Adina Laura Achim

AR is the new frontier and YouTube is ready for it

The joint venture between AR and the beauty sector is not a new thing and Gartner estimates that by 2020, 100 million buyers will shop in augmented reality.

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Sephora has already experimented with 3D augmented reality mirrors in various stores, Unilever’s Dove campaign promotes healthy skin through AR digital ads, Clairol has launched MyShade– a virtual hair app, and L’Oreal offered digital makeup sampling. But Google has pushed creative and tech boundaries even further by bringing the AR features straight to the consumer, in the comfort of his own home. Starting this summer, Google and YouTube will use interactive advertising to promote beauty products that are featured in Influencer makeup tutorials. The innovative campaign will further enhance digital sampling and will allow customers to virtually try on the cosmetics presented by vloggers in their tutorials.

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Through a split- screen division, viewers will see the YouTube video in one half of the screen while on the other side they will test cosmetics thanks to AR face filters. This way, users can see how they look with a lipstick color or a makeup shade.

MAC Cosmetics will be the company who inaugurates the innovative AR Beauty Try-On campaign. Furthermore, the AR feature is still in alpha, but soon it will be available through YouTube’s FameBit to more cosmetic brands.

According to Google, the testing period showed promise and 30 percent of customers activated the AR facet during their trial period.

As YouTube vloggers have become celebrities who enjoy a massive online and offline following base, luxury brands are eager to partner with them and draw the consumer closer to their products. The AR immersive features devote the shoppers to the brand, creating an intimacy that traditional marketing campaigns can’t replicate.

As content is becoming more appealing and genuine, and younger consumers are enhancing their tech skills, brands need advanced and practical ways to really drive the purchasing behavior. 

3D high definition features are fully immersing consumers in the experience, emulating real-life scenarios. Especially in retail, AR is a welcomed change as it helps shoppers chose the right products (in the right color and sizing), reducing purchase returns and the environmental effects of impulse buying. Invesp Inforgraphic estimates that around 30 percent of all purchases made online are returned, compared to the 8.89 percent return rate for physical stores. As the damaging environmental effects of the throwaway culture are widely documented, we welcome initiatives like this one.

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I am a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in content creation, public relations, marketing, and strategic communications.
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