Remember a few years ago when Instagram launched a Snapchat-like feature to its app? More recently, the brand announced that it will shift to a video-first approach, presumably to compete against short-form video platform TikTok.
Well, today, Instagram is reportedly testing a feature that’s eerily close to the trending platform BeReal. In this article, we’ll talk about what this could mean for marketers.
Is Instagram Becoming a BeReal Copycat?
Before we get into Instagram, here’s a quick refresher on BeReal.
This social media app has been around for a few years but it only took off this year. The app has been labeled the anti-Instagram – encouraging users to strip away the filters and the glitz, and be more authentic.
Here’s how it works: The app uses a dual camera feature – front and back cameras – and at a random time throughout the day, users will be prompted to take a photo in their current environment within two minutes. They can’t upload a picture, it has to be taken from the camera.
Then, once you’ve shared, you’re able to see your friends’ posts who were prompted at the same time.
BeReal’s ad reads “No filters. No likes. No followers. No bullsh*t. No ads. Just your friends, for real.”
The shade toward Instagram isn’t exactly subtle but it does reflect a critique many users have made, including influencers like Kylie Jenner.
There’s even a change.org petition with over 300,000 signatures titled “Make Instagram Instagram Again.”
Instagram has seemingly responded by testing a BeReal-like feature – among other ones. In July, the platform introduced “Dual,” which allows users to post content using both the front and back cameras.
in an apparent attempt to copy the popular app BeReal, Instagram is rolling out its own feature (called ‘Dual’) to take disappearing photos using the front and back cameras simultaneously— paris martineau (@parismartineau) July 28, 2022
left is IG stories, right is BeReal pic.twitter.com/TuOeR3N0PE
At this point, the only similarity was the camera aspect.
However, a few weeks later, developer Alessandro Paluzzi discovered that Instagram was testing “Candid Challenges,” a feature using Dual that would also have a timed component prompting users to share on their Story. Sound familiar?
Instagram confirmed this in a brief statement, saying that it’s an internal prototype with no external testing currently.
#Instagram is working on IG Candid Challenges, a feature inspired by @BeReal_App 👀— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) August 22, 2022
ℹ️ Add other's IG Candid to your story tray. And everyday at a different time, get a notification to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes. pic.twitter.com/caTCgUPtEV
Should marketers care about Instagram taking on BeReal?
The short answer is it’s still too early to tell.
The first reason is that it’s still not clear whether BeReal is a suitable platform for brands. As it stands, BeReal doesn’t have many (if any) brand-friendly tools.
With Instagram potentially adopting BeReal features, this could give the app the freshness and authenticity it’s been missing lately.
This is good news for brands, as they could continue building on Instagram without having to adjust to and grow on a new platform.
One TechCrunch article suggests that BeReal is still very much in its infancy phase, struggling with glitches that impact the user experience.
While BeReal could threaten Instagram’s dominance, it’s not quite there yet.
For now, it’s worth keeping an eye on both platforms to see how their features evolve and user sentiment along with them.