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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. Lemon8 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 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. Artifact 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.
Approximately 95 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram everyday. Could you sort the edited from the non-edited? The staged from the candid? These days, not many can, which is why anti-Instagram social platforms such as BeReal, Poparazzi, and Locket are dominating the social media space as users, especially Gen Z’ers, seek ways to authentically stay connected with their friends. The purpose of these apps is to break away from the edited photos and faux lifestyles and give a more authentic view of users’ day-to-day life. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these up-and-coming social media apps. BeReal encourages users to keep it real. Once a day, all BeRealers get a notification from the app at the same time to post their photo of the day. The app gives users two minutes to take a photo with both the front and back-facing camera at the same time. It’s currently ranked #1 in the social networking category on the App Store, and approximately 6.8 million people have downloaded BeReal and downloads have grown by 315% in 2022. Poparazzi is deemed the “anti-selfie” app. It has no likes, no followers, and only your friends can post photos on your feed. It performed incredibly well in its first year of launch as it quickly skyrocketed to the top of the App Store, even ahead of TikTok as the number one social media platform. Although this unseating was temporary, the app remains successful and popular. Since its 2021 launch, it has been downloaded more than 5 million times, with over 100 million photos and videos shared. Locket is for your closest friends only– 20 of them to be exact. When a friend sends their photo, it instantly appears in your Locket widget and displays directly on your home screen. Unlike a regular app, widgets are continuously running and you don’t need to click on it to start the program. You can respond to friends with your own photo that will appear on the Locket widget of their phone’s home screen. As you use Locket, you’ll build a history of photos that you’ll be able to look back on. Locket is also quickly rising in popularity, currently ranked 11th in the social networking category on the App Store. Why is it becoming popular to be candid and unfiltered on social media? Social media has been linked to everything from depression and sleep deprivation to anxiety and feelings of loneliness, especially among younger users. “Likes” specifically have become a measure users equate to status and how well you’re actually liked in the real world. However, Millennials and Gen Z have more access to mental health education than previous generations, and it has become an increasingly important topic amongst younger audiences. Their knowledge about mental health has helped them understand the negative impacts of social media, and in fact, Gen Z has shown a major decline in social media use on every social media platform besides TikTok. They are simply not willing to succumb to the pressure of traditional social media and want to be part of safer, less toxic environments online. While many younger users have attempted to make their own accounts on Instagram more realistic and less filtered (e.g. photo dumps), platform updates that flood users’ feeds with unwanted ads and posts from users they don’t follow has pushed them off the app even quicker. They are worn out and losing trust in these big name apps, which is leading developers to create new apps with more authentic purposes, and let me tell you, Gen Z loves them. What does this mean for brands? Takeaway 1: Users are seeking relatability and authenticity. They no longer want to see glossy, branded content from brands on social media– they want to see content that looks real, even on Instagram. It’s important that brands keep this at the center of their content strategy and when they consider who they partner with (other brands, influencers, etc). Takeaway 2: While the way brands can get involved in the conversation will certainly vary from app to app, the best way we’ve seen brand utilize anti-Instagram apps like BeReal so far is by offering its consumers some type of exclusive offer or look at some behind the scenes with the brand or its products. For example, Chipotle’s first Bereal post offered a promo code to the first 100 users who used it at checkout on the Chipotle app. Takeaway 3: If a brand is looking to be a part of the conversation on one of the anti-Instagram apps, they must recognize the fine line between being relatable and being cringey. Trying too hard will drive users away, which is especially important to remember when getting involved in an emerging platform or even just jumping on trends to create culturally-relevant content. One thing we're asking ourselves: do these apps represent the next wave of social media? That may be the case. We are tracking the latest and greatest closely (while using the apps ourselves). Time will tell and we can't wait to see what's next.