To BeReal or not to BeReal:

Passing fad or must-have for
social media strategies?

BeReal’s having its moment. The ‘anti-social media’ app launched in December 2019 and, by 2022, was crowned Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. As we write this, it’s at 73.5 million monthly users (and counting) and is number 98 in Apple’s top 100 free apps list.

Its skyrocketing popularity means brands are asking if it’s time to jump on the BeReal bandwagon, or if it’s best to sit this one out. If you’re asking yourself the same question, keep reading as we dive into everything from who’s using it to how your business could – and if we think it’ll be a permanent fixture in social strategies.

First, how does BeReal work?

At a random time each day, users get a ‘Time to BeReal’ notification. Once they tap ‘take my BeReal’, front and back camera snapshots are taken at the same time. The idea is that everyone takes their BeReal at the same time, showing exactly what they were doing the moment the notification landed. You can’t see your BeReal friends’ content until you take your own, there are zero filters, and if you re-take yours, it (shamefully) tells people how many re-takes you did.

Why signing up could be good for business

One of its appeals is its sizeable Gen-Z audience. Right now, two-thirds of users are between the ages of 18 and 24. So, it makes sense to consider it if you’re looking for ways to reach younger audiences. It’s also a great space to be authentic; it’s a far cry from Instagram’s curated feed and could, therefore, help your brand create more personal connections.

But what could ‘being real’ actually look like for brands?

Let’s see how some of the trailblazers already using the app have done it. One of the first to use BeReal was Mexican fast-food chain, Chipotle, who shared a coupon code, giving the first 100 people free food. It worked a treat – no surprise, as everyone loves free food.

Taking a more behind-the-scenes approach, popular Gen-Z beauty brand, e.l.f. Cosmetics, shares sneak peeks into product drops, photoshoots and more. This has got us thinking about BeReal’s potential for employee advocacy, or employee ‘influencers’, as a way to champion authenticity and build stronger internal relationships.

Plus, in a much-anticipated turn of events, the app has announced an upcoming integration with Spotify. People listening to music or podcasts while taking their BeReals will be able to add these to their daily posts. This has swayed us somewhat. We were wondering how much longevity the app had in its primitive state, but now that it’s turning to clever partnerships, we think there could be more to come from BeReal.

Not to BeReal: Why it might be worth avoiding

Like all new crazes, people are wondering if BeReal may simply be a fad – here today and gone tomorrow. After all, what’s to stop its (dare we say) basic design and features from falling out of favour in a world where attention spans are waning? What’s more, TikTok and Instagram have rolled out new BeReal-inspired features, ‘TikTok Now’ and ‘Candid Challenges’, with almost-identical functionalities. Since there’s so much more content to consume on the platforms, compared to just once a day on BeReal, these updates could harm its use.

And there’s one tiny (huge) problem brands could face, in that using the app for advertising’s technically prohibited on the platform. For now, the T&Cs are holding firm, so we say it’s not worth the risk, but watch this space – we have a feeling things might change.

To conclude…

We’ve seen a growing demand for authenticity from consumers this year. People are tired of the Instagram algorithm serving them sponsored content and Reels from people they don’t know. That’s why we think BeReal’s doing so well. It’s gone back to basics and feels a little like our Instagram feeds back in 2010. It makes you (fondly) realise that maybe everyone’s life is as boring as yours. It’s authentic. It’s simple. But it still gives that all-important dopamine hit once a day.

For now, we’ll be holding our horses with BeReal, but we’re keeping our eyes peeled on the collaborations to come. While its popularity may not last forever, we do think it’ll leave a lasting legacy, which brands should heed on their other social media platforms: authenticity rules.