Touting itself as the anti-social media app, BeReal is picking up steam among Gen Z. Typically when a new social media channel starts gaining momentum, marketers (while resisting groans at the prospect of yet another social channel) start strategizing whether or not their brand needs a “seat at the table.” There are internal debates on whether the brand should be an early adopter or if it should wait until the site is verifiably mainstream.
With the rise of BeReal, marketers should not be discussing content bandwidth or auditing if the app aligns with brand personas. The question this time around is not whether to adopt a new social network, but about adopting what the social network represents.
Launched in 2019, BeReal encourages users to share one picture every day to show what they are doing at a given moment. Users can add captions, comment on friends’ posts, and react through personalized reaction photos like RealMojis.
Upon posting, one feed appears with friends’ posts, and another is a discovery feed that features other users doing mostly mundane tasks. The feeds are updated once a day and posts expire once the next BeReal alert is sent out.
Users only have two minutes to send their photo, which takes a picture using both the front and back cameras on a phone. There is no time for staging and there are no filters or other photo editing tools.
Year-to-date, its monthly active users have grown 315%, with the app installed on over 7 million devices.
Like other apps such as Dispo or Poparazzi, BeReal represents the tangible effort to embrace more authenticity. We’ve all seen this in our everyday lives (markedly exacerbated by the pandemic) but the idea seems to be finally taking hold in our online world.
There is a growing market of consumers who are ready to move on from Instagram-like photo-sharing apps. They don’t like its carefully curated, polished creator content. A recent report indicates that Gen Z is more likely than other age groups to agree that there is too much pressure to be perfect on social media.
They are also more likely than other age groups to agree that people should show more of their “real” selves and lives on social. This also affects purchase decisions: 82% of Gen Z say they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising.
For years, marketers have been told to be “authentic” with consumers. And while it was a romantic and somewhat amorphous ideal, authenticity as a brand usually conjured up images of a casual, relatable tone, brand values rooted in meaningful causes, and overall corporate transparency.
While those are still extremely important attributes, authenticity is also now about embracing living in the moment, a slice of life, unfiltered. BeReal proudly brags that it is not the app for influencers. Marketers should pay close attention to this shift.
The standards of authenticity are changing, and it cannot be ignored as younger consumers are finally putting real action, time, and attention behind it. How can you keep up?
The way brands can embrace this new wave of authenticity is to have a dedicated strategy for cultivating strong consumer relationships – where real consumers will do the talking for you.
Communities of loyal consumers not only personify authenticity for your brand to others but also provide untouchable resiliency to the shifting trends in online habits.
The message behind the rise of BeReal should excite marketers. We’re entering an era where it’s *okay* if not everyone is a professional-level photographer online, and where a friend enjoying your product or service in a totally boring setting is perfectly acceptable and possibly even more influential than a glossy, staged, filtered, sponsored partnership.
Now is the ripe opportunity for brands to capitalize on this growing shift and mobilize consumers to share real, unfiltered experiences with your brand.
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