08 Nov BeReal was Interesting, But Here’s Why It’s Not Going to Survive
In a time when we’re constantly bombarded with airbrushed images and highly staged content, BeReal’s more realistic approach is actually a breath of fresh air. While BeReal’s content resulting from their “share now” notifications may not be as exciting as what you’ll find on platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, that’s precisely what makes it so refreshing. BeReal’s users are simply sharing their lives as they live them, providing an honest and relatable look at the world around us.
As someone who has seen immense changes in the social media landscape for 15 years, here’s why I think BeReal is nevertheless not going to last.
But what is BeReal anyway, here’s a quick rundown.
BeReal in 2 Minutes
BeReal (pronounced Biril) is a French app that changes social media by dictating when users must post, regardless of what they’re doing. Everyone on the app will be notified to post a photo every day at any random time. In two minutes, you have to take a quick snapshot of your ‘real’ life, ‘real’ activity, ‘real’ surroundings, ‘real’ food, ‘real’ you – anything goes, as long as it’s real. The point of BeReal is to show everyone that we’re all the same and that life is beautiful in its simplicity and ordinariness.
While BeReal’s concept is unique, the pressure is very… Real. That’s why I think BeReal is destined to be a fleeting trend.
1. The trouble with keeping it real
People are too fixated on well-curated Instagram grids, or stylized videos, and BeReal doesn’t really have a place in that. BeReal definitely pushes back against that, and it is a break from the highly produced and heavily edited content that we’re used to seeing. But in order to survive, BeReal will need to find a way to make its content more interesting.
But how so when people are now having a hard time to be real. BeReal is built on the idea that people will share their everyday lives on the platform, but the reality is that people are already tiring of BeReal. While 53M users have installed the app, only 9% of them are actually opening and using the app on a given day.
The fact is that we love filtered, well-thought out, and well-curated photos and videos. It takes effort to make something look good, and that’s what we’re used to seeing on social media. With BeReal, it’s just not that.
2. Mundane and Boring Content
The purpose of BeReal is to be authentic. As a result a lot of the content comes across as simply boring and mundane. The content on BeReal is a true reflection of real life, and sometimes real life is just not that interesting.
While BeReal may provide us with an unfiltered look at the world around us, sometimes we just don’t want to see that. It reminds me a bit of when I first got a Fitbit. Tracking my steps every day was super interesting for about a month. After that, the patterns simply repeat and, therefore become less interesting.
How many photos of people looking at their computer screens doing their jobs can one really enjoy?
3. Plagued by technical glitches
Although BeReal is the No. 1 social networking app as ranked on Apple Store, and 9th in “free social apps” on Google Play, I still think it’s not going to survive because it doesn’t work ‘real’ well yet.
The app user experience is not just often buggy, but it’s actually slowing down phones. It’s more likely to soon face a myriad of challenges related to rapidly scaling in size.
It could be because of the influx of new users trying the app, the device incompatibility, or simply because the app is still not ready to be used ‘socially’, but uploading often takes too long and even fails.
Piece of advice BeReal, to attract more users—and keep them—during this time of uncertainty, BeReal most of all needs to work well.
4. Not applicable for long-term brand strategy
While BeReal is a great way to show the world that we’re all the same, it’s not something that can be used for long-term content marketing strategy.
BeReal’s mission is to be the antidote to traditional social media. Which means, there’s no place here for influencers, filters, likes, and – most importantly – no ads. At least not as the platform is right now. While there have been a few clever experiments with brands on BeReal, most brands should stand on the sidelines and watch this play out.
BeReal is a clever platform with a unique concept, and that’s increasingly rare in the social space. They should be applauded for that. Unless a brand has a neat behind the scenes view that people will be genuinely intrigued by, BeReal should not be part of your content marketing strategy just yet.
If a brand like Tesla wanted to show us various scenes of the factory, the development team, computer simulations on the like, that might be interesting. But they are a $76 billion company working in a new space. Most of our brands are not doing things as visually dynamic.
The Bottom Line
BeReal is still new, and it still has a lot of work to be done. The app needs to find a way to make content more interesting and less mundane, fix the technical glitches, and make the app more user-friendly. From there, perhaps they could add short video captures, BeReal collaborations and other fun features without giving up on their unique value proposition.
BeReal was right about the larger trend: People are less enamored with the picture-perfect influencer lifestyle of the last few years. Audiences, particularly Gen Z, want content that more closely reflects reality. That’s a good thing. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need more than 2 minutes to create it.
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