The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.
BeReal is the latest trending social app to quickly rise up the download charts, with a few crucial twists.
A self-styled antidote to the overproduced and manicured world of social media, the app offers little in the way of new technology. However, BeReal’s focus on spontaneity, authenticity, and transparency has drawn an influx of Gen Z users from across the globe.
Launched two years ago, the platform is now making waves, with downloads increasing by 315% since the start of the year and enticing around 2.93 million daily active users, according to Apptopia.
A little slice of ordinary life
BeReal’s premise is simple: to show slices of ordinary life without explanation or curation. Every day, at a different time, a notification pops up reminding users to post. Users then have a two-minute window within which they must post two images, one using the selfie camera and one using the back camera.
Users can only see their friend’s posts after they themselves have posted, meaning the app is intrinsically designed to encourage active users as opposed to passive content consumers.
It will be interesting to see which brands will enter the BeReal universe in the near future -- and, more importantly, use it successfully in a way that doesn’t alienate its audience and risk countering the authentic design of the platform.
Unlocking BeReal’s potential to reach key demographics
So, what opportunity does this present for brands? Though the app doesn’t offer brands pay-to-play advertising options, early adopters are finding effective ways to promote their brand and capture user attention. For example, one fast-food chain shared a limited promo code for free food to users.
While there’s a huge opportunity for brands to add real value, it’s not a one-size-fits-all platform. Not every brand will be a good match. Due to BeReal’s ethos of transparency and authenticity, brands must think about the audience they are trying to reach, the audience the app attracts, and whether its audience resonates with the app.
It’s important that brands also tell an authentic story, and lean into that, rather than sharing the polished narrative we so often see across other social platforms. Without a well-planned strategy that delivers real value to users, a brand’s audience will smell an ad a mile off.
A social force to be reckoned with
With no filters, edits or curation, BeReal is a welcome look at the more mundane and genuine aspects of our lives, which may be just the thing younger generations are seeking. Previous apps focused on overly curated and polished content have left Gen Zs feeling disconnected, which is possibly why this new addition to the world of social media appears to be resonating so strongly with this age bracket.
To continue its relevance, BeReal and the brands looking to join its hype must walk a fine line between evolving its product to keep users interested and coming back for more, while always maintaining the core message of authenticity at its forefront.
So will BeReal stand the test of time and become a permanent fixture in the social media landscape? Ultimately it may be too soon to tell. However, the strong download figures appear to tell a positive story. If these user numbers continue to rise, then this app could be a social force to be reckoned with in the future.