PR & Digital Marketing Executive, Max Dobson, shares his thoughts on the fast-emerging platform BeReal and what it could mean for the future of social networking.
Scrolling through your usual plethora of social feeds can be overwhelming; pressuring you to present an idealised version of yourself. Luckily, a new contender in the sharing game seems to hold an antidote.
Launched in 2020 by Kévin Perreau and Alexis Barreyat, BeReal is a unique platform where users are invited to post an impromptu picture with both front and back facing cameras within a 2 minute time slot. There are no likes, no celebrities, no ads and, most importantly, no filters.
A refreshing and authentic take on sharing a snapshot of your day, users are only allowed to view their friend’s posts when they have shared a picture themselves, minimising endless scrolling and ensuring you only interact with the app when you feel involved. In their terms and conditions, users are strictly banned from using the application for “advertising or commercial purposes to publish or facilitate the transmission of advertising, commercial solicitations, spam, “chain letters”, “pyramid schemes” or to collect information, data or Content about other Users without their permission”. Essentially, it gives you the chance to see realistic daily updates of your friend’s lives, beautiful imperfections and all.
The app has already raised over $30 million of initial funding after seeing a 315% increase of downloads in 2022 so far, becoming one of the App Store’s most popular Social Media apps.
BeReal also calls out users for posting late, even showing how many times they attempted to take the picture before publishing the selfie. Though somewhat pressurising this feature pushes for total authenticity in the way that people share moments from their day; whether you’re enjoying an ice cream in front of a glorious sunset or your television after a long day. The app even opts for “RealMojis”, selfies of you reacting to the post, rather than the usual text-based responses (which are still available for those posts that just deserve a conversation).
For myself, BeReal has become an essential tool for staying in touch with friends who I don’t get to see very often, getting daily snaps of them at work or relaxing around the house creates a relatable, shared experience that allows us to feel closer. With no space for influencers or ads on the feed, the app’s interface also seems comfortable and intimate; a space for friends to stay in touch without pretence or expectation.
So what does this mean for us as a PR agency? And what does it mean for brands?
Even though BeReal remains a strictly no-ads-allowed platform, it suggests that users are actively searching for transparency, that they find authenticity more attractive than mountains of adverts surrounding and confusing them. Whether big or small, businesses can take refuge in the fact that their audiences appreciate honesty and humanity in the way they interact online, just as they would expect them to behave offline!
Many platforms have quenched this desire for users to experience intimate interaction online with huge results before. The free multi room video call hosting app House Party, for example, scored over 50 million downloads during the first wave of COVID, allowing young people to connect in a distraction free interface. The app has, however, dipped in popularity and has become a thing of the past, a flash in the digital pan which faded when it became overcrowded.
The appetite for BeReal, however, seems to be a trend that will be sticking around as downloads continue to climb and its sharing restrictions remain parentally firm.
With BeReal creating an informal safe space for users to be their true selves for the eyes of their select friends only, advertising space on conventional social media platforms can reflect their behaviour and take on a stripped down, human approach. At LLPR we know how to recognise the true personality of our clients and present them in a trustworthy, relatable way to their audience.
If BeReal is anything to go by, the web is becoming a more self-aware network with users seeking commerce that speaks to them as unique people; something which can be achieved through engaging, personal and hand-crafted digital marketing.
We might not be asking our clients to share #NoFilter selfies (yet), but we are excited to let them tell their stories in a welcoming, passionate way.