BeReal: A one-hit wonder?
May 2023

By Emily Ryan

In the fast-paced world of social media, trends come and go, and platforms rise and fall in popularity. One such platform that recently experienced both success and a subsequent decline is BeReal.

Launched with great enthusiasm, the app promised an authentic social media experience, connecting users with real people and fostering genuine interactions. However, despite its initial popularity, the platform has faced several challenges, which have led to its decline.

In this blog post, we will explore the rise and fall of BeReal, the forthcoming summer of new updates, Real People and a Spotify collaboration, and the debate surrounding its authenticity.

The rise of BeReal

When BeReal first entered the social media arena, it generated buzz and a sense of anticipation. Its unique selling point was to provide a space for authentic connections, encouraging users to share real moments and engage in meaningful conversations. People were tired of the superficial nature often associated with other platforms, and BeReal appeared to offer a refreshing alternative.

The platform gained traction quickly, attracting a diverse user base that appreciated its emphasis on capturing genuine moments. Users found solace in the absence of curated content, carefully crafted personas, and the pressure to accumulate likes and followers. BeReal’s popularity soared, gaining 100 million downloads in just three years. It seemed poised to become the go-to platform for those seeking authentic connections.

The criticism of BeReal

The main complaint about BeReal is that it’s USP is more of a feature than a fully formed app. Can a feature hold people’s attention for a long period of time or is there a shelf-life?

Steven Bartlett remarked:

“The lack of “creator” content will cause a growth and engagement problem – on Vine 90% of the users didn’t produce content, they were there to consume. The best social apps have gotten this balance right. BeReal’s network design is more like WhatsApp – leveraging only your phone book – than a social graph. And with all this said, monetisation will be exceptionally challenging when you’re spending only seconds a day on the app”.

The fall of BeReal.

It was only a matter of time before BeReal faced stiff competition from other social media giants, who began implementing its core features. TikTok and Instagram leveraged their existing user bases and resources to introduce features that mimicked BeReal’s appeal, diluting its USP.

Without the need to leave their go to Socials to capture an impromptu snapshot, people quickly lost interest. The app also left people feeling more socially anxious, through the comparison of people’s raw and unfiltered life. The social anxiety to be doing something interesting at every moment, along with FOMO saw people quickly deleting the app off their phones, losing an average of 40m active users from July 2022.

The road to redemption

Despite its decline, BeReal is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The platform has announced a series of updates, including a feature called Real People.

The ‘anti-Instagram’ app has said that its UK users will be first to try out a ‘curated timeline of the world’s most interesting people’. Athletes, artists, activists, and everything in between will be included in an ‘ever-changing collection of who is inspiring and intriguing’.

While the new feature sounds opposed to its anti-influencer philosophy, BeReal explains, “RealPeople isn’t about influencing, amassing likes and comments, or promoting brands. You won’t see perfect photoshopped pictures, product recommendations, or ads disguised as posts.” The app ensures users that RealPeople will be a combination of people you know and don’t and that it’s an attempt to show that public figures are real and boring too. We’re not convinced.

In addition to Real People, BeReal has also struck a collaboration with Spotify, integrating music streaming into the platform. This partnership aims to provide users with a more immersive experience, connecting their social interactions with their favourite music.

The forthcoming updates demonstrate BeReal’s commitment to enticing users back to the platform. However, it remains to be seen whether these measures will be enough to reverse its fortunes.

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