Social Media Photo Sharing App BeReal Soars in Popularity

BeReal app popularity soars

Apparently, Instagram’s recent user-hostile antics has given another platform a major boost, if user acquisition stats from up-and-comer BeReal are anything to go by.

As of very recently, the photo sharing app has soared in popularity to over 10 million active daily users, and while this is still tiny compared to what Instagram and video-sharing platform TikTok handle, it’s a truly dramatic climb from the 10,000 or so users that the site had less than 2 years ago.

An update to its use figures that the company published on its online jobs board in August clearly demonstrates its ambitions despite a very lean staffing profile. Despite having less than 30 employees, BeReal hopes to scale up to more than 100 million users as soon as possible.

What this will mean for customer and user support is yet to be seen but the meteoric increase in downloads might come with some growing pains.

According to reporting from technology investigation site The Information, BeReal’s user base shot from 2 million in January of this year to 7.9 million daily active users by the end of July 2022. In March of 2021, it sat at no more than 10,000. For a bit of perspective, the growth between March 2021 and July 2022 alone represents a 78,900% increase. If you were an investor, you could only wish for this kind of growth.

The popularity of BeReal isn’t just limited to a single market sector either. While a small majority of the app’s users hail from the U.S., their age group is pretty broad, with 55% of them being between 25 and 44 years old. This means that the app has seen major inroads with millennials.

A large portion of BeReal users outside this 55% belong more to a generation Z profile, aged 17 to 24. This happens to be a market segment that TikTok in particular works hard to win over. In other words, BeReal is making very rapid inroads into both Instagram’s and Tiktok’s most important demographics.

Moving past the “what” of BeReal’s success leaves us with the question of why. This is a bit trickier to answer. While the main reason for the app’s huge increase in growth is somewhat unclear, a part of it might stem from growing dissatisfaction with Instagram.

In recent months, the photo-sharing giant of apps has taken heavy flak from millions of users for its sometimes imposed changes to how the interface works. For one thing, what made Instagram popular in the first place was its photo-sharing focus. The loyal fan base that this created has become increasingly unhappy with Instagram’s more recent attempts to blatantly copy TikTok by shifting more toward a video “Reel” emphasis, often whether a user wants it or not.

One particularly powerful influencer, Kylie Jenner, neatly summed things up by sharing a viral poster that simply said ““Make Instagram Instagram again. Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Sincerely, everyone.”.

This has become a growing sentiment among photographers and general users who specifically preferred Instagram because of its former photographic simplicity.

Amusingly, after first getting flak from users for copying TikTok, Instagram is now also apparently (very obviously) copying BeReal too.

Last month, the platform added a new dual camera photo capture ability that’s suspiciously similar to BeReal’s main photo sharing feature of letting you fuse shots from your phone’s front and back cameras at the same time. Instagram then followed up on this with a new “Candid Challenges” function that randomly prompts users to take a selfie within a certain time frame – a feature that’s also blatantly similar to another key BeReal characteristic.

It hardly seems a coincidence to see both of these features emerge from Instagram just as BeReal’s download numbers soar.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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