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Social Media and UGC

BeReal App: What Social Media Marketers Should Know 

BeReal is the latest social media platform to enter the ring, gaining massive traction throughout 2022 for its focus on authenticity and being in the moment.

The growth of fake follower services, photo-altering apps, and in-app brand advertisements have saturated many of today’s popular social media platforms like Instagram. But with the rise of user-generated content (UGC) and TikTok, the tides have begun to turn as more consumers value real, imperfect social content that they can relate to.

BeReal encourages its users to share their lives in an honest way, without filters or fake personas. The name says it all – BeReal is about being your true self. This app advocates for more transparency and vulnerability online, two things that are often lacking in our current social media landscape.

With an app that goes against the grain like BeReal, could it go against the grain of society too? Will users be brave enough to put themselves out there in an authentic way? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure – BeReal is shaking up the social media world, and that’s something brands and users alike can get behind.

How Does BeReal Work? The Basics.

So how exactly does the BeReal app work? Let’s break it down:

BeReal is a photo-sharing app like Instagram or Snapchat. But there’s a twist - at one random moment every day, each BeReal user will receive a notification that it’s time to “BeReal.” 

When this notification pops up, users have only two minutes to take a photo with both their back and front cameras and post it to the app. This time limit ensures the photo can’t be staged or edited in any way. It has to be completely unplanned and candid. 

3 iPhone screens showing BeReal app photo sharing, posting, and reaction emojis

If you miss the two-minute window, you can still share a photo, but it will be labeled as “late,” and all of your friends will see that you didn’t make the deadline. You also won’t be able to see any of the photos that your friends posted until you’ve posted your own. While this provides the opportunity to share a more staged photo, much of BeReal’s popularity revolves around capturing a moment in that first two-minute window. 

We know, we know… Two minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time to take a photo. But that’s the whole point! BeReal is all about being spontaneous and in the moment. No more spending hours trying to get the perfect picture. Just snap a photo and post it. It’s that simple. 

With these guidelines, most BeReal users only have enough time to snap a funny face, capture a cute animal, or take a picture of themselves doing absolutely nothing. But that’s all part of the fun! So when downloading the app, be prepared to get creative (and a little silly).

BeReal’s Features - Changing the Way We Interact Online

One of the best things about BeReal is that it’s changing the way we interact with each other online. Besides the random notification system, there are a few other features that contribute to BeReal’s uniqueness:

Zero Followers

Yep, you read that right! No more worrying about how many followers you have. On BeReal, users can only connect with others as friends, meaning there’s no follower or following counts. 

Why? Because the app is about sharing for the sake of sharing, not for show. 

This level playing field encourages users to be more vulnerable and less concerned with one’s status and impressing others. You can’t become “famous” on BeReal, a phenomenon that’s more typically associated with Instagram and TikTok influencers.

Dual Camera Capture Mode

Never have we seen a social media app that captures what’s happening both in front of and behind the camera. 

BeReal has a unique dual-camera capture mode that requires users to do just that. This encourages people to be more present and aware of their surroundings – something that we often forget to do when we’re glued to our phones.

Using their smartphone’s back camera first to capture what they’re looking at, users have just a couple of seconds to pose for their front camera, typically capturing a selfie.


One thing that popular social platforms like Snapchat have shown us is that memories are important to users. BeReal understands this and has created its own “memories” feature that allows users to save and share their old photos with friends. 

This is a great way to look back on happy memories through an authentic lens.

BeReal memories tab showing photos from the last two weeks


On BeReal, “RealMojis,” replace the digital “emojis” you’re used to commenting or reacting with on a social media post. A RealMoji is a photo of yourself making a silly face or gesture. They’re fun and unique and add personality to your posts. 

No two RealMojis are the same! They show the actual reaction of the user at the moment, not some pre-planned emoji that doesn’t quite capture how you’re feeling. 

This isn’t to say that emojis don’t work in general, as emojis are a great way of marketing, but RealMojis are a more accurate representation of how people actually communicate.

BeReal's realmoji options to react with emoji or photo

RealMojis have made their way onto TikTok in the last few months, with users sharing a surprising or funny BeReal moment they captured alongside the Realmoji reaction photos from friends who viewed the post. This trend brings into question the overlap of these two wildly popular social platforms, and how they are both impacting the way users interact online.


When designing BeReal, the developers didn’t want users to miss out on content from other users worldwide, so they created a “discovery” page. This is a feed of photos that have been posted by users from all over, not just your friends. 

Similarly to Instagram’s explore page, this provides users a way to explore the app and see what other people are sharing. This is one of the ways brands might be able to make their way into the BeReal platform, but more on that below.

These are BeReal’s most iconic features, but many more contribute to the overall experience, and BeReal is constantly adding new ones that shapeshift the way we interact online.

BeReal Statistics and the App’s Massive Growth

BeReal was developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau in France. With their seed investments driving the company’s early success and no advertising budget, the company focused on Generation Z and organic user growth. 

Since BeReal launched in 2020, the company has shown promising numbers. In just two years, BeReal has:

  • Been installed over 28 million times
  • 21 million active users monthly
  • Raised $30 million in funding. The company is currently valued at $600 million.

More than 50% of BeReal’s downloads happened in 2022 after the company used a college brand ambassador plan to increase exposure and stimulate growth. 

The app has been so successful that it has even caught the attention of celebrities. For example, major brands such as Trident Gum, Teletubbies, and Elfyeah, to name a few, have posted about BeReal on their other social media accounts. This publicity has led to an increase in downloads and user engagement and shows that influencer marketing can be successful for apps, especially those just starting out.

Tweets from Amtrak and Venmo mentioning BeReal

As brands begin to acknowledge BeReal on platforms like Twitter, for example, marketers are left wondering whether there’s a place for brands on the app itself.

Can BeReal Be Used for Marketing?

For now, BeReal stands true to its mission of encouraging authenticity and steering its users away from influencer culture, so using the app for advertising or commercial purposes is prohibited. But although brands can’t directly advertise to their “friends” (remember, there are no followers on the app), there are plenty of ways they can highlight their presence.

Take Chipotle, for example. The casual Mexican fast-food chain joined BeReal in April and has been using the app to share exclusive promo codes for free meals. 

Chipotle BeReal account screenshot showing a bag with a discount code written on it

The retail clothing brand PacSun uses the app to share funny behind-the-scenes snapshots from photo shoots. A web development recruitment agency could post snapshots of the everyday life of their employees, developer wage statistics, completed projects and stills from team calls.

Other ways brands with a “low-key” style can use BeReal in their marketing campaigns include:

  • Behind-the-scenes content, such as pictures from meetings, events, and everyday office life.
  • Community building
  • Encouraging user-generated content

The concept of authenticity currently drives BeReal’s booming download rates, something we’ve seen in the marketing world on TikTok and when it comes to UGC. Only time will tell how brands may get involved with the app, but its massive growth definitely supports the idea that people want to see other real people like them. This is why so many brands are dedicated to collecting, curating and publishing UGC on social media and website displays in general.

24 Hour Fitness is one of many brands that highlights its community through a carousel of customer UGC from Instagram and other social platforms.

How To Join the BeReal Social Platform

If BeReal hasn’t shown you that simplicity is at the heart of its mission, you’ll find that out when you join the app. With a few steps, you can create your own personal BeReal account or begin experimenting with a brand account.

  • Step 1: Download the app from your phone’s app store.
  • Step 2: Once you’ve found the app, click “download” and wait for it to install.
  • Step 3: Open the app and create an account using your phone number. You’ll immediately receive a code that you’ll need to enter to verify your account.
  • Step 4: Once you’ve entered your coupon code, your account is verified.
  • Step 5: If you like, you may import your contacts from your phone so that you can find friends who are already on BeReal. If you don’t have their contact information, simply search for them by their username.
  • Step 6: After you’ve added all your friends, it’s time to share your first BeReal! Following your first day, you’ll receive a notification at a random time. When you see the notification, it’ll prompt you to open the app and share a photo.

The General Consensus on the BeReal App

The app is still in its early stages and has a few flaws that need to be fixed, such as glitches and the overall user experience. That said, the company is quickly fixing these problems as they arise and is working hard to improve the app.

While the glitches and user experience are something the company has expressed they are working on, there are other personal problems one may face when using the app.

Since BeReal is relatively new, not many people are using it yet, making it difficult to find friends who are also on the app. Additionally, people have expressed that they feel uncomfortable sharing personal photos and experiences with people they don’t know well. 

BeReal also brings something to the light that we may not have thought about before - what we as people are truly doing at a random moment every day. The app allows us to share photos we would normally never post because we are too self-conscious or don’t think they are “perfect” enough.

This can be a good thing because it helps people feel more comfortable in their own skin and realize that everyone has imperfections. At the same time, this shift in how one promotes themselves is foreign. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it will likely take some time for social media users to get used to it. 

Changing Social Norms One Photo at a Time

The BeReal app is a new and innovative way to connect with friends and family. It has the potential to change social norms by promoting authenticity and realness. The app is still in its early stages, and although it currently restricts advertising and commercial content, it has shown massive growth and promise. 

Only time will tell if BeReal will be the next big thing, but it is undoubtedly one to watch out for in marketing and in general due to its bravery and rawness. If you are looking for a platform to express yourself (or your brand) in a new and unique way, BeReal is definitely worth checking out.

Pixlee TurnTo Contributor

Pixlee TurnTo welcomes contributed content from leading marketers, influencers and ecommerce experts.

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