If you’ve noticed your BeReal feed is looking a little sparse these days, you’re not alone.
Recent third-party data has shown a dropoff in download growth for the anti-filter app that had strong momentum in 2022. Though beauty brands initially rushed onto the app starting in the second half of last year, activity is possibly slowing down. But brands aren’t giving up yet.
BeReal is “still relevant but declining quickly” among Gen Z, said Katelyn Winker, vp of client strategy and services at digital marketing agency Taylor & Pond. “A lot of people in college still use it but not nearly as much as a few months ago. It was much more popular when it first came out, and people are starting to stop [using it] because they feel it’s pointless.”
On any given day, beauty brands’ activity on the app is much more limited than that of last year. Among a sampling of 20 beauty brands being tracked, February 14 only featured one post: a Valentine’s Day picture from Too Faced. The brand posted again on February 15, along with three others: Innbeauty, Peace Out Skincare, and Alpyn Beauty. Missing were some of the most enthusiastic early beauty adopters, including E.l.f. Beauty and Rare Beauty.
“On BeReal, we’ve been in double-digit growth across the platform for our brands, in terms of reaction and comments, but we’ve definitely noticed a reduction in the number of posts from other brands,” said Lyndon Robertson, head of social for Ciaté London, Lottie London, Skin Proud and the newly launched brand Hair Proud.
While BeReal did not respond to a media inquiry, some third-party data indicates waning growth numbers. One viral tweet by VC investor Sasha Kaletsky showed a Sensor Tower chart indicating roughly a 95% drop in weekly U.S. downloads from the app’s 2022 peak. On app download rankings by Data.ai as of February 15, BeReal was ranked in 8th place for social platforms. From February 4 to 8, its ranking among all apps declined from 64th to 109th. Sensor Tower’s data indicated that daily active user (DAU) numbers, however, were “holding up well,” according to Kaletsky.
Insight into the app’s user numbers has also been a big topic of conversation on Twitter, but the picture is cloudy. A tweet by another VC investor incorrectly mixing up third-party data on monthly active users (MAUs) and DAUs went viral with over 500,000 views before the author corrected it. Apptopia estimates claim that BeReal’s DAUs in October 2022 were 20 million. It states that number has dropped to 10.4 million in February 2023 — based on projections, given that the month has not ended yet. Data for DAUs between November-January is not listed.
Several beauty brands are opting to stick with BeReal, even though they admit engagement is limited.
“Our brand is quite new to BeReal, and we’ve been so excited to learn the ins and outs of the app,” said Junior Pence, CMO of Peace Out Skincare, which posts BeReals twice a week. “We’re still in the beginning stages of tracking engagement. We’ve found that the app is limited, when it comes to doing so, mostly due to the ‘anti-social media’ intention behind it.”
“We see, on average, 2-3 comments or reactions per post and have built a small fan base of around 100 followers on BeReal. A major downfall of the app from a brand POV is only being able to add up to 500 people to your account to view your BeReals,” Brianna Bajek, the social media specialist for hair-care brand Not Your Mother’s. She said that the brand posts 2-3 times a week and hopes BeReal will allow for larger follower counts.
Too Faced “has been regularly using BeReal and has seen engagement increase,” said Somer Tejwani, the makeup brand’s svp of global marketing. “At this time, it’s too early to predict what the future holds for brands creating content on the platform, but the low cost and minimal time commitment it takes to execute on BeReal makes it a great option for brands looking to show their fans a peek behind the curtain.”
Engagement numbers aren’t necessarily the point, however, said Maram Aoudi, head of consumer engagement at K18. “BeReal is not a platform that is based in metrics. Our focus is different than for a platform like TikTok, where the goal is to continue gaining billions of views. Our measurement of success on the platform is excitement. While this is hard to measure, we promote the account on our other channels to drive followers. Our goal is to create unique content moments, giving our community access to something different than what they can see on Instagram and TikTok.”
The buzz of the new app and adoption by first-mover brands created a FOMO effect in beauty. E.l.f. Beauty — which has staked its marketing strategy on being an early adopter of new platforms, following its massive TikTok success — helped open the brand floodgates on BeReal in August 2022. It was among the first beauty brands to launch on the app, with K18 and Innbeauty joining the same month.
“Once we entered into BeReal, two days later, 15 brands followed,” said E.l.f. Beauty CMO Kory Marchisotto.
Brands that followed in the next few weeks and months included those owned by major conglomerates such as Kiehl’s, CeraVe, Too Faced and Urban Decay, as well as big Sephora-stocked names like Glow Recipe and Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty.
According to Tejwani, Too Faced’s “history of being a first mover on social” was also what prompted it to adopt the app.
Evan Horowitz, co-founder of Movers + Shakers, the creative agency that helped set up E.l.f.’s BeReal, is still “bullish about the future of BeReal,” he said. “While the initial growth curve has moderated, our social listening shows a large consumer segment continuing to use BeReal very actively. It scratches an itch that is very different from other social platforms.” The brand posted on the platform for its Super Bowl ad campaign.
Alisa Metzger, co-founder of Innbeauty, another one of the first beauty brands on BeReal, said the brand is still posting on the app because Innbeauty “prioritizes emerging platforms and new social media formats where our community is spending their time.” But the posting schedule is more sporadic these days.
“The limited follower structure and spontaneous timing of the app, while loved by users, means that, as a brand, we don’t prioritize building a consistent content plan for the platform in the same way we do for Instagram or TikTok,” she said.
Brands are also starting to experiment with the BeReal competitor features that have sprung up on TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat in recent months.
Robertson said that her company’s brands have begun using the dual-camera TikTok Now feature to provide behind-the-scenes content. This dual-camera format may have more potential for brands than BeReal itself, according to some marketers.
“Dual cameras are going to become a prominent content style across all social platforms,” predicted Robertson, who hopes that BeReal will “try and monetize the discovery platform.”
“We can infer that a big part of why brands haven’t pushed using the app and integrating it into their social strategy is due to the lack of monetization opportunity that we see on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Snapchat,” said Winker.