What is ‘BeReal’ and how does it work? Get to know Gen Z’s new favourite app

Here's everything brands and creators need to know about BeReal.
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Last updated: August 26, 2022

BeReal is the hottest new photo-sharing app. It notifies all users to take a real-life image, within the same two minutes, at a different time every day. Here’s why this new social app is making waves.

BeReal has been spotted in the top five app download charts recently, as social users cry out for more authentic social media experiences.

They’re swapping VSCO edited images for raw photo dumps, ‘ugly’ Instagram feeds are trending, in-the-moment photo fillers are influencers’ latest obsession, and if you’re still not convinced, look at TikTok’s meteoric rise. The short-form video app has played a major role in changing user attitudes towards wanting less polish and curation from social content.

This craving for more authenticity comes from our newfound appreciation of online conversations and interactions that are real. So many are now learning how to safely and mindfully use social. We know that life isn’t as perfect as a curated feed, and users are realising they get more joy out of social platforms when they’re able to share and engage with more authentic and unfiltered content. 

Social platforms are responding to this demand for authenticity by aiming to create more meaningful social media experiences. Enter BeReal. It’s the latest trending social app that’s seen downloads increasing by 315% since the beginning of the year.

So what is BeReal and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is BeReal?

As the name suggests, BeReal is a new social media app that encourages users to be real and create more authentic social connections. BeReal is designed to “help people take a step away from the overly curated feeds of other apps” and simply connect with friends at a random time, every single day. 

The app aims to achieve this through its basic photo capturing and sharing function. Users can only shoot and publish unedited views from their mobile’s front and back camera. Photos can’t be uploaded from their camera roll or edited within the app. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]

How does BeReal work?

The basics

One notification a day is sent to everyone on the app simultaneously. This daily notification randomly arrives at a different time every day. Once you receive that surprise notification, you have just two minutes to take a snapshot of what you’re doing. No filters, editing, or retouching allowed – just retakes. 

Shot taken, you have the ability to keep it private and just share it with your friends, or publish it to BeReal’s ‘Discovery’ page, where any user can see and interact with it. Because everyone is posting at the exact same time, BeReal offers a unique social experience that’s differentiated from other social channels. For now, at least!

If you can’t be on your phone for a particular reason and miss the two-minute posting window, don’t stress. You can still take your BeReal when you’re ready and just upload it late. The only downside is you won’t be able to view your friend’s BeReal’s for that day until you post your own.

Pro-tip: To get the real BeReal experience (no pun intended) try to upload your daily post as soon as you get your notification. This has actually become the unspoken rule of the app! Some users get the daily notification and wait to post later in the day when they know they’ll be doing something ‘cooler’, but that defeats the purpose of driving an authentic experience within the app. 

Interacting with friends and other users

Now, this wouldn’t be an actual social media app without the ability to interact with others. BeReal gives you the option to comment on your friends’ latest BeReal posts, or live-react to anyone’s posts on your Friends’ feed or Discovery feed with ‘RealMojis’. 

Pro-tip: The RealMoji feature lets you recreate one of six emojis as an image reaction to someone’s post. To use this feature, click the smiley face icon in the bottom right corner of the post. Then tap the emoji you wish to recreate as an image and take your photo. Once you’re done, hit the ‘Continue’ button and your reaction will be sent to your friend or random users on the Discovery feed.

Adding new friends

To add new friends, click the ‘Friends’ icon in the top left-hand corner and type their username into the search bar. On this screen, you also have the ability to view your friend requests, friend suggestions, and ‘My Friends’ list.

Pro-tip: You can also add new friends directly via the Discovery page by tapping on a user’s profile photo attached to their post and clicking ‘Add’. 

View your memories 

One of the great things about BeReal is that the app saves every single post you share in a calendar view, making it easy to reminisce on old memories.  

Pro-tip: To access your memories, click the profile button in the top right-hand corner. This will show you ‘Your Memories’. Tapping into a particular post will give you a full-screen view of the image, the date you published it, and the ability to share it externally.

Adding new friends

View your memories

What is BeReal used for and who is using it?

The app is used for authentic expression and connection, filling a gap where traditional platforms may have fallen behind.

BeReal has recently confirmed that they now have 10 million daily active users, rising from just 10,000 a little over a year ago. And it comes as no surprise to us that the majority of these users are Gen Zers. Similar to the early days of TikTok, the app’s authentic and spontaneous nature is gaining attention from a younger demographic audience.

As of February 2022, 80% of BeReal’s iOS users in France (where the company is headquartered) are aged between 16-24. French users also make up 30% of the app’s total downloads.

Outside of France, a large portion of users responsible for the app’s Q1 2022 growth are from the US, Spain, UK, Denmark, and Mexico. And although the app launched in December of 2019, it has recently gained the majority of its lifetime downloads (65% to be exact) this year, thanks to word-of-mouth marketing across college campuses. 

To build their name, reputation, and growth among Gen Zers in the US, BeReal is running an Ambassador Program made up of a team of college students. According to the app, “BeReal college ambassadors host parties, manage a marketing budget, identify key moments on campus for us to get involved, represent BeReal’s mission and execute creative activations.”

Gen Z’s new favourite app What is BeReal and how does it work?

Should creators and brands jump on the BeReal bandwagon?

The short answer is yes! Consider your approach to BeReal, just as you would when adding any new social platform to a multi-channel marketing strategy. Start with understanding the community, how they engage with each other, and what flavour of content will be best received by your audience. Keep in mind why users are turning to this corner of the internet, and how your contribution can add something authentic to that mix.

For example, creators could use BeReal as an app that helps them connect with social audiences on a deeper, more authentic level. The relationships you build with your BeReal friends could then transfer over to your other social accounts where they get to see a more nuanced version of what you share, including brand collaborations or sponsored posts. 

As for brand and business owners, BeReal could help you build your brand’s personality and online presence. Posting behind-the-scenes snapshots from meetings, shoots, or everyday office life can help customers view your brand in a different light, and build community and customer loyalty – especially within Gen Z communities. Take UK fashion brand, Motel Rocks as an example. The brand uses BeReal to capture and share BTS snaps from their brand trips, campaign shoots, and team events.

A new social platform that’s building momentum will always feel fresh and exciting. While there is potential for creators and business owners to get carried away riding the wave of ‘the next big thing’, we always advocate taking an intentional and manageable approach to your social presence. BeReal is still unknown to many, but it has shown us that there are audiences who are responding positively to an unfiltered content approach. If this sounds like something you want to create an experience around, then the simplest starting point is to cross promote your account on your other social channels to help grow your friends list.

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