BeReal still has potential for advertisers, but its hype period is well and truly over

BeReal isn’t just losing steam with users, it’s now losing steam with marketers and creators too.

That’s not to say BeReal has entered its flop era. It’s still far too early to write the app off completely. It is, however, already clear that marketers are well past the apex of the hype cycle.

As Digiday reported last October, if the app didn’t move quickly to provide marketers with unique features that could pique their interests, BeReal would become a victim of its fleeting success and see attention spent elsewhere.

And it looks like that time is here.

In October, worldwide downloads reached an average of 15.2 million and has since decreased to around 4.2 million in February, according to data from Apptopia, a real-time mobile app insights company. Added to that, daily active users have also decreased by around 52% from an average of 14.7 million in October last year to around 7.7 million in February.

Marketers are taking notice. The only brands that appear to remain on the platform right now, are those that pride themselves on having a strong tone of voice across social media, not just an advertising presence. Other marketers have put BeReal on the back burner.

Tamara Littleton, CEO of The Social Element said her agency still isn’t backing BeReal for brands and is instead continuing to focus on more established social media apps.

“Platforms that are more mature, have all the metrics and APIs sorted to work with other tools to help large corporations engage at scale are just easier and have more success,” she added. “Don’t get me wrong, we love to experiment and help our brands get extra share of voice but we’re not rushing down this particular road with BeReal.”

Even Dean Cooman, head of talent at Boomerang FT noted that last year he advised clients to include it as an addition to social campaigns, but since then talk of the app has become very quiet. As such, he’s no longer pushing the app.

“BeReal is not on the radar for the majority of brands and honestly, that’s OK,” added Littleton. “It’s OK to leave some of the platforms to the community to use instead of trying to jump on every bandwagon.”

Still, there’s no certainty that marketers would see BeReal any differently even if it did have ads. There’s not a lot to keep people engaged once they’re there.

Nothing new to offer

Since the app caught the attention of Gen Z last year, users have still been sent the same daily notification at random times, in which they’re required to ‘BeReal’ and post their photos to their network on the app. And so far, that’s still all it does.

“BeReal’s early appeal hasn’t proven to be sustainable because the platform has failed to sufficiently diversify its model,” commented Ed East, founder and group CEO of Billion Dollar Boy. “A greater variety of formats and features would help to keep the platform feeling fresh, and increase engagement and user retention. But as it stands, the platform is already starting to feel a bit stale — there’s only so many times you can share a photo of your desk and computer screen!”

It’s a far cry from a year ago. Back then marketers were scrambling to get on the app. Despite the attention, none of it was necessarily stoked by the app. As East noted, it’s no real surprise that the app is fizzling out. It hasn’t got the proper resources going into evolving it beyond its original proposition.

Even if BeReal had made those changes already, the chances are they wouldn’t have extended to winning over marketers. BeReal just isn’t fussed about them right now.

Marketers aren’t a top priority

While the team still doesn’t respond to individual requests for comments, they have posted a statement on the website regarding the platform’s current priority. And apparently that’s still building the best product for its users.

“BeReal is free to use, and we don’t have ads. You may be wondering if we’ll have ads or how we think about monetizing the app,” stated the BeReal team. “First, we want to stick around for as long as you’ll have us, but working with brands is not our priority. There are a lot of cool things we want to build, and we’re very lucky to be able to prioritize our time this way.”

That’s as clear a stance on advertising as it can get.

For now, BeReal’s overlords are adamant they can erect a sustainable business sans ad dollars. Keep in mind that it’s still early days for a company that was founded in 2020. Clearly, the management team is busy laying down a lot of the internal infrastructure needed to fulfill their ambitions. After all, BeReal did already raise a $60 million series B round in early 2022, per Digiday reporting last November, so there is cash to use, or simply burn through.

According to LinkedIn, the company now has 108 employees, and its most recent notable hire is Twitter’s former chief privacy officer, Damien Kieran, who cited the product, the people, and the potential of the platform, as what lured him in. He joined as general counsel earlier this month, having resigned from Twitter in November, according to his LinkedIn profile, after Elon Musk bought the social network.

And there are still 10 vacancies across product and engineering roles, according to the BeReal website.

The problem is, other social media apps have already copied BeReal’s USP, no doubt making it even more tricky for the platform to beat the competition.

“If BeReal is to revive its popularity, it will need to increase its appeal to creators and brands,” said East. “Without that, the lack of regular external investment and the dearth of variation in content will gradually squeeze BeReal out of the social media landscape.”

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