What is BeReal?
Could BeReal be the new king of social? Google has done a great job of fending off its competition due to its proprietary algorithm that gets stronger as it collects more data over time. However, many VCs and startups feel like there is a weakness in the company formerly known as Facebook. For all of the bad press its received, the bad investments its made, the fickleness of the consumer, and a variety of social network competitors including publicly traded competitors like Snap and Twitter, and others like TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram collectively known as Meta still is on top of the hill. However, investors and founders do remember how quickly Friendster, MySpace, and now Clubhouse were abandoned.
Emerging out of right field is a possible new competitor which should be kept an eye upon. BeReal is a new platform designed to combat all of the issues with current social media including content creation burnout, posting highlights only leading to insecurity, mental health issues, and bullying.
Over 53 million people have it installed, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the Meta ecosystem but this represents a 315% increase year to date. Both TikTok and Instagram have unveiled its response, so it is on their radar. (Instagram has IG Candid Challenges and TikTok has TikTok Now. Both are an exact rip off of BeReal.) Even mainstream media has noticed, with Saturday Night Live airing a BeReal themed skit this past October.
How does it work?
The app is pretty simple. Every day at a random time you’ll get a notification to “be real.” You have 2 minutes to take a picture with both cameras, so users will see your selfie and whatever happens to be in front of you. You can snap the photo late or retake the photo, but followers can check how many reshoots were done. The next day when the notification comes up, yesterday’s photo disappears. You can see how the app prevents things like FOMO, unreal aspirations and expectations, bullying, or creating high quality content consistently.
On the other side, many have commented on the mundaneness of the app. Most people’s lives are, well, boring. How many pictures do I need to see of you at your desk at your job? Others say, well isn’t that the point? Life isn’t a highlight reel. It’s a “b-reel,” an intended double entendre on the name of the app.
Can brands be real?
That being said, someone needs to pay for things, which is where the brands come in. While it doesn’t allow advertising (for now), brands are testing it out in case it does have some legs. A number of brands have tried it out including Chipotle, ShakeShack, Starface, American Eagle, PacSun, e.l.f cosmetics, and the Trident x Sour Patch Kids collaboration.
Although some of the brands have dropped limited edition passwords, promo codes, or other timely prizes, it is counter to what BeReal is about. (BeReal doesn’t want you to be constantly addicted to itself, rather just be on it once a day.) For example, Starface followers got instant access to their limited edition Hello Kitty collection, Chipotle gave discount codes to the first 100 people that saw their post, and American Eagle is giving a daily code away on the platform for the holiday season.
Given its quick uptake, different use case, positive mission, and anti social network stance, BeReal could be positioned to be a Meta killer. At the same time, the last Meta killer, Clubhouse, died before it could get in the ring.
Are you on BeReal? What do you think? Is it a Meta killer property or another has been like Clubhouse? Drop us a note with your opinion!