BeReal: the French alternative to Instagram

Founded by the Frenchman Alexis Barreyat, BeReal is a social network created almost three years ago that already has nearly 10 million members.

A social network that is a hit

For more than a month, BeReal has held the first place in the ranking of the most downloaded applications on the Appstore. Founded two and a half years ago by Alexis Barreyat, a 26-year-old Frenchman from the Drôme region, the new social network has experienced a meteoric rise in recent times, accumulating 10 million daily active users compared to only 10,000 a little over a year ago.

How does it work?

BeReal sends out a notification to all of its users at a random time each day that asks people to share a photo of what they’re doing right then and there, with a 2-minute posting deadline. Users can then view the pictures sent by their friends at the same time.

BeReal values authentic participation. The application is presented as an anti-Instagram: no filters or photoshop, it is the real daily life of its users that is advocated.

As described by BeReal:

No filters. No subscribers. Just friends, sharing with each other. On BeReal, you discover the real life of your friends and get closer to them.”

This approach clearly resonates, so much so that other apps are now looking to replicate its core tools, with Instagram currently working on a new feature, “Candide” that is very reminiscent of the BeReal user interface.

It’s interesting to note the growth of the app and the popularity of its “real life” approach, which shows that people may be tired of unrealistic representations of personality and image chosen by people online.

When we look at people’s social media accounts, we essentially see only a tiny part of their lives, excluding all the negative aspects. We only see what these people want to show us. This can lead to self-confidence issues, which in turn impacts on his or her mental health.

BeReal’s growing popularity is a testament to one thing: Internet users are thirsty for a less slick representation of real life, in total opposition to what TikTok, Instagram and even Snapchat advocate.

Product placements on BeReal?

Today, few brands use BeReal as a platform to promote their products. The American fast food chain Chipotle tried it anyway, using the application to share exclusive promotional codes.

Other brands use the social network to provide behind-the-scenes content and information about how they run their business to users: a good way to create a connection with consumers.

Besides, with 10 million users, it seems obvious that more and more brands will be surfing the trend and trying to find more creative ways to promote their products on BeReal.

Note that BeReal does not allow formal advertising, but this may be in the future as the app continues to grow and seeks to build a more sustainable business model. It remains to be seen whether the social network will really be able to become a really important competitor to the other major social networks.


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