Advertising on the hottest new app: BeReal. Is it possible? Currently, the social media application BeReal has no advertisers. Due to the casual nature of BeReal, will businesses ever be able to promote their goods?
With the rising popularity of the social media app BeReal the question can be raised how and will the social media platform begin to advertise? Or perhaps. Will they ever? Before it can even be considered if BeReal can be used like social media giants Instagram, Facebook and even TikTok for advertising purposes, the very important question is what even is BeReal?
In a nutshell, BeReal is supposed to act as the solution to the projection of a perfect life that has consumed social media applications such as Instagram and Facebook. The app prompts users to post one photo per day at a particular randomised time to capture what they are doing in that moment – no matter how boring or exciting. Released in 2020, BeReal differs from other forms of social media applications in that it only allows a single post a day.
Users are directed to open the app with the notification stating it is ‘Time to BeReal’. At that time, a two-minute window begins in which users have to take a photograph of whatever they are currently doing. Anything posted outside of this 2-minute time period is labelled as a ‘late’ post and users cannot see their friends’ posts until they have posted themselves. Another feature of the app, that differs to traditional social media platforms, is that BeReal showcases how many retakes of the particular photo have been attempted, potentially exposing individuals for trying to make a moment appear ‘too perfect’. No like buttons exist on BeReal; however, users can react to images and take photos of themselves as a replacement of emojis. Overall, BeReal is an anti-social-media social media app. It is more casual and there are no filters or edited images anywhere in sight.
But if BeReal has the goal to remain ‘real’, is it even a possibility for advertisers to enter the platform without damaging the app’s integrity or compromising their values? The answer is possibly. But how could the platform integrate advertisements without damaging the BeReal experience for its 21.6 monthly users. A few options may be suitable for the social media platform including sponsored BeReal Posts, ‘punishment’ advertisements for late posts or even advertisements before posting. These are discussed in more detail below.
Sponsored ‘BeReal’ posts
Like Many other social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook and even Tiktok, ‘BeReal’ may consider the option of including sponsored posts from brands in their users’ feeds. These sponsored posts may come from a business or even an individual. BeReal would ultimately charge those businesses for integrating sponsored posts into their users’ feeds.
However, BeReal would have to take caution in how they inserted ads. A traditional video formatted ad or even a landscape image ad may appear to be jarring and out of place on users’ feeds. They would need to collaborate with the advertisers to ensure that posts are formatted to match others in the feed (that is one image taken with the front facing selfie camera, and the other a back camera captured moment). Furthermore, following in the footsteps of Instagram, BeReal would need to ensure that a very obvious signal indicating that a post is sponsored appears alongside sponsored posts.
Another option to integrate advertisements into BeReal platform could be as a form of punishment for posting outside of the two-minute posting window. BeReal may integrate a feature in which an advertisement has to be viewed if a user needs to post late. This may be the most suitable option for the app. Firstly, it allows BeReal to work with business and individuals without compromising the layout of their application. The main feed and appearance of the app will not be infiltrated by paid advertisements or sponsored posts. Furthermore, it will also help to reinforce the core values of authenticity and realness of the application. Currently, users are aware that they can post late and consequently, may wait until they are doing something more ‘interesting’ before they choose to post. The inclusion of ads may assist in incentivising users to post instantly, in order to avoid advertisements.
The reality of the situation is, not all users have access to their devices every day at all moments, hence this remains a viable option for BeReal if they were attempting to secure partnerships with brands.
Ads before posting
BeReal could also consider simply inserting advertisements before users are able to post each day. This alternative would ensure advertisements are viewed by all users every 24 hours. However, this may work against the social media platform and further anger the users of the app. With approximately 74% of social media users thinking there are too many advertisements on social media already, the inclusion could certainly be damaging for BeReal.
The question must also be asked if it is worth advertising on BeReal. As aforementioned, BeReal prompts users to open the application once a day. Although, individuals may open it more frequently to check on their friend’s post, the app does not compare to the usage of other social media platforms. For example, Instagram and Facebook user’s login over 6 times per day and snapchat users log in over 20. Would advertisers even want to promote on a social media platform with a significant lower level of engagement?
Overall, it is evident that BeReal needs to consider how they are going to generate revenue in the future. If they are going to follow down the avenue of other social media giants, this will be through advertising. However, as previously discussed, it may a large challenge for the application to integrate advertisements and paid posts into the feeds of users without jeopardising the experience BeReal users enjoy so much. So, will BeReal do it? Or will this problem ultimately lead to the downfall of the biggest trending app right now?
Tanya Rowlands is a final year undergraduate student of the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, with majors in both accounting and marketing. After completing an internship at Ernst and Young and growing up in the world of social media, Tanya has developed a keen interest for how businesses and consumers interact, and consequently, how marketing can influence this relationship. Her interests centre on areas such as digital marketing and how it can be utilised to increase business performance and also the influence of social media.