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BeReal app showing low engagement, less than 9% daily opens

BeReal app soared in popularity amongst its initial release, but is now showing declining app engagement. Is it already on its way out?

Selfie of two girls on iphone representing BeReal app

After reports that the French social media app, BeReal, was the most popular non-gaming app in the world in August, Instagram and TikTok pushed their own versions of BeReal’s raison d’etre with randomly timed daily prompts for an unedited photo of life with both front and back cameras.

However, a deeper dive into the user stats reveals that BeReal might not be as popular as it first seemed.

Social media analysts at Sensor Tower shared last week that while BeReal boasted 14.7 million global downloads across the App Store and Google Play Store in September 2022, only 9% of users who downloaded the app on Android opened it every day in Q3 – which is, kind of the entire point of the app.

As a reminder, BeReal is the new app claiming to promote social media authenticity by giving users a 2-minute window at a random time every day to take a photo of what they’re doing using both their front and back cameras. We’ve reported previously on how Instagram and TikTok have bristled at the app’s popularity and are both pushing their own versions of daily candid captures on their own platforms.

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But with those Q3 user data reports, however threatened they may feel, the bigwigs have nothing to fear. Instagram leads the pack with daily Android user usage at 39%, followed by TikTok at 29%, and Facebook in a close third with 27%.

It’s important to note, of course, that Android users make up a minor portion of all apps’ total downloads compared to iOS. So, even if only 9% of Android users with BeReal installed are opening it daily, that does not say anything about the app’s overall usage across all operating systems.

Additionally, BeReal’s main functionality is the daily photo upload, which is only available to users within the randomly selected 2-minute BeReal window each day. The lure of the app, how it maintains its dedication to authenticity, is that users cannot predict when the daily upload notification will arrive. With no way to prepare ahead of time, users are forced to share a spontaneous snippet of an immediate moment, rather than pre-planned content.

If the BeReal prompt surfaces while someone is at work, taking an exam, at the doctor, or in any other situation in which their phone is inaccessible or they are preoccupied, then they won’t be participating that day. And while they may check the app later to view others’ posts, we know that the psychological draw of social media for many is the dopamine spike of receiving feedback on one’s content.

Compare BeReal’s “blink and you’ll miss it” approach to content submission with Instagram and TikTok, which not only allow users to upload content at any time, but are designed to encourage users to spend as much time on the app during the day as possible.

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What do the folks at BeReal think about the statistical disparity? Supposedly, they couldn’t care less.

In a statement issued to Gizmodo in response to the site’s reporting on the Sensor Tower statistics, the company had this to say:

“BeReal’s mission is to build the best product. This is what matters to us. Metrics, fundraising, valuations, ranking etc. are not what we want to put under the spotlight – hence us not sharing these for now. All BeReal’s figures on the internet are…estimates.”

This is believable, considering its description on the App Store states that BeReal “won’t make you famous” and “doesn’t care if you have millions of followers or if you’re verified.”

BeReal may not care about those things, but what about their investors? As TikTok Now gains traction and Instagram’s experimental “Candid Challenges” feature rolls out (though we’ve yet to see this outside of internal testing so far), we’ll see what kind of moves BeReal makes next to keep their actually-social social media app alive.

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Emily Drewry is the Web Producer at The American Genius. She holds two Business degrees in Digital Marketing & Advertising as well as Sales Management. She resides in the sunny Orlando, FL and embodies the heart of hospitality. When not working on web projects, she's probably at a theme park or thrifting her next trendy piece, iced coffee in hand.

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