TECHNOLOGY

Google equips ads with AR, 3D functionality

BY Dan Berthiaume

Google is creating a more immersive advertising experience for its YouTube and mobile display ad platforms.

For YouTube advertisers, Google is launching AR Beauty Try-On. Leveraging augmented reality (AR) and machine learning technology, AR Beauty Try-On enables viewers to virtually try on makeup while following along with YouTube creators to get content such as tips and product reviews. The feature’s virtual product samples work on a full range of skin tones. Advertisers can measure results in real time.

Currently in alpha, AR Beauty Try-On is available through FameBit by YouTube, Google’s in-house branded content platform. MAC Cosmetics is the first brand to partner with FameBit to launch an AR Beauty Try-On campaign. In tests earlier this year, Google says 30% of viewers activated the AR experience in the YouTube iOS app, spending over 80 seconds on average trying on lipstick virtually.

Google is also releasing an immersive display ad format called Swirl, which brings 3D assets to display advertising on the mobile web. Ad viewers can directly zoom in and out, rotate a product, or play an animation. Google is also introducing a new editor on Poly, its 3D platform. The editor provides more editorial control over 3D objects, including new ways to change animation settings, customize backgrounds, and add realistic reflections.

These new tools will be available in wide release this summer.

Increasingly, retailers of beauty products are utilizing AR and virtual reality (VR) to provide customers a realistic digital view of how cosmetics products would look on them. For example, Amazon is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)-based AR technology from ModiFace to enable its first virtual cosmetic try-on experience. Amazon customers will be able to use the front-facing camera on their mobile phone to digitally try on different shades of lipstick in a live video of themselves, or on a selfie.

In addition, Ulta Beauty offers GlamLab, an AR-based mobile app feature that enables customers to see how different beauty products would look on them. The retailer is also piloting an AR-based try-on service in its stores.

Meanwhile, Macy’s is also using Modiface technology to enable users of its consumer app, as well as in-store kiosks to virtually test single beauty products or entire looks, which they can also share on social media.

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