Social Media

Is BeReal for Real?

BeReal is a photo-sharing app launched in Paris in 2019. It has grown rapidly, with 73 million monthly active users, per Business of Apps, a news site, which also estimated 98% of those users are under 45 years old. To date, the company has raised $90 million in investor funding.

Here’s how the app works. It sends a daily notification to every user, stating, “⚠️Time to BeReal.⚠️.” Users then post a photo within 2 minutes of the notice. The quick turnaround is supposed to foster authenticity. If it’s beyond 2 minutes, the post carries a “not real” label.

Screenshot of "Time to BeReal" notification

BeReal users receive a daily notice: “Time to BeReal.” Image: BeReal.

Each BeReal “moment” has the same dual image format, capturing a standard photo and a selfie, showing the user’s view and her reaction to it. Again, the purpose is to convey real-life activities. The app shares the number of attempts of users to capture their BeReal moment. There are no filters, edit buttons, or follower count — a response to highly edited content and vanity metrics on Instagram and other networks.

There’s also no “Like” option, although recipients can comment or insert a “RealMoji.” Users post just once daily following the BeReal alert. This presumably trains users to return every day.

BeReal for Businesses?

BeReal has no advertising options and discourages commercial use, stating, “BeReal is not designed to promote any kind of goods or services. We want it to remain a safe place where you have fun.”

That hasn’t stopped brands, however. Chipotle and E.L.F. beauty were amongst the first, posting exclusive discount codes to entice users to follow their profiles. Both companies have reached the app’s friend limit, which is rumored to be 5,000. In contrast, Chipotle has 1.2 million followers on Instagram.

Screenshot of Chiptole's BeReal post

This BeReal post from Chipotle contains handwritten text reading, “First 100 people to use code FORREAL in the Chipotle app get a free entrée.” Image: Chipotle.

Businesses considering BeReal should weigh:

  • The user demographic (again, overwhelmingly under age 45),
  • The less-filtered, low-tech approach,
  • Staffing to respond to the alerts immediately.

The opportunity is access to a Gen Z audience. But early adoption has risks.

For one, BeReal could quickly fade. It’s new, with no clear revenue model. The app has not evolved — presumably by choice — to support the larger audiences of brands and content creators. Meanwhile, mainstream apps are rolling out copycat features: TikTok Now and, soon, Instagram Candid.

Nonetheless, the app is worth trying if Gen Zs are a target audience and your staff can respond to the less structured, in-the-moment approach. Be ready for the unfiltered version of your business —  handwritten messages, behind-the-scenes pics, and sneak previews with honest reactions.

Samantha Collier
Samantha Collier
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