All you need to know about BeReal – the app that users are calling anti-Instagram

The ‘anti-Instagram’ app that frames an unfiltered world has been soaring with increased daily active usage; here is all you need to know about keeping it real on BeReal.

If you have recently been seeing ‘here’s my BeReal’ posts on Instagram and Twitter, and have been trying to figure out what that is, you are at the right place. The app which recently closed a Series B round of funding of USD 60 Mn and is valued at an estimate of 587 Mn USD, has been a huge hit with teenagers. Here we explore how and why several social media users are trying to be real.

The TechCrunch report that disclosed the round of funding also states that the app currently has around 20 Mn daily active users, which is a sharp spike from the 7.9 Mn users it hosted in July. The change from curated feeds of filtered posts to seeing close friends and family in their ordinary life has been a unique proposition that is appealing to all users.

Social media platforms have habitually been used for communication, entertainment, or information, but it has also been increasingly becoming the reason for glorifying an unrealistic life that is filled with filters and frames that cut out the authenticity of existence. Several studies and psychologists have often referred to social networks as the reason for depression, anxiety, loneliness, and smartphone addiction.

Since not using social media would not be an option in the digital age, the solution was a social media app that encourages users to ‘be real’.

The BeReal Founding

Founded by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau, the social media app has been gaining elevated popularity since mid-2022, despite being launched in 2020. It has been surfacing as the “anti-Instagram” app that the youngest generations on social media have been flocking to.

The popularity of this app was also boosted by the frustration of Instagram users that started off as a “photo-sharing app” but then now has become a mix of Snapchat, TikTok, and an app that users are not getting reach on or not seeing what they want to due to frequent algorithmic changes. There were several other factors that boosted BeReal’s popularity, which mainly includes its widespread through college campuses, paid programs, unique social interaction format, and celebrity usage.

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Currently, the app stands at #7 ranking in the Social Network category on App Store, with a 4.8 rating garnered through 2.7k reviews, the app has 10+ Mn downloads on Android and over 85K reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

The BeReal Functionality

The unique functionality of this app is that it sends a notification at any random time of the day, and the users have 2 minutes to post an image of what they’re doing and themselves. All friends also receive the notification at the same time and users can react with ‘realmojis’ – their own image showing the desired expression.

The app UI is fairly simple and encourages users to only add their family and friends. BeReal is designed to be a close-knit affair, maintain real connections, and only share their daily happenings with this circle. Users can go through their calendar to go back to images posted, and go through their library of ‘real posts’.

The BeReal Content Format

BeReal has introduced a new content format itself, which is basically the picture-in-picture frame similar to the ones seen during video chat, with the smaller screen showing a selfie of the user and the bigger screen showing what the user is doing. This content format has launched a wave of posts on other social media platforms.

This format is being universally used across social media platforms by celebrities, creators, content pages, and general users. We see Jack Harlow posting a BeReal on Twitter, and cinephile pages on Instagram.

With growing popularity comes growing duplication in the social media industry, and after BeReal’s popularity soared, TikTok launched ‘TikTok Now’ and Instagram launched a similar dual-camera feature and ‘IG Candid Challenges’.

Active Usage & Path Ahead

Several technology enthusiasts and personalities have pointed out that an unfiltered life is also synonymous with uninteresting and mundane posts, and the app’s longevity would be dictated by its ability to sustain users during its peak period, which is right now. It has also been touted as an app that may be able to function without the most important revenue-generating tool – advertising, although the ‘how’ is unclear.

After the rise and fall of several social media apps seen during the post-2020 era such as HouseParty and Clubhouse, the current spike in daily active users may also be a short-lived trend and not necessarily break the pie and gain a share of the monumental daily active user base that cross a minimum of hundred million users.

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