Hype or hit? What you need to know about the Gen Z photo-sharing app climbing the charts – MovieUpdates

An app called BeReal, founded by former GoPro employee Alexis Barreyat along with Kévin Perreau, was launched in December 2019 with the idea of ​​asking users to post a raw photo once a day after receiving a push notification. After receiving the alert, the user has up to 2 minutes to share what he is doing and see the photos his friends have also posted.

The app is easy to use and takes a selfie and a front-facing photo at the same time – an experience that brings back fond memories of the long-lost photo app Frontback. (REST IN PEACE).

The company explains that this experience gives users a chance to show who they really are.

The concept itself is not entirely new. In addition to Frontback’s use of dual cameras, a similar push notification idea arose a few years ago amid a wave of apps trying to take users away from Instagram.

Image Credits: be real

An app called Minutiae, launched in 2017, helped pioneer the same concept that BeReal is now capitalizing on: alerts instructing users to record what they’re doing next. Minutiae co-founder Martin Adolfsson recently complained to MovieUpdates that BeReal “borrowed quite a lot” from his idea, while calling out its authenticity, much to his chagrin.

But unfortunately ideas are not patents. And we’ve seen many apps and products over the years that offer similar social experiences, with only one becoming the breakthrough success ahead of its time. Look at Qik vs. ustream.tv; Gowalla vs. Foursquare; Photo vs Boomerang; We Heart It vs Pinterest; or, more recently, TikTok versus everyone else trying to clone it.

And while Minutiae would allow users to browse the photos of strangers from around the world, BeReal focuses more on groups of real friends.

There is some demand for new photo sharing apps among younger users who are getting tired of Instagram’s constant changes, its chock-full of new features like Reels and Shopping, and the overly polished content for creators. Other apps, such as Minutiae and BeReal, have also experimented with unique photo-sharing experiences in an effort to lure users away from Instagram with varying degrees of success.

Poparazzi — an app that changed Instagram’s tagging feature in its entire premise — hyped itself to the top of the App Store not long ago using a series of growth hacks. Since then, its popularity has declined and it now ranks #87 in the Photo & Video category in the US App Store.

Another app, Dispo, delayed the release of your digital photos to give itself a nostalgic feel, but targeted a generation that never knew what it’s like to wait for prints. It also didn’t become the next new Instagram and is now at No. 143 in Photo & Video in the App Store.

Image Credits: apptopia

BeReal has been around for a few years now. But app intelligence firm Apptopia noted earlier this month that 65% of its lifetime downloads were in 2022 and its monthly active users had grown 315% to date. Today, the company has offered MovieUpdates updated numbers. It found that BeReal has seen 7.67 million downloads to date, representing 74.5% of its lifetime installs. France (where the app is based) and the US lead the way, with 20.5% and 19.7% share of installs respectively.

The company attributes the growth to a combination of word of mouth, BeReal’s college ambassador program and newer features like WidgetMoji and RealMoji – the former that puts your friends in a home screen widget and the latter that lets you respond with stickers in iMessage conversations. However, this level of rapid growth usually involves marketing or advertising spend, not just organic adoption, which would be a slower rise and a less sharp jump.

Image Credits: apptopia

BeReal would have the money. The a16z and Accel-backed app raised $30 million in a Series A last year. It looks like it used some of that money.

And it turns out that at least some of BeReal’s growth was made to create the app look like it’s a viral hit. Students at Brown’s student newspaper reported that BeReal paid them $30 per referral and $50 for an app download with a review. The students would receive the money through PayPal or Venmo, they said. Other student ambassadors organized events and handed out perks, such as free boba, to recruit new users, according to a report by Rice University’s student newspaper.

The current ambassador program runs from January to June 2022, according to the BeReal website. (BeReal declined to talk to MovieUpdates, saying they are “not ready for media” [sic]†

There’s nothing wrong with paid user acquisition – this is how the app ecosystem works, after all. In addition, some paid users become engaged and loyal. That’s the goal!

BeReal is having success with this model so far: according to Apptopia, daily active users have reached 2.93 million at the time of writing.

It also has a rating of 4.8 for nearly 22,000 user reviews on the App Store and a 4.5 rating for nearly 15,000 reviews on Google Play. It is currently the No. 4 Overall app in the US App Store.

That said, it’s a little frustrating to see apps buying installs and having five star reviews written like that. final as Gen Z’s new favorite toy, in articles describing the app’s growth as organic. There may be some word of mouth here, but that interest has been combined with good old paid app installs.

In the early days of the App Store, there were more direct channels for this kind of “cash-to-downloads” funnel, until Apple cracked down on companies that “buy” their growth. But that only led to more paid behind-the-scenes user acquisition efforts. Today, alongside traditional channels – like online/social ads, billboards, TV, etc. – we see things like “viral” TikToks that were basically secret marketing deals for influencers. Or, as with BeReal, college ambassadors who are compensated to hype an app to a target demographic.

The latter can really work if the hype puts the app in front of users who become enamored with the experience and stick with it.

BeReal probably has a hefty dose of user acquisition fuel up its sleeve. And since the gimmick involves enabling push notifications, it can keep loyal users over time. But it still has a long way to go to prove it can become a part of the daily user rotation — something we won’t know until paid acquisition efforts slow down and the app is left to its own devices in the competitive landscape. .

Still, we have to love BeReal’s download URL: it’s bere.al/downloadthedamnthing.

Okay why not!

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