BeReal: Is the new social media platform here to stay?


What is Be Real?

BeReal is a simple social media application where users post an unedited photo once per day when they receive a push notification. When the user receives the push notification, they have two minutes to send a photo that shows exactly what they’re up to at that moment. Once they’ve done this, they can see exactly what their friends have posted.

Initially launched in December 2019, BeReal has hit the headlines in 2022. The new kid on the block in social media and a genuine headline-grabber, it has certainly caught the attention of younger generations.

The company claims that the app offers users a chance to show others who they really are. Plus, the app allows users to capture a selfie and a front-facing picture simultaneously, so it’s incredibly easy to use.

However, the app was not an instant hit. As we covered recently, the app only began gaining substantial traction in 2022. That said, since then, its popularity has skyrocketed and the app was downloaded 172,522 times in the U.S iOS app store in March. Plus, studies have also shown that despite being around since the end of 2019, 65% of the app’s downloads have occurred in 2022.

So, what has led to this sudden rise in popularity, and is the social media app here to stay? Let’s take a look.

The appeal of BeReal

The primary appeal of BeReal is that it squarely aims itself at groups of real-life friends. While Instagram and Twitter focus on likes and RTs from strangers, BeReal focuses much more on interactions between people in the same social group. Everyone gets the push notification at the same time, and the app offers a real-time snapshot of a friend’s day.

Added to this, it seems as though there’s growing demand for a photo-sharing app that’s different to Instagram, which has become increasingly complicated in recent years. Now known for overly-polished creator content, Instagram is also packed with new features like Reels and Shopping. Due to its complexity, it has lost some level of popularity with a younger audience. BeReal’s non-filtered approach and simple-to-use format make it a contender for the throne.

Why has BeReal grown so quickly?

BeReal say that the growth of the social media app is organic. The company attributes its growth to word-of-mouth referrals, as well as a college ambassador program and new features. However, the level of rapid growth we’ve seen typically implies marketing or ad spend, not just organic adoption.

On top of this, some students claim they were paid by BeReal to promote the social media app. They claim they were paid $30 for a referral and $50 for an app download with a review. Here, it’s worth pointing out that the a16z and Accel-backed app raised $30 million last year, so it does have the cash for this sort of promotion.

BeReal in a fiercely competitive world of social media apps

The rapid growth of BeReal is incredibly interesting, and the social media app is certainly one to watch for the rest of 2022.

However, whether it can sustain this level of growth remains to be seen. In the last year, both Poparazzi and Dispo have emerged as serious contenders in the social media sphere, only to fade back into obscurity once again.

Due to this, we have to consider how many social media platforms can be sustained in the current environment. Plus, it’s currently unclear whether the mechanics of BeReal can actually be engineered for practical user engagement. While its USP of no control and communication between small circles of friends may provide advantages, it could prove difficult to monetise and brands may not be able to engage.

To really see, we’re going to have to watch this space very closely.