From reminders about often unnecessary appointments to pings about someone looking at any one of our social media channels, there is a lot of noise being created in the digital sphere. So much so, that according to Business of Apps the average cell phone user receives 46 push notifications a day. This is part of the reason why a recent study about mobile device usage found that the average person checks their phone once every 4 minutes.
Instead of adding to the cluttered social scene, there is one platform stepping up to break people out of the endless barrage of notifications. “BeReal.” is a social media platform designed to capture the same moment from hundreds of thousands of people around the globe while simultaneously encouraging users to ditch the social media facade.
BeReal. only serves users a single notification per day and with that being said, the notification is more of a challenge than aimless beacon sent into the ether designed to melt your brain. Once the notification is sent out to their daily users (up 315% YTD), each person has exactly two minutes to capture their world. The time crunch motivates users to get snapping without overthinking or overcomplicating the process. There are no stickers, buttons, hashtags, or any of the other elements we’ve been groomed to peruse. The attention is on the moment, the activity (or lack thereof!), and the relationships captured between frames.
When it comes to how the social media audience is reacting to the new player in the heavily populated sector, the numbers continue to speak for themselves. With nearly 5 million downloads since December it’s clear that BeReal is scratching an itch for the over-indoctrinated.
In the U.S. market Google Trends has nearly every search query associated with the app in its “breakout” category, with the District of Columbia, Virginia, Rhode Island, Massuchussettes, and Utah leading the charge amongst early adopters. The app, which was founded in 2020 and based out of the microstate of Andorra, has raised $30 million in VC funding and is not yet monetized in any way. Given their emphasis on authenticity and human connection it will be interesting to see how they approach that process, though it is almost assuredly going to be unique relative to how other social media platforms have chosen to monetize and lure brands to their users.
Jordan: Marketers are all too familiar with the challenges of being on all the platforms all the time, and I think that fatigue has definitely extended to the end user. Rather than try to get users to spend more time on their platform, BeReal turns that notion on its head and prompts users to spend less time collecting content and less time scrolling through content posted by only your closest connections. It also forces you to post content in order to view what your friends are up to eliminating the ability to just aimlessly scroll for as long as you want. I think this is a wake up call for social media as an industry, and for companies and marketers that use these platforms that it’s time to rethink how we measure the value of content and the value of what brands provide to their followers. We are in the very early stages of this journey but I think companies who ask those questions now, and are not afraid of the answers, will be the ones who set themselves up for success moving forward.
Courtney: I’m not going to lie, when Jordan first told me about this application I was VERY skeptical. That’s because I couldn’t get over the name “BeReal.” I thought that the application was going to be boring or function more as a “self-help” venture to break social media addictions. It only took me a few minutes to be proved wrong, the platform is actually a great window into the lives of people across the globe without the pressures of having to do anything. If I want to post a picture, I can post a picture. If I don’t that’s just as well too.