SYDNEY: Australian marketers and brands are failing to keep pace with changing consumer habits in the digital space, particularly as regards social video which the author of a new report has described as "marketing Viagra".

For the Secret Life of Social Video, the latest in a series of Datafication reports, Sydney advertising agency The Works and the University of Technology Sydney analysed more than 3.2m geotagged videos and images from Instagram and Vine as well as conducting an online survey among 4,000 Snapchat users.

It found that women are more active users across all platforms, with Vine leading the way – 70% of posts there come from women, compared to 61% on Snapchat (61%) and 58% on Instagram Video.

The report also said that the most popular type of content posted differs depending on the platform. Thus music and dance content is the most prevalent on Instagram video (food and drink are top on Instagram images), followed by sport/action and animals, while humour dominates on Vine and Snapchat, with selfies also high in the mix for these two.

Almost half (47%) of Snapchat users were aged between 16 and 25, with 34% of 16 to 19 year-olds claiming to use the app on a daily basis.

"It's easy to think it's just another Instagram," said Douglas Nicol, creative partner and leader of the Datafication project, "but actually Snapchat mashes up messaging and content more like text messaging than traditional newsfeed style social media.

"Brands need to look beyond just Facebook and understand the next generation of communication style, typified by apps like Snapchat," he added.

Those brands that have invested in social video were found to show signs of increased consumer engagement (based on a score generated by adding the number of 'Likes' a post received to that of any 'Comments' (which were counted as double) and then divided the total by the number of followers) compared to those using just images.

"It is ironic given the high penetration of mobile devices in Australia that marketers are underexploiting social video as a means to interact with consumers, particularly the highly sought after younger demographic," Nicol observed.

"Social video is marketing Viagra," he declared. "Marketers and brands need to back social video or risk falling behind those already dipping their toe in the water."

Data sourced from The Works; additional content by Warc staff