The last time we heard, Facebook was struggling with ‘waves of disenfranchised youngsters looking for a hipper alternative’.

Twitter is apparently struggling, with a drop in daily engagement, projected sales for the next three months falling short of expectations and a stock price plummet.

Instagram has stuck the knife into fledgling platform Vine by offering similar video capabilities for its already large incumbent audience. Brands seem to prefer it too. 

It’s not looking pretty out there for our favourite social networks. Of course, whether you trust any of the above reports depends heavily on how much sway you have with the respected sources and how much confirmation bias is at work.

Let’s take a look at some actual statistics to see how healthy social media channels are in 2014.

I’ll be using We Are Social’s latest Digital Statshot which brings together some interesting statistics from around the world from various different sources.

I’ll also be looking at the social media stats from our own Internet Statistics Compendium updated last month, which gives some helpful insight for brands. 

Active users by social platforms

The number of Facebook active users grew 2.3% in the past quarter to 1.35bn. This is up from 1.23bn in 2013.

However Facebook’s own data suggests that growth in some its key countries, notably India and Indonesia, has slowed considerably in recent months. Although this may be down to Facebook’s own strategic purging of fake accounts rather than loss of interest.

64m users log into Facebook daily, a 19% increase year over year. Facebook also has 1.12bn active users on mobile, a 29% increase year over year.

Twitter published its own user figure report last month, showing the platform now has 284m active users around the world, a growth from a reported 241m in 2013. According to Twitter’s report, 500m tweets are sent per day, 80% of Twitter users are on mobile, 77% are outside of the US and its social video platform Vine has more than 40m users.

The popularity of mobile chat apps continues to rise, with WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE all showing strong growth in recent months.

The trend for mobile-first also continues, with more than 80% of the world’s social media users now accessing their accounts via mobile devices.

Brands on social

Globally just 30% of internet users have actually liked a brand’s Facebook page. This is according to GlobalWebIndex survey from July 2014.

A Social Media Examiner survey from a few months earlier reports that only 43% of marketers believe that Facebook is still working for them. However there is an increase in marketers wishing to improve matters, with 64% saying they wanted to increase their Facebook activities.

Facebook still works if you’re a brand, you just have to work a little harder than you did last year to achieve success. Here’s our own head of social Matt Owen with an explanation why some Facebook pages still reach 82% of their fans.

For Twitter, the same percentage of marketers wish to increase their Twitter activity. 

According to a September 2014 report from ExactTarget, tweets from media and entertainment companies receive 23.6 retweets on average.

Most industry tweets are sent between 3pm and 6pm, with Friday being the most popular day. Tweets with photos are by far the most popular, receiving the most engagement.

Here’s Matt Owen again with some fantastic advice on how you can blast your Twitter engagement rates through the roof.