Overcoming crashes, the anti-Instagram app BeReal tops the Apple app store charts

    Despite several accusations that it frequently crashes at crucial moments, BeReal, a social media app called the “anti-Instagram,” has experienced a sudden surge in popularity.

    When everyone tries to publish their impromptu photos at once, the app, which demands everyone on the platform to take a photo inside a two-minute window each day, frequently crashes. A “late” tag of public embarrassment is applied if your image is not uploaded within the allotted time range.

    BeReal at the Top

    But instead of discouraging consumers, the software topped Apple’s App Store in the United States for three days this week. According to the digital analytics platform Sensor Tower, it experienced its largest weekly increase ever during the week of July 11 with 1.7 million installs.

    Arun Lakshmanan, an associate professor of marketing at the University at Buffalo School of Management, claims that it is typical, particularly for social media organizations, for the infrastructure to get overloaded when demand spikes quickly. He continued by saying that an application’s likelihood of becoming well-liked and steady increases with how quickly it can scale up.

    Overcoming crashes, the anti-Instagram app BeReal tops the Apple app store charts
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    BeReal’s growth is reminiscent of the early success of Instagram and Twitter when platform issues were common due to a user overflow. Those apps changed and persevered, but BeReal still needs to show that it can last longer than a passing craze in a time when there are so many social networking apps vying for users’ attention.

    The French app was around before Alexis Barreyat and Romain Salzman launched it in 2020. With support from DST Global and others, BeReal reported receiving $30 million in fundraising from Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, and New Wave. According to Insider, BeReal is receiving US$85 million (S$118 million) in new funding under the leadership of DST Global, valuing the company at US$600 million.

    The software started to gain traction across college-aged users in the US earlier this year after becoming popular in France. Many users claim that its attractiveness stems from its deliberate antagonism to Instagram’s ultra-curated style, which is controlled by Facebook parent company Meta Platforms.

    Overcoming crashes, the anti-Instagram app BeReal tops the Apple app store charts
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    Posts and Bugs

    Users only post once per day on BeReal, which is activated by a push notification that reads “Time to BeReal” and is accompanied by two yellow caution sign emojis. The app captures two images with a single click, one from the front and one from the back cameras.

    However, this is where things go wrong for a lot of folks. If they can capture a photo, it may take too long to upload, earning the dreaded “late” designation, or they may need to repeatedly close and restart the app. The bugs restrict users from using the app since they cannot see what their friends publish until they have posted themselves.

    As per data analytics platform Apptopia, the number of BeReal bad evaluations for performance and bugs increased by 254% over the first two weeks of July. Reviews citing “poor” or “mixed” performance and “bugs” accounted for 56.4% of all reviews in May. BeReal opted against commenting.

    Overcoming crashes, the anti-Instagram app BeReal tops the Apple app store charts
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    BeReal and Users Analytics

    Despite the technical difficulties, users continue to return for their daily posts. As compared to the top 10 social applications, BeReal users were more likely to stick with the app, per, a platform for market and consumer data.

    At BeReal, the proportion of users who were still using the app after seven days was close to 50% in May, compared to 37% for other apps. These percentages stabilize at 35% and 34% after 30 days.

    One user, Brianna Fox, 19, a student at the University of Michigan who prefers she/they pronouns, tried to take a picture but instead saw their face multiplied into a kaleidoscope-like grid and toned purple, an effect their standard iPhone camera does not offer.

    Specific people joke about Ms. Fox spreading technical issues when they also experienced them. Ms. Fox yet keeps up her daily posting. “I would only answer that I continue to use it because I find it amusing. Similar to Snapchat or Instagram, there are no filters. I prefer that it is more direct.”

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