SINGAPORE: The power of social media to drive successful marketing strategies on low budgets has been highlighted in a new report analysing entries to the 2013 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy.

The Asia Strategy Report analyses the winning entries from the Prize, picking out important themes, including the changing channel strategies of Asian brands (the full report is available here to Warc subscribers).

A significant shift was apparent in the 2013 Prize as social media overtook television as the most-used channel among entrants. The swing was particularly strong among shortlisted entries. In 2011, 92% of shortlisted campaigns used TV; in 2013 that had dropped to 61%. Over the same period, the figures for social media rose from 52% to 74%.

In a parallel trend, low-budget campaigns were also prominent in the 2013 Prize: 39% of shortlisted entries spent less than $500,000 in 2013, compared to just 19% in 2012. The report argues that digital channels, and growing use of 'earned media' strategies, were allowing small-budget campaigns to gain greater scale.

The outstanding example of such a campaign was the winner of the Channel Insight Special Award. This Facebook campaign in India for charity Once Again spent just $189 and relied on innovative use of Facebook tagging.

The potential for low-budget ideas to gain a broad audience has also been identified by Warc in a separate, global, case study analysis.

Joanna von Felkerzam, Director, Research & Insights, Asia- Pacific, Starcom MediaVest and one of the Prize judges, noted that social media was no longer simply being tagged on to a campaign. "It is integrated as part of a larger engine or sits at the heart of it," she said.

"There is also a greater comfort with being social (versus doing or acting social)," she observed.

The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy is the region's only dedicated strategy competition, and has been running since 2011. This year's Grand Prix winner was the 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' campaign for the Philippines Department of Tourism by BBDO Guerrero.

Other themes in the Asia Strategy Report include the emergence of Asia as a place to test new ideas, as the penetration of mobile, for example, has allowed brands to conduct experiments with mobile marketing in the region.

Innovative thinking which carries global resonance was also apparent in several cases, such as the winner of the Asia First award. This anti-smoking campaign in Thailand took a novel approach – dubbed 'inside-out reflection' – to make its point.

Data sourced from Warc