What sets BeReal apart from other social media?As of July 2022, BeReal was a lesser-known platform for many social media users, with over 82 percent of U.S. survey respondents reporting they had never heard of the app before. Despite low awareness, BeReal is gaining momentum, especially among young users, for its innovative approach to the social media environment. The app, available via the Google Play store and the Apple App Store, introduced several new concepts and features that captivated users and pushed competitors to develop similar solutions.
The double camera postings – which show a selfie and a frontal picture at the same time pushed the two most famous photo-first apps Instagram and Snapchat to add similar features, swiftly followed by TikTok’s new app TikTok Now in September 2022. The overnight popularity of a photo app took the social media environment by surprise, as the top players in the industry have been investing more and more in the video format since TikTok’s stellar rising. While according to the platform’s FAQ the company does not completely exclude the possibility of adding video features in the future, as of October 2022 BeReal is a photo-first social media app.
Features and ethos: How BeReal captivated usersBeReal prompts users once daily with a push notification to take a picture of their surroundings to post. The notifications are sent simultaneously, but the daily time changes each day so that users might show different aspects of their lives. Users can decide to share their locations with friends in the app via the “Maps” feature, a geolocation-powered part of the experience. BeReal users have two minutes of time to take and upload a picture, which will show their surroundings and front-facing photos. Participation is essential to the app’s experience, as users are only allowed to access pictures of their friends and contact after posting themselves first. Users are also allowed to post their photos later if they miss the original push notifications, and BeReal posts can be shared with the app’s global audience, or with friends and contacts only.
More importantly, the app actively discourages the use of filters and photo effects, promoting itself as a more authentic social environment. Around a third of surveyed U.S. users agreed that BeReal was an “authentic social media app,” a sign that the platform’s branding might match users’ perceptions. On BeReal, users are encouraged to post their regular day-to-day life and avoid the proverbial glamourized illusion that characterizes social media. While as only nine percent of respondents in the U.S. have reported they post photos of their day-to-day, over 50 percent of social media users in the U.S. feel that their social media presence does not reflect their life at all.
BeReal users: a United States-lead phenomenonAs of May 2022, BeReal reported the highest number of downloads in the United States, where the app was downloaded over 2.7 million times. Unique visitors of BeReal in the United States kept increasing between March and August 2022, reaching 1.25 million in August. In the second quarter of 2022, the U.S. market appeared to be BeReal’s leading region among both Android and iOS users. By encouraging users to show a less glamourized version of their own lives, BeReal might score higher than other platforms when it comes to user acquisition among younger demographics, especially Gen Z users.
According to research based in the United States of August 2022, women aged between 18 and 24 years were the main demographic using the French-based app: as of August 2022, around 66 percent of BeReal U.S. users were women in this age group. By comparison, only six percent of users were men aged between 18 and 24 years. While BeReal description in the Apple App Store makes clear that the app wants to market itself by rejecting influencers and verified profiles, the company promoted an ambassador program for college and university students in the United States and in possible several other locations from August to November 2022, to better reach one of their targeted demographic.
Aside from securing the United States market for the second quarter of 2022, downloads of the BeReal app increased in Japan and Korea on the Apple App Store, as well as in Japan, Turkey, and Brazil for Android users during the same period.