Released in 2019, BeReal is a French social media app that sends a daily notification at a random time in the day, prompting users to share a simultaneous photo from both the front and back cameras. The app has experienced a surge in popularity, attracting 73.5 million monthly active users.
Engagement with BeReal amongst the Gen Z community has skyrocketed. However, its rapid rise to fame has led to many questions: what makes BeReal so special? The app is considered unique: no filters, no editing, no followers. It also emphasises authenticity, allowing users to show friends ‘who they really are, for once’. The app has been referred to as ‘anti-Instagram’, focusing on posting in the moment, ignoring the idea of ‘perfection’. Sharing random moments of your life on BeReal can be liberating, removing the need for validation which is ever-present on other social media platforms. Despite this, other platforms are racing to provide their own spin on the unique nature of BeReal: TikTok and Instagram are both jumping on the trend.
Push notifications encourage app-loyalty, leading to the surge in daily active users, making the app stand out from the crowd. Whilst encouraging normality, authenticity, as well as conversations with friends through comments and reactions, BeReal also allows users to look back at their memories, encrypted for the user only.
However, the speed of its arrival on the market has been accompanied by reported bug issues, causing user frustration. BeReal also features a discovery tab, allowing users to view posts from strangers across the world. Privacy settings are easy to use, ensuring your posts are only seen by Your Friends, a key factor to consider, especially with a younger audience.
The app currently prohibits adverts on the platform as this goes against the BeReal ethos. However, with recent news of Disney+ and Netflix introducing an ad offering, it cannot be ruled out entirely. Despite a current lack of advertising, brands can get involved with this popular conversation quite easily. The BeReal format can be replicated for organic social ads: a clever but simple way of leaning into the noise. It is key to prioritise ideas over aesthetics, and channel creativity when getting involved with BeReal. Ryanair displays a fine example of utilising this format in a clever and funny way, across multiple social media channels.
Advertisers and brands need to identify how to promote in a way that correlates with the app’s concept. BeReal is certainly a social media app to watch closely as it continues to grow. Advertisers should encourage clients to think about the app when designing organic social content, to get creative but above all to share some glimpses into their own reality.