Heard of BeReal? What it means for marketing in 2023

Picture of the BeReal app

Heard of BeReal? What it means for marketing in 2023

Picture of the BeReal app

If you haven’t heard of the mobile app BeReal, here’s a quick education, because if you’re interested in what’s trending in marketing, you should know.

How does it work? Once you sign up, you get a daily notice to take a photo to show “your real life.” Everyone gets the notice at the same time, and there are no filters and no editing as the pictures are taken. And users take a simultaneous photo with the front-facing camera and the one facing you, creating a “collage” to show your friends and family what’s going on in your life, for real.

Is this problematic? Of course. As one article states:

“There are also no parental controls and minimal privacy controls. And the nature of the app – the use of the front and back camera – means that people may be unaware they’re posting photos of something or someone that should not, or don’t want to, be online.”

I’m explaining this in detail so you understand the numbers I’m about to share. As of October 2022, it’s been installed over 53 million times, worldwide. This is up from 20 million installs in July. That’s why people like me have been paying attention.

It started with Instagram perfection

When Instagram started, it was full of beautiful images: beautiful people, beautiful scenery, beautiful products, beautiful lives.

Behind these images, a lot of preparation and work went into creating this perfection, whether it was an image, a story, or a video.

The problem was, everyone seeing these perfect images started to feel as though their lives were inadequate. To the observer, it seemed like everyone else taking the perfect vacation, living the perfect life.

This has led to everything from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on this channel to FOMO in life.

Instagram perfect isn’t true – and along came TikTok

Of course, the carefully curated world of Instagram lasted for a while. People and brands pushed to one-up each other. Drone views of amazing landscapes and vistas received hundreds of thousands of likes and views. And music helped to create the mood or finish off the scene.

And then came TikTok. Though it started many years later, Tiktok started off as a musical platform and has taken off here are the numbers (as of Nov 2022) :


What’s refreshing on TikTok is the lack of perfection. Everyone doesn’t look perfect. In fact, it’s hard to look perfect when you’re dancing and that’s how a lot of the growth started; people were following dancing and other musical videos.

Tiktok’s realism is in stark opposition to Instagram’s perfection.

And now BeReal = Authenticity

While Instagram is becoming less and less perfect, especially with the emphasis on Reels, BeReal is in direct opposition to perfection. It’s about being candid, in the moment, without filters, do-overs, or remixes. What’s interesting to note, as a social media trend, is this move towards “authenticity.”

More and more, people seek “real” experiences and don’t want to be “sold” to by brands or other influencers. They want to read about others having authentic experiences and perspectives, and to have authentic experiences themselves.

The new buzz word is authenticity: the real, raw, unedited version of experience and of life. If you’re looking to see what’s trending, it’s reality. As reality television proves to be more and more contrived, BeReal shares the opposite: what’s actually going on, both in front of the camera and behind it.

What will this mean for marketing in 2023? It means we’ll be seeing more of the raw and real. Or, perhaps, what people want to be perceived as the raw and real. Keep that in mind, as you consider new campaigns for the new year.

Not sure where to focus on your marketing efforts? Contact me and let’s talk!

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