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Brief Published: 28 Oct 2019

YouTube & Instagram Add AR Product Trials to Beauty Videos

YouTube AR

Boosting the pulling power of shoppable content (see Shoppable Video: Making it Easier for Retailers), YouTube and Instagram are adding augmented reality (AR) to their beauty videos, allowing brands to produce content where viewers can visualise products before buying them.

Consumers watching AR-enabled videos on either platform will be prompted to click the ‘try’ button. Their smartphone camera will allow them to test the product while still watching the video. Consumers can then click the ‘buy’ button, which redirects them to complete a purchase. Brands can monitor consumer behaviour, noting which product variations are most commonly tried out, and generate accurate engagement metrics.

YouTube’s AR Beauty Try On (currently in beta mode) is available in paid-advertising slots, including masthead commercials at the top of the page. YouTube’s TrueView videos, which are paid content, appear as regular videos on the brand’s page. It also has a call-to-action button, suggesting that users try the technology.

Instagram uses owner Facebook’s Spark AR platform, which powers camera effects and AR ads. Currently in pilot mode, AR appears both in stories and on brand posts.

Both YouTube and Instagram are working with premium French cosmetic brand Nars and US brand Mac, while Italian and American eyewear retailers Ray-Ban and Warby Parker are also partaking in the Instagram pilot.

While there has been AR beauty-testing technology before, both online and in-store (see L'Oréal Announces Live-Streamed AR Beauty Assistants), this integration with existing content, as opposed to connecting via one-to-one tutorials, represents a significant change in how brands are engaging with consumers. Instagram’s social foundation gives it an advantage, as users can share videos of them trialling the product, via their stories or messages, creating more brand exposure.