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Instagram’s version of BeReal is here … do we care?

Following the success of BeReal and the new TikTok Now feature (essentially BeReal for TikTok), Instagram, the sheep of the social media sisters, is, of course, now launching its own version. 

Entitled ‘Candid Stories’, Instagram has been testing the feature for the past few months. Users will be able to prompt a Candid Story among their connections via a new option within the Stories Camera. Then, after you launch your first Candid, Instagram will continue to prompt you and your connections with a daily notification to capture another Candid, and share what you’re all up to at a given time. Yep, it’s basically BeReal. 

What’s so confusing about this adoption on Instagram’s behalf is that its spent all of 2022 pushing itself as a video over photo platform and now that BeReal has boomed, Instagram is reverting back to acting as a photo app. Such behaviour situates the app in untrustworthy territory.

While this increases Instagram’s profile as a pathetic sheep who mimics and copies every social media trend that surfaces, BeReal has seen huge growth this year, and even won the recent App of the Year title on iOS. Its true challenge, however, is where it goes next.

The main question is whether it’s an app, or is it a function? As an app it can prove to be repetitive with endless pages of friends snapped in front of their laptop screens. However, as a marketing function, then maybe it actually fits better within Instagram or another, larger platform, where it can be accessed by the largest pool of users and showcase a candid brand process and culture in a down to earth manner.

Meta notes that it’s also testing Candid for Facebook Stories.

Instagram is adding other new features as well as Candids. One such addition is Notes, a new conversation-prompting option which will sit just above your messages in your inbox, and highlights chat prompts from your connections. 

Notes appear like Stories in your inbox, with your connections able to pose a question to spark a chat. “Notes are short posts of up to 60 characters using just text and emojis. To leave a note, go to the top of your inbox, select the followers you follow back or people on your Close Friends list, and your note will appear at the top of their inbox for 24 hours. Replies to notes will arrive as DMs in your inbox” according to Meta. The option is another effort from Instagram to lean into the fact that more people are now interacting in messages than they’re posting to their main feed.

Instagram’s true advantage, despite social embarrassment this year, is that it has the usage data, it knows what people are responding to, and it’s working to lean into those trends.

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