You may have heard of BeReal, the social media app which prides itself on not being ‘another social network’. The app was founded in 2020, but has just started to take off, amassing 3.2 million downloads in the first quarter of 2022.
What’s unique about BeReal is its no-nonsense, simple focus on authenticity and, well… ‘being real.’ But is it worth the hype? We put the app to the test.
What is BeReal?
BeReal is a simple social media app that lets you share one picture a day with your close circle of friends. There are no extra features, no complicated algorithms, no crowded feeds – just you, your friends list and a ‘Discovery’ section to find other people, should you want to expand your circle.
The premise behind BeReal is straightforward, too: at a random time each day, users receive one notification informing them ‘it’s time to BeReal’. They will then have two minutes to post a picture and show what they’re doing. A word of warning, though – the app captures from the front and back camera simultaneously, so be ready for anything…
Your friends’ ‘BeReal’ posts will be locked until you post your picture – a clever hook designed to keep users engaged and active.
What makes BeReal different?
The app was clearly designed with minimalism in mind. Nothing about it wants users to spend hours glued to the screen. Once you take your daily picture – and hopefully see your friends’ posts too – that’s pretty much it.
The difference with this app is its clear message of authenticity. Gone are the days of laborious, curated content to make feeds and highlight reels look perfect – BeReal is about random, sudden and candid moments.
Should brands care about BeReal?
Advertising on BeReal could be near impossible, for now. We suspect it might be a while before influencers embrace the app – as BeReal’s network-building capability starts and ends with your phone’s contact list, and you can’t currently link the app to other social accounts you have. This means your profile is heavily focused on, and targeted to, just your close circle of friends.
Even the app’s description warns: “If you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.” BeReal doesn’t want to make its users famous; it wants them to be authentic, offering them a chance to be their real selves online. You won’t find filters or advanced video editing tools on BeReal, but if you’re on board with the premise of the app, you probably won’t need or miss them either.What brands should care about, however, is the social media-wide move towards more candid content as a whole. From Instagram “photo dumps” (read: candid, unfiltered carousels of content), to the Advertising Standards Authority’s new rule making it compulsory for influencers to disclose when they use a beauty filter to promote skincare or cosmetics, there’s an ever-present and growing demand and shift for more natural posts – on all networks.
It’s early days for BeReal, and it’s probably not the space for brands right now. But the app is growing fast, and there’s nothing stopping it from incorporating ads in the future. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this – and seeing whether candid content really is here to stay too.
Check out more social media insights from Battenhall.