SINGAPORE: Marketers have turned to lower-cost media such as PR, online video and content marketing as Asia's economic slowdown began to impact brand budgets in 2016, Warc's Asian Strategy Report for 2017 has revealed.

A major theme to emerge from the 2017 Asian Strategy report, which offers insights into the state of campaign strategy in the region, based on data and trends from analysis of more than 200 campaigns entered in the 2016 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, was the impact of shrinking budgets, with channel investment in particular seeing some big changes in the last 12 months.

A notable trend was the emergence of lower-cost channels as marketers seek to get more reach for less money, while smartphone adoption and increased internet penetration are offering marketers new opportunities and greater flexibility, particularly in emerging markets. (Non-subscribers can download a summary here.)

While TV remains the lead media channel overall in 2016, change is afoot: it was the lead media for 35% of entrants, down nine percentage points from a year earlier. Online video, however, leapt ten percentage points to a reach a record high as the lead media channel of 24% of entrants. With opportunities to deliver TV-style creative at a lower cost, the continuing rise of online video will be a trend to watch in 2017.

Lower cost channels such as public relations and content marketing also showed a strong growth in popularity.

Simply put: marketers are being forced to do more with less. In 2016, the average number of channels used by marketers to bring their campaigns to life dropped to just six – a record low over six years of the Prize. In 2012, marketers used an average 9.1 channels.

While dwindling budgets are one contributing factor, marketers are also becoming more savvy about digital investment, and are seeking to maximise impact rather than chase every new platform emerging. As Asia's slowdown continues in many countries, it is likely that marketers will face similar tough choices in the year ahead.

Data sourced from Warc