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.
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 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.
Media buyers report the following as weaknesses of the Strata software:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.