Typically, it’s not worth mentioning an emerging social media platform alongside the behemoths until that new platform surpasses at least 250 million users. But it’s hard to ignore the growth that BeReal has had this year.
BeReal is a social app that prompts users once a day to take and share photos with their front- and back-facing cameras of what they’re doing at that time. BeReal is a breakout hit, especially for users in their teens and 20s.
The France-based startup encourages unfiltered and raw communication, a stark contrast to the more filtered content on most other social media apps. BeReal has the potential to tap into its user base and generate revenue through subscriptions or advertising.
Emily Bootle’s article BeReal and the Authenticity Trap makes a great argument, though, that presenting authenticity online is too idealistic. And that it may be impossible to show our true selves on the Internet.
- Launched in March 2021
- 53 million app installs, but only 9% of users on Android open the app daily (TechCrunch)
- In contrast, a BeReal source said they have 20 million daily active users (TechCrunch), up from 7.9 million in July (The Information)
For comparison with other social networks:
- Raised $60 million Series B round at a $600 million valuation
- Based on this valuation, BeReal’s estimated value per daily user is higher than those of Snap and Pinterest.
The Use Cases
Currently, BeReal has no business model. But they may be considering subscriptions. Regardless, brands are already figuring out how to show up on the platform, even though the app is only for spontaneous photo-sharing.
Chipotle ran a billboard campaign in Time Square called Buy the Dip. Eat the Dip. To bring that campaign onto BeReal, a handful of their social media team camped out in front of the billboard, waiting for the BeReal notification to prompt them to take their daily photo.
In this Inverse article, they cover how brands like Pac-Sun and Sour Patch Kids are running brand campaigns on BeReal.
First, I maintain the stance that every interface and feature gets copied in the social media space. Sure enough, TikTok already cloned the app with a feature called TikTok Now.
Overall, I think BeReal is worth paying attention to at this moment. It’s grown considerably, and I agree that the curated and filtered social media lifestyle is unrealistic to maintain in the long run.
That said, I believe that real life isn’t that exciting, and frankly, it's depressing for many. Social media has become more about escapism than an actual social activity.
I personally struggle with finding the balance between sharing my real life on social media versus my accomplishments (or honest opinions). Throw in brand deals, and you’ll quickly find yourself in a social media climate that is just as complex to navigate as some political jurisdictions.
Lastly, over the past few years, there’s been a growing problem of criminals using Snapchat and Instagram to rob influencers. Savvy robbers track influencers’ posts to see when they’ve left their houses to rob them. I worry that this real-time photo-sharing feature (whether on BeReal or other social media platforms) will greatly inflame this problem.