YouTube has introduced augmented reality into videos, providing a canvas for beauty bloggers to play with virtual makeup while also opening a new route for brands to hawk their products.
Google, which owns YouTube, announced the new augmented-reality feature, which enables “virtual try-on” sessions.
Viewers turn a phone’s camera onto themselves, like looking in the mirror, to digitally sample a shade of lipstick or other makeup product—and there is a buy button.
On Tuesday, Google also released a new ad format that incorporates technology akin to augmented reality, calling them three-dimensional display ads, which can run on any mobile website.
MAC Cosmetics was one of the first beauty brands to test the virtual try-ons in YouTube, while New Balance was among the first to develop a 3D display ad, which Google showed off in a blog post on Tuesday.
This is a really smart move by YouTube, staking a claim with ‘try-on’ augmented reality,” says Clay Weishaar, creative director at Tool of North America. “They have crazy technology, really sophisticated. They’re starting with makeup but eventually it could be for all clothes.”
The companies all have AR programs for brands and developers to create their own experiences with the technology, which has led to some innovative uses like consumers being able to view digital renditions of furniture in their living rooms or sample virtual sunglasses.
Mobile AR generated USD$1.8 billion in 2018, and this was expected to double this year, according to a recent report from SuperData, which is part of Nielsen.