Since TikTok took on its role as Gen Z’s favorite social media platform, other apps have merely come and gone quietly, but BeReal appeared to have actually taken off—at least in the form of viral posts on other social media platforms. It was even named Apple’s “app of the year” in their 2022 App Store Awards. Brands like Chipotle, Rare Beauty, and e.l.f. jumped in on BeReal’s quick success, but these days it’s looking a little vacant on the app and its growth has significantly slowed.
Digiday reports that “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.” Similarly, Data.ai shows “BeReal was ranked in 8th place for social platforms” as of February 15, but “from February 4 to 8, its ranking among all apps declined from 64th to 109th. YPulse has been keeping tabs on the app since April, and our data shows that despite the buzz, BeReal is not measuring up to any (major) platform’s usership with their own—and it’s on the decline.
Using data from our Social Media Monitor and Social Media Behavior reports, we can see the number of BeReal users hardly compares to top social platforms:
BeReal is not being used by the vast majority of young people—even Gen Z
YPulse’s recent Social Media Behavior report shows on average, only 9% of young people are using BeReal, but Gen Z far more than Millennials. That said, it’s still only 14% of Gen Z currently say they use BeReal, down from 19% who said so in November. And even when its use was at its peak, only 11% of Gen Z said they used the app daily, which is kind of the whole point of the platform. While the app prompts them once a day to spontaneously post a “real” photo of what is going on, which they have to do in order to see others’ photos, many are clearly ignoring the notification. Millennials are even less likely to be using the app—though more were users in the very beginning—but now only 7% use it, and only 4% say they do so daily.
Comparatively, when YPulse began tracking TikTok in January 2019, 12% of Gen Z were using it already, and it only continued to grow such that a year later, 35% were using it. (And now, roughly 70% of Gen Z use TikTok.) BeReal’s already –5pt decline in Gen Z usership in just two months of the eight we’ve tracked shows it’s not making the same trajectory into a mainstay social platform. Because despite its viral appearance, BeReal is getting much the same treatment as other temporarily notable apps. Gen Z was briefly interested in platforms like Gas, Triller, and Clubhouse, but all faded as none had the same entertainment value or time commitment as favorites like TikTok. But what made BeReal stand out from the rest and look as though it was primed to reach mainstay status was actually its appeal on other apps…
BeReal’s popularity mainly came from sharing on other platforms
While the draw of only being able to see others’ posts when they made their own initially had young people using BeReal on the daily, its real viral impact came from posting their dual-camera pics on other platforms. On TikTok, several trends emerged to show off BeReal photos (the hashtag #BeReal has 4.1B views), even including one that had nothing to do with the daily photos, but rather just what they need to be instead of real. At the end of 2022, BeReal was part of a viral trend because of its recap feature, which gave users a video of all their photos from the year in a video perfectly formatted to share on other platforms; while marked with the BeReal logo, this trend was just another post on more popular platforms.
And the dual camera feature for the photos was originally unique, but having BeReal shared on their platform wasn’t enough, so giants like Snapchat and Instagram developed dual camera functions to mimic the app—and TikTok has been heavily pushing their “TikTok Now” function. While these features don’t seem to have become popular either, BeReal has begun to lose its viral luster for other reasons, too…
BeReal is losing popularity because no one likes what “being real” looks like
Initially made, and maybe even once loved, for its authentic way of showing filterless, non-curated content, BeReal quickly made some users realize that not having something fun to post each day made their lives look a little more boring than they’d like to admit. This wasn’t so much a problem at the end of the summer when it first gained traction; Gen Z were on vacation from school, Millennials were maybe taking some time off work, there was more fun to show. But now, on the day-to-day, a randomly timed photo will likely show Gen Z and Millennials working or in class, and they’re just not interested in sharing how mundane it looks. It also highlights when others are out having cooler days than them, making them only want to post when there’s something exciting and essentially, not be real. Even at its peak, users took to holding off on their notification to post until something exciting—a concert, seeing friends—happened, which is quite literally the exact opposite of the point of the app. Now it seems viral may be all BeReal was, and that without a new premise to draw users (back), it may soon be another forgotten app.