By Emily Bary
Instagram and Snapchat have been sweating the effects of TikTok’s ascent, but now it seems they have another upstart rival to worry about.
BeReal, which bills itself as a less-curated platform, has been the top downloaded iOS app in the U.S. so far this quarter, according to third-party data from Apptopia that was recently highlighted by Bernstein. BeReal beat out second-place TikTok, with Instagram, YouTube, and WhatsApp rounding out the top five.
Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik noted that trends are admittedly different when you look globally, or beyond Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.31% devices running the iOS operating system. Instagram tops the charts on a pure global basis, and BeReal doesn’t even crack the top five. When you look at global iOS downloads, to account for the fact that Alphabet Inc.-developed /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -1.82% /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -1.82% apps come preinstalled on Android devices, Instagram still ranks first, with YouTube second and BeReal third.
“But if US iOS downloads represent the bleeding edge of innovation, there’s a new king in town,” he said in a note to clients.
While apps like Meta Platforms Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite META -1.52% Instagram encourage users to post curated photos and videos to their feeds, social-media users also have an appreciation for apps like Snap Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/205087158/composite SNAP +6.55% Snapchat, through which people share photos of themselves making funny faces and using cheesy filters.
BeReal aims to capitalize on that more spontaneous aspect of social media as well, though the company says on its iOS app-download page that it’s “not another social network.”
The app notifies people once a day at a different time that they have two minutes to share a selfie and a shot of their surroundings. The app is a “new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life,” BeReal says on its website.
Shmulik noted that “the company’s pitch seems to be resonating,” both in terms of app downloads and the attention BeReal is getting from established social-media players.
TikTok recently launched TikTok Now , its own take on the trend, which the company said it would build into the app for U.S. users and offer as a standalone app in some other regions. TechCrunch reported this summer that Instagram “quietly added” a feature called Dual to its Reels platform, allowing people to capture footage with their front- and back-facing cameras simultaneously.
Whether the TikTok clone in particular takes off is still an unknown, according to Shmulik. “Such ventures can be a hit or miss, as Meta very well knows, but the competition for eyeballs is stronger than ever,” he wrote.