strengths

Strata Buying Management Software (SBMS), now known as Freewheel for Agencies, has solid insertion order (IO) capabilities. Creating and managing advertising insertion orders is a key function of advertising agencies. This is a task that has to be done exactly right. So, it’s important to have a good insertion order management system.

These strong IO capabilities are the primary reason agencies bought Strata years ago and why many still use it today.

Strata Weaknesses

Media buyers report the following as weaknesses of the Strata software:

  1. Disjointed Workflow. Freewheel for Agencies / Strata SBMS doesn’t automate the entire media planning and buying workflow. It lacks tools such as media plans, flowcharts, and financials. As such, advertising agencies must integrate Strata with other software to get a complete agency workflow system. This “integration” is often Excel spreadsheets and file transfers (not real-time).
  2. Disconnected Media Plans. Media plans have to be broken into pieces because Strata has separate modules for different advertising channels – you use one module for ordering spot TV, another for ordering network TV, another for ordering outdoor/print, and yet another for ordering digital. As a result, your media plan is split into many parts that have to be reconstituted on the back-end for finance and reporting.
  3. Old technology. The core of Strata is built on installed, windows-based software. One glance at its user interface reveals its age. This hurts agencies’ ability to recruit and retain talent who seek modern skills.
  4. Expensive. Strata is known to be expensive and to lock agencies into long-term contracts. At a time when agencies are getting squeezed harder than ever, it hurts to write big checks for software.

A Strata alternative emerges.

In February 2021, Bionic released a major upgrade to its Bionic for Agencies media planning and buying platform. Prior to this release, Bionic created insertion orders but lacked some key capabilities. This software upgrade filled those gaps by adding powerful new insertion order, vendor bill reconciliation, and payment capabilities.

Bionic has become a compelling alternative to Strata, providing similar insertion order capabilities along with many other capabilities on a modern, integrated, and inexpensive platform.

Bionic is more complete than Strata.

Strata users complain of an incomplete, disjointed system. In contrast, Bionic automates your entire media planning and buying workflow across all media channels through a unified, fully integrated platform.

Bionic is easier than Strata.

Strata users complain of its archaic user interface. In contrast, Bionic gives you a modern, intuitive, web-based interface. If you can use Excel, you can use Bionic.

Bionic is cheaper than Strata.

Strata users complain of its high costs, particularly if you factor in the costs of other software to form a complete agency workflow system. In contrast, Bionic will gives you a complete media planning and buying platform at a fraction the cost.

Is Bionic better than Strata?

Strata might be the best tool for you if you are primarily doing traditional media buying and have already built up a workflow around it. If Strata is working for you, why rock the boat?

However, you may consider switching to Bionic if you are frustrated with Strata because your clients want integrated multi-channel media plans, you’re doing a significant amount of digital media buying, or find yourself creating media plans in Excel.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to judge which is better: Strata vs. Bionic. To help make that decision, you should “kick the tires” on Bionic by using the software to create a few insertion orders.

You will be surprised how easy it is to get started.

You can be up and running on Bionic today. Request your trial here:

Start Trial