It seems that everyone is on BeReal these days, including Chipotle.
Launched in 2020, BeReal asks users to upload one post per day to give their friends a more authentic outlook on life. The photo prompts appear at random and users are required to send messages within two minutes of receiving the notification. It’s a new take on social media, and one that fascinates Gen Z: Since July, the app has been installed more than 20 million times, according to Sensor Tower.
With so many downloads, it was inevitable that companies started experimenting with the platform. While BeReal does not allow formal ads flock to the platform to build an audience of young users by sharing behind-the-scenes photos and discount codes. When Chipotle joined BeReal (one of the first major brands to do so) in April, it shared reusable promo codes in its posts for a week. The first 100 people who use the promo will receive a free entrance. Those codes were regularly redeemed in less than a minute, Candice BeckChipotle’s social director, says: londonbusinessblog.com.
elf Beauty joined BeReal earlier this month after the app became ‘inevitable’, says Laurie Lam, elf Beauty chief brand officer. While the app doesn’t show the number of an account’s “friends,” Lam says the platform has helped “break track” with a new audience. “It has definitely exceeded our expectations in terms of fan base,” she says. (Other companies are slowly migrating to the app, too. Makeup brand Saie, for example, recently leaked a new product on its BeReal ahead of its launch.)
Despite the wave of downloads, some are skeptical about BeReal’s long-term prospects. After all, we’ve seen several social apps bill themselves as the “anti-Instagram” and have their 15 minutes of fame before they explode, says Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at creative agency Mekanism. (Think about it) Dispo and poparazzi.) “I’m not optimistic about BeReal’s long-term prospects,” he says. “While the idea of ’authenticity’ is intriguing, it’s not enough to sustain a platform.”
That’s not to say brands shouldn’t make an effort to use the platform. “Being the first on a platform has its perks, even if a platform fails. It’s a novelty that’s newsworthy,” says Gahan. Early adopters of an emerging platform are more easily able to grow the audience. But as time goes by and users become oversaturated, it becomes increasingly difficult to build that loyalty.
Marketers are also likely to stick with the brands they know. An overwhelming majority of brands would probably choose to increase their Instagram ad spend rather than take a risk on a new platform, adds Gahan. Still, BeReal doesn’t even come close to competing with established social platforms, and the companies we see entering seem to have a history of experimenting on platforms and campaigns primarily. (Chipotle and Elf Beauty, for example, teamed up last year for a makeup collaboration.)
BeReal just might be the latest fad companies are exploiting before the buzz runs out. “The goal was very simple: to create a space where our fans can see this unfiltered, authentic elf life,” Lam says. “If the space ends up somewhere else, we’ll follow.”