BeReal’s brand is that of a non-addictive, raw, and lighthearted social media app. Users get a notification once a day to post a picture of what they’re doing at that moment. However, will this authenticity be capitalized on in the future?
At the end of the day, the app is still competing with the likes of Instagram and Facebook, both of which began the same way. What were once private spaces for people became public platforms connecting a following of millions. BeReal could be no different for a variety of reasons.
A problem of now
While users love BeReal for its authenticity, it raises the question of how authentic it is really. The post-late option allows people to save their posts for the best part of their day. Even though it leaves a message of lateness along with the post, this hardly fazes users. Also, the app still allows retakes which lets people choose the most flattering angles and enable them to edit out what they don’t like. While removing these features would increase pressure or judgment, their inclusion comes at the price of being honest. For the sake of keeping it a stress-free zone, these features need to remain.
The Explorer page
Aarya Shetty, a new user, comments, “Considering that there is an explore page, BeReal as an app itself expects and is prepared for the commercialization of it”. While most people featured on the explorer are unknown to users, this could soon be replaced by subtle marketing campaigns. People have already started writing articles on BeReal marketing strategies. Chipotle joined in and gave out a free entrée to the first 100 people who used the coupon code posted on their BeReal. If these are released only to a private circle, it could also lead to an elitist culture that goes against the community feel of the app.
How can BeReal avoid this
BeReal can avoid commercialization if it chooses to; this is if it remains at its current position where monetary transactions are not involved. Keeping the app free from subscriptions, in-app purchases, and hidden marketing is critical. Also, revising the retake feature and incentivizing people to post on time can make the app feel more natural. The newest update is moving towards this. Users can clearly see how many retakes were taken for a BeReal. A larger number means a more manufactured post which encourages users to try less. This feature was hidden earlier, making it easy to get away with retakes.
BeReal could go two ways. If it becomes susceptible to commercialization, it will not be able to compete with other apps. Shetty remarks, “Due to the lack of video and audio features, I don’t think it’ll be able to catch up with the variety of content that Instagram and Facebook provide”. Otherwise, it could continue on its current path with changes intended to improve user experience. BeReal could have the rare distinction of being a timeless app if it retains the same features and only increases its popularity.