Last year, Gen-z’ers rocked social media and shifted their preferences to authentic feeds. So, we introduced 3 up-and-coming apps that were dedicated to showing more authentic views of users’ day-to-day life. Among these apps was BeReal, which had a download growth of 315% in 2022.
But alas, even BeReal is too staged with many users only posting on the app when they're doing something worth showing off. BeReal currently has a 95% drop in weekly U.S. downloads along with sparse activity. Users are looking for the next big thing as they get wary of the average social media feed, and look for more real and inspirational content.
Let’s dive into 3 new apps that might just be the new best thing, with one that even relies on AI.
Launched by TikTok owner ByteDance, Lemon8 is a new app that users are describing as a crossover between Pinterest and Instagram. The main page includes “following” and “for you” tabs similar to TikTok, but the feed still feels very Instagram-esque and is dedicated to still images and some video. Content on the app revolves around small photo carousels with longer descriptions such as “Amazon Favorites” or “What To Wear When You Have Nothing to Wear”. The app encourages users to share where they bought things to help other users purchase products from their posts.
Lemon8 is rising in popularity as it jumped into the U.S. App Store’s Top 10 Chart in March 2023. In April 2023, it ranked #2 in Lifestyle apps, ranking above Pinterest. #Lemon8 has over 2.4 billion views on TikTok as users are leaving reviews and even encouraging their followers to follow them on the app. A few brands like Chipotle are already on the app, but keep in mind that without a profile verification system, it’s difficult to tell if brand profiles are real or impersonation.
Gas allows users to anonymously compliment or "gas up" their friends through a series of polls. Gas app authors all the content so that you’re answering polls that are generally uplifting and positive. Polls tend to range from thoughtful to flirty questions like "I'd say yes if [name] asked me out on a date" or "I think [name] is the coolest kid in school". Users select a name to fill in the blanks, and then others can see the results without knowing who the response was from. Users can connect with others by joining their highschool or syncing their contacts to find their friends. The app has taken measures to prevent bullying such as not allowing DM’s within the app.
The Today Show reported that 1 in 3 teens are using the app and according to Gas app founder Nikita Bier, more than 1 billion compliments have been shared.
Created by Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Artifact is a personalized news feed powered by artificial intelligence. The founders decided to leverage machine learning at the core of this app to improve and adapt its user’s feed the more they use the app, rather than on a smaller scale similar to that of Instagram. The news feed feels similar to Instagram and even allows you to upload your contacts in order to see if a particular article is popular in your network (without telling you who read it). Users have full control over their interests as they log-in for the first time and in the settings.
The co-founders have promised their news app would later evolve to include more social elements, like being able to discuss news with friends.
What does this mean for brands?
See if there’s a space for the brand and take a calculated risk
If there’s a new platform gaining traction, it’s worth vetting the platform and seeing how audiences are using the app. It’s not unusual for brands to hop on an app and utilize it in a creative way; take Chipotle on BeReal for example. It’s worth brainstorming how to join the conversation. Front runners are often rewarded, but you have to be willing to take a slight risk by jumping into a lesser known territory.
Keep relatability at the center of content strategy
Consumers want brands to create content that feels real rather than polished. It’s important to remember that social is entertainment first and it’s crucial to optimize content for entertainment. Consider creative ways to make content feel like something you’d send to a friend rather than a brand talking to an audience. Lo-fi content (such as iphone photos), zoom ins, and even photo dumps are great ways to start.
Consider your engagement strategy
Engagement goes hand and hand with relatable content. Joining a new app means entering a space with mostly consumers, where brands may or may not be greeted with open arms. Consider how you will add to the conversation and engage with users. This is a great way to connect with fans of your brand and even learn more about how to navigate the new platform.