What is BeReal? Marketing itself as an alternative to mainstream social media, it recently became the top-ranked app on the App Store in the US.
BeReal, the social media app built around capturing ‘authentic moments’, has exploded in popularity this year, especially among a younger audience.
The French photo sharing app, first launched in 2020 by Alexis Barreyat, presents itself as an alternative to other platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. To be video ad shows people carefully taking pictures and asks, “What if social media were different from this?”
Users of the BeReal app will all be notified at the same time once a day, giving them two minutes to post a photo showing what they are doing right now. The notification time is random, so people can’t anticipate it.
The app takes a photo with both the front and rear cameras at the same time, to capture the person’s face and activity. BeReal says this gives users a “unique way to discover who your friends really are in their everyday lives”.
BeReal mentions some of the current social media trends in its ads, stating that the app has “no filters, no likes, no followers”. It includes some ideas from past social media platforms, such as the ever popular front backwhich also featured contemporaneous photos of the front and back.
The app still has many features that are quite common on social media platforms. Users can connect with friends and comment and comment on the images their friends post, while adding photos to a “memories” section similar to an Instagram profile.
Rise in popularity
Despite being around since 2020, the app has received a lot of attention in recent months, especially among TikTok’s Gen Z audience. In April, monthly active users had grown 315 percent since the start of the year, according to Apptopia.
BeReal recently became the top-rated free app in the Apple App Store in the US. The country appears to have become BeReal’s main market, as it represents about 35 percent of users, according to data shared with Fast Company. The UK is in second place with 17 percent of the app’s users, while France represents 10 percent.
The app’s popularity has recently hit Twitter, leading to a series of comical versions of the BeReal concept are spreading across the internet.
Investors are also paying attention. BeReal received $30 million in Series A funding last year led by Andrew Chen of Andreessen Horowitz, Newcomer reported, while Business Insider reported in May that: BeReal raises $85 million in capital at a valuation of $600 million.
It is unclear whether BeReal will be able to sustain its recent growth trajectory or whether it is a temporary internet fad.
Some media outlets have praised BeReal, and Vice described it as the “only good social media app”. But others have criticized the claim of authenticity, as users can retake their photo as many times as they want before uploading it.
It is also unlikely that BeReal will be able to remain in its current state in the future if it is to make a profit. The app currently has no subscriptions or ads leading to some theories that BeReal wants to reach a wider audience before adding profitable features.
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