YouTube lets people try-on makeup via AR

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YouTube recently launched the first shoppable augmented reality (AR) ad on its platform virtually, allowing viewers to have a realistic chance to see how the makeup product would look like on them.

On Wednesday, YouTube rolled out its first virtual makeup try-on experience in a video by Roxette Arisa, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist whose channel has more than 1.1 million subscribers and 66.5 million views. It features some of MAC Cosmetics’ newest lipstick shades.

Initially, Google unveiled the virtual makeup feature back in June at Cannes Lions, but Mac Cosmetics is the first to take advantage of the technology, with 24 shades of virtual lipstick available for viewers to try on. Previously, other selected partners are Estée Lauder, since Google confirmed the partnership during its Marketing Live event last May 14, 2019.

YouTube’s shoppable AR feature Google previously revealed its lipstick-related AR technology in a Google AI blog post from March. The company detailed how the 3-D mesh technology instantly makes a digital sculpt of a user’s face, and then project things like sunglasses and, of course, lipsticks, onto their faces.

Similar to the ones posted in the blog post, and that seen from YouTube recent video with Mac Cosmetics, they look pretty realistic. Check the image below:

The augmented reality try-on videos are part of Google Express’ rebranding, which involves the company’s e-commerce platform and calling it Google Shopping. Certainly, providing close-to-reality virtual testing should be able to entice people to buy.

Essentially, trying the new try-on AR feature isn’t hard to do; its basically, like trying on a Snapchat filter.

In Roxette Arisa’s partnered tutorial video with MAC, she goes through a set of lipsticks from the brand. Moments after, a blue “Try It On” button pop up which will open your phone’s front-facing camera, and will reveal your face with the lipstick shade virtually applied.

Users won’t be restricted to trying on just the shade shown in the ad they saw. The feature will allow people, while the camera is open, to switch between different shades from the same company, giving you the capability to virtually try on 24 of MAC’s recently-debuted lipstick shades.

If you give it a try, you will notice that the virtual lipstick application is seamless and works smoothly even as you move your face, lips, and even when you’re speaking.

If a user finds a shade they like, they can purchase it for $19 straight from YouTube’s mobile app, thanks to a partnership between MAC and FameBit, YouTube’s branded content division.

“In partnership with MAC Cosmetics and creators, we’re pioneering the next wave of influencer marketing with Google’s new augmented reality technology. The possibilities here are endless,” Beau Avril, head of influencer marketing for FameBit, said in a statement.

AR Beauty Try-On was developed by FameBit, alongside Google. In addition to giving users new functionality on YouTube, FameBit also developed a platform that gives brands the tools to measure engagement and impact of campaigns.

Through testing, FameBit found that 30 percent of viewers activated the AR experience when the technology prompted on the iOS app, and spend an average of over 80 seconds trying on the virtual lipstick. These new forms of data offer brands the possibility of understanding their customers in a deeper way.

“We’re so excited to see MAC’s artistry and innovation come to life in this uniquely digital way,” added Constantin Sklavenitis, senior vice president and general manager of MAC North America.

“Being able to bring our newest lip shades to consumers through FameBit’s AR Beauty Try-On is a pioneering step, fusing the experience of content viewing and shopping,” Sklavenitis added.

As to why YouTube is leaning on to the beauty company to launch this new feature, the platform recognizes the immense community that was created out of YouTube videos and beauty influencers.

In 2017 there were 88 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube, growing from “only” 55 billion in 2016, according to Statista. Every month, YouTube registers more than 700 million views of beauty-related content.

People are more attracted to seemingly “real” people trying on makeup that talk about their opinions on the products, which viewers trust more than company ads.

Contrastingly, YouTube and the big beauty brands do not own this space. Their videos represent only 3 percent of the total views. Individual “vloggers” control a stunning 97 percent of all beauty topic videos.

People like Jeffree Star (who has 14.9 million subscribers) and James Charles (15.3 million) pull in hundreds of millions of views — and lots of ad impressions — for YouTube each month.

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