Social media app, ‘BeReal’  was founded in 2020 by Alex Barreyat, which until 2022 flew very much under the radar. The middle of 2022 was when we really saw BeReal gain momentum and quickly with the younger audience. Much of the initial buzz around BeReal was created on TikTok, with young people sharing their BeReal snaps and memes on the app encouraging their peers to get involved.

What is BeReal?

The app is a real time photo sharing app. Once a day at random times, the app gives you a 2 minute warning that lets you know it’s time to post your snap. If you’re not able to catch what you’re up to in this time frame for whatever reason, it gives you an option to post late, however your image will have a time stamp of how late you posted. You can only see your friend’s BeReal’s if you post one yourself. Your image will disappear after 24 hours when the next ‘time to post your BeReal’ notification comes up (similar to the Instagram & Snapchat stories). ‘Likes’ are also not a thing on BeReal, you can ‘react’ to BeReal’s by sending real time picture reactions or commenting on their snaps.

Screenshot of BeReal

Why are gen Z going crazy for it?

In recent years we’ve seen a growing preference for authenticity on socials, especially in gen Z. Whether that’s in their demand for transparency from brands & influencers or in their candid, more ‘mundane’ snaps in their photo dumps on Instagram – we are seeing gen Z trade in the filtered, picture-perfect social media presence (more typical of millennials) to a more honest, care-free and natural online presence.

This shift towards a more ‘real’ social media landscape could be the sole factor as to the sudden surge in popularity of BeReal. The app doesn’t allow for filters or editing of pictures adding to the authentic feel of the app. The absence of likes could be another factor to its success as it takes the pressure off posting pictures (which we can see from Instagram is something a lot of people prefer from the amount of people choosing to hide their likes on their posts).

Is it here to stay?

It’s hard to predict if this app is here for the long haul or just is set to dwindle (Vine ring a bell?). Although we can’t say for sure how long this app will keep gen Z occupied, we can predict that, whether it BeReal or another, newer platform, we’re sure to see more apps emerge and gain popularity that cater towards the ‘unfiltered’ aesthetic. 

Should my business BeReal?

Each BeReal user has their own community as you need to send and accept friend requests to other users to be able to view their BeReals. This feature keeps the authentic feel but also creates a barrier for brands to have much impact or gain any exposure. We can’t imagine too many users will be accepting requests from brands to be advertised to, especially smaller more unknown brands. This gated-content feature means creating an audience to market to, especially if you’re an SME, will be virtually impossible and even if you find a way around this,  return on investment will be extremely limited and hard to measure. Although we wouldn’t recommend  BeReal as your first port of call in terms of social media marketing, it’s not to say some of the household brand names have already got the knack of ‘BeingReal’…

A relatively low effort and low cost way of using BeReal as a brand is to post one-off, exclusive discount codes, giveaways or promotions to your loyal customer base on the app. Mexican fast-food chain ‘Chipotle’ were the first brand to use the app in a very obviously promotional way and were really ahead of the curb by using BeReal in a unique way to increase sales. I’m sure we will be seeing more of the big name brands using their BeReal accounts for unique codes and offers, especially with Black Friday just around the corner.

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