The uncertain future of BeReal, the anti-posture app that has crept into the daily lives of generation Z

The uncertain future of BeReal, the anti-posture app that has crept into the daily lives of generation Z

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It is December 31, a couple of minutes to midnight and the whole country is watching television with its 12 grapes ready to be gobbled up, in the best of cases, to the rhythm of the chimes of the Puerta del Sol clock. Something happens, however, that would have been very difficult to explain a year ago.

Hundreds of thousands of mobiles receive a notification at the same time: “It’s BeReal Time”. The tension is palpable, there are two minutes to take a photo that will capture the images from the mobile’s front and rear cameras and upload it to the app that has been all the rage since last summer. An app presented as an alternative against posturing, without filters and that aspires to reflect life as it is. At work, walking the dog… or about to eat the last 12 grapes of the year.

“It makes you curious to see what people upload, if they have uploaded it on time or not, see what they are doing at that moment, the reactions, it’s entertaining… it really only gives for that, it doesn’t give for more”, declares Andrea Morato, an 18 year old student who has been using the app since March of last year.

Andrea Morato, along with several friends in an image uploaded to her BeReal account.
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“It’s true that there are people who save it for when they do cool things, but I don’t care a bit about it”

The operation is, indeed, quite simple. The app sends a notification once a day at different times. Users have two minutes to take a photo wherever they are, and then, as long as they’ve uploaded their photo, they can send selfies reacting to their contacts’ photos.

The approach has an exception that reduces rigidity, but also spontaneity. Users can still upload the photo after the two minute deadline and it will simply be considered a “Late BeReal” or “late BeReal”. “It is true that there are people who save it for when they do cool things, but I don’t care a bit. But hey, yes, it is true that there is a certain posturing, I think, right? I think so,” admits Morato .

A brilliant growth

BeReal has carved a niche for itself in just a few months in a sector, that of social networks, which seemed saturated after the consolidation of Instagram and TikTok in recent years that joined the pioneer Facebook to create an highly competitive ecosystem and with, apparently, little space for newcomers.

“They have taken advantage of something that is very widespread, which is this comment that ‘what appears on the networks is a lie’ to use it as a slogan and as their own brand name: ‘We are going to be real’,” says Silvia Martínez, director of the master’s degree. of Social Media of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. “They have been smart to capture attention, but we will have to see how the platform evolves and if it manages to maintain these levels of growth.”

Its official launch was in 2019, by the hand of two young Frenchmen -Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau- but eThe hatching year for the app has been 2022especially during the past summer.

“I started using it a bit with three friends this summer, but I ended up uninstalling it because I only saw what the three of us put on and said, what am I doing here?” says Pablo Hernández, 19. “As right now the whole world is at its peak, I took it up again and now it’s cooler because I see people from class and most of my friends, it’s like he has joined the society of young people and he is going to stay like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter… it’s already day to day”.

Pablo Hernández, studying in the library with a friend in an image that he uploaded to his BeReal account.
Pablo Hernández, studying in the library with a friend in an image that he uploaded to his BeReal account.
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Will BeReal be able to stay on top of the wave? That is the great doubt that hovers over the sector. 2022 has undoubtedly been a good year, but it’s hard to predict if he’ll manage to keep it on time. Regarding the other great challenge, that users remain active, a survey carried out with 900 users of this application by the photoAiD website showed that the 88% of users open the app every dayof which 77% take a BeReal daily.

monetize success

The face of BeReal in Spain has been David Aliagas, who joined the project very early on and is one of the main people responsible for its rapid implementation in our country, curiously, due to the dissemination he has made of the social network through one of one of the leaders of the competition: TikTok.

The young Catalan has been sparing in public statements beyond his own TikTok videos, but was interviewed on the Nude Project podcast in November where he admitted that The company does not make a profit, but it does not intend to do so either. in this period.

“We don’t monetize, when you think about monetizing, if the time comes, we’ll think about that (the time users spend in the app), but since at the moment we’re not thinking about monetizing but about attracting people, we don’t care,” he declared. Aliaga, who was skeptical about the possibility that the app is going out of style: “These comments that you don’t use it after three months have been going on for a couple of years and we have more and more users.”

Obtaining economic benefits has been the great challenge, generally unresolved, for social media companies. The potential is obvious, hosting millions of users of different profiles, but what to do with it is not so clear. In the case of BeReal, there is not even advertising or premium versions so all it can offer potential investors is a promise of future profitability.

“If it manages to maintain itself at current growth levels, other interests will naturally start to take it into account, such as brands. Some option has been made to marketing punctual but that presence that we have on other platforms is not in BeReal”, points out Martinez, from the UOC, who also points out the risk that “other already consolidated platforms try to integrate their functionalities”.

For now, the clearest attempt to replicate the characteristics of BeReal has come from the Chinese company. TikTok, which added the function a couple of months ago TikTok Now to your app, for the moment, with little success.

Daniela Pérez, an 18-year-old student, has been using the application since October of last year. She was a regular user of TikTok, but ended up frustrated and BeReal was a breath of fresh air for her. “When those from TikTok copied it, I continued in BeReal,” says Pérez. “I don’t like TikTok, it seems to me that you spend a lot of hours there and I have invested a lot of time there, it catches you, and you feel terrible, but this one does not have so much mystery, you see the photos and it is not renewed again all day.”

Daniela Pérez, with a relative in an image uploaded to her BeReal account.
Daniela Pérez, with a relative in an image uploaded to her BeReal account.
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“I don’t like TikTok, it seems to me that you spend a lot of hours there and I have invested a lot of time there, it catches you”

Posturing free?

Over a few beers with a friend a little less than a year ago, José Benito, a 23-year-old advertising creative, heard about BeReal for the first time. “We saw it as an anecdote, we thought it was going to stay that way, an app that in the end you would never end up using,” says Benito. But his prediction was soon proved totally wrong. More and more of his friends were incorporated and its use has become daily for the group.

After 10 months of practically daily use, the app sent him, at the beginning of this year, the statistics of his activity in BeReal and he himself was surprised that its content had not been as spontaneous as might be expected.

“Only 7% of my BeReals have been the moment of notification, because it catches you at work or in a meeting or simply at a time when you don’t feel like taking a photo because you’re in a bad mood and you postpone it”, acknowledges Benedict. “I do know that there are people who know that they are going to do something cool that day and wait until they get to the beach or at sunset. It has also happened to me once going to the Atleti field, it has left me half an hour before and I said, well, I’m waiting because between doing it in the crowded subway and doing it in the field… well look”.

José Benito, at the Civitas Metropolitano stadium, in an image uploaded to his BeReal account.
José Benito, at the Civitas Metropolitano stadium, in an image uploaded to his BeReal account.
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“Sometimes it has also happened to me going to the Atleti field, it has left me half an hour before and I have said, well, I’ll wait”

The aforementioned photoAiD survey showed that 82% of users admitted that they have waited at least once for an interesting moment to post a photo. Another survey also pointed out another of the characteristics of this social network: the time of daily use -between 20 and 40 minutes, less than that of Instagram and especially TikTokwhere users spend 52 minutes a day on average.

“I, BeReal, look at it once a day. It’s not like I’m a hyper-busy person who says I can’t waste time, but it doesn’t hook you like Instagram or TikTok, which have an addictive point,” says Benito. “You see who’s reacting to each other, who’s talking back to whom, and you’re like, ‘Wow, my friend is dating a girl?'”

An app for generation Z

The success of BeReal’s expansion has no buts in numerical terms, but its most obvious shortcoming has been when it comes to achieving such a transversal audience in terms of age as its competitors, especially Facebook.

Today, BeReal is, above all, an app for generation Z -those born after 2000- and older users sometimes find they have few friends or acquaintances to connect with.

Rocío Márquez, a 30-year-old doctor, found out about BeReal through Instagram. The new app has an option that allows content to be shared on other social networks and it is common to see Instagram users showing the double image feature captured through BeReal in their stories.

Rocío Márquez, in the kitchen of her house, in an image uploaded to the BeReal social network.
Rocío Márquez, in the kitchen of her house, in an image uploaded to the BeReal social network.
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“I’ve noticed that people younger than me use it, it’s like from a later generation”

“I saw it very frequently but I wasn’t interested because I didn’t want to make another app. Until a close friend did it and I downloaded it about three months ago,” says Márquez. “I have realized that people younger than me use it, it is like from a later generation. I have realized that I have, for example, a cousin and that cousin and that he has all his friends but people my age do not almost no one uses it. I have few contacts, and the ones I do have are almost all younger.”

Will BeReal be able to maintain its growth? Can it expand to other audiences that are not so young? Will it be possible to make all this profitable without losing its essence? All those doubts will only be answered by time. For now, all that remains is to keep an eye out for the next “BeReal time” notification.

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