Google Plus Just as Popular as Twitter in U.S., Study Says

And has more visitors than Instagram, Pinterest

Google Plus has the same number of U.S. users as Twitter and more opportunity for brands, according to a new survey from Forrester Research. Google Plus, the 2-year-old network that put social in the search giant, is far from a ghost town as some have called it, the survey said.

In fact, 22 percent of people in a 60,000-person survey said they visit Google Plus monthly, the same percentage as people who said they visit Twitter. Of course, 72 percent visit Facebook monthly. Google Plus visitors topped LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

Nate Elliott, the Forrester researcher who found that brands are having a tougher time reaching Facebook users without paid campaigns, did the study.

“Put simply, Google Plus isn’t the Facebook killer some hoped it would be,” Elliott wrote on his blog today. “But that doesn’t mean marketers should ignore Plus. Far from it: I believe every marketer should use Google Plus.”

Elliott found that top brands have about 90 percent as many Google Plus fans as they have Twitter followers, on average.

“The brands we studied have more followers on Google Plus than on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram combined,” Elliott wrote.

The report also found that Google Plus fans engage more with brand posts than they do on Twitter. Google says it has more than 300 million monthly users, which is more than Twitter at 240 million, but Nielsen has found people spend little time on Google Plus.

A recent New York Times Article called it a "ghost town," but that was met by some passionate fans, who disagreed with the comparison. Still, most marketers advise brands to have a presence on Google Plus because it can affect search positions.