Free? Sign Me Up, 800 Buyers and Planners Tell MediaRadar

Todd Krizelman MediaRadar
Todd Krizelman (Image credit: MediaRadar)

Even for a free product, MediaRadar's new advertising intelligence tool for planners and buyers is adding customers faster than the company expected.

The tool, which launched in August, has already been adopted by 800 companies, including agencies and advertisers that do their own media planning, Todd Krizelman, co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar told Broadcasting+Cable.

“We’ve totally been shocked at how fast it’s growing,” Krizelman said. “We thought we might sign a thousand companies after a year and a half. We’re going to hit that after four months, based on the current path.”

Krizelman stressed that the free product really is a free product. It isn’t free for a short trial period before a fee kicks in. MediaRadar will collect a fee if users choose to upgrade to some premium features that are available.

The premium product enables users to do more multi-year analysis and more reporting tools. Users can also provide more client services. “We think it’s an even more compelling tool, for a fee,” he said.

Those premium features are available and some users have started using them, he said. 

“We do have to have a business model around it,” Krizelman said. In order to make money, “we’ve assumed in the model that maybe a quarter will convert.”

MediaRadar’s main business is a product that uses data and artificial intelligence to help media company ad sales reps create sales pitches based on the client’s product and budget, its target audiences and its competitors’ spending patterns. 

The product--Perfect Pitch-- is used by 2,600 clients and has a very high level of penetration among the major media companies. The product gives sales reps very specific bullet points about how to use their company’s assets to win advertising business from a particular brand, as well as who to call and when to call them.

Krizelman said recently MediaRadar started hearing from agency people that they needed a new tool for media planning. MediaRadar had a lot of the right data, but it was set up for sellers. MediaRadar met with people from about 50 agencies for about a year and a half to create an entirely new tool for buyers. It conducted a Beta test last October before launching MediaRadar for buyers in October.

The idea of making it free came from an article Krizelman read in the Wall Street Journal about the game Fortnite. The game is free, but it generates billions in revenues from add-ons and extras for which players pay fees.

“That’s not the way we normally think of selling tools, but it really caught my attention,” he said. "We spent a lot of time talking to people who are doing freemium apps and video games to figure out was there a parallel in our marketplace.”

The new product for buyers helps make a media plan based on business conditions, Krizelman said. “Are you going after the same audiences as a competitor? Is your budget smaller? Maybe we advise them to try to stay away from the bigger competitor.”

MediaRadar has been doing focus groups and surveying users of the new product and getting back net promoter score ratings of 90, which is pretty high. 

One reason they like the new product was its modern user interface, which feels fast and natural and easy to use.

Users also loved that it was cross-format. "You can see connected TV like Hulu, Peacock, Paramount Plus married to linear television. Even podcasts, magazines and newspapers are in a single dashboard, not sort of duct-taped together from different sources," he said. 

About a third of the planners and buyers who’ve signed up for the new product heard about it from word of mouth, Krizelman said. MediaRadar will be ramping up its marketing efforts.

But he said the way the industry is rapidly changing is what’s encouraging users to try something new.

"If the world was not changing so much, we wouldn’t even have shot. If things were just the same, there would be no demand. These are ferocious times. A least we get a chance,” Krizelman said. ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.