- MAC Cosmetics and Guerlain are the first beauty brands to test out Google's new ad products, including augmented reality (AR) on YouTube, 360-degree videos and livestreams. Google announced the immersive formats in separate blog posts, one on immersive experiences and the other discussing interactive ads.
- Estée Lauder-owned MAC partnered with YouTube's branded content studio, FameBit, to offer virtual try-ons of lipstick shades to viewers as they watched tutorials and product reviews. In a test earlier this year, 30% of viewers activated the AR experience in the YouTube iOS app and spent an average of more than 80 seconds virtually sampling multiple lipstick shades. The MAC try-on tool has a "Shop" button to let users make a direct purchase.
- LVMH's Guerlain tested out Google's new Swirl feature, an immersive format that lets users move 3D objects to see products from every angle on the mobile web. In addition, Google's new livestream format lets marketers run content created specifically for YouTube livestreams in display ads.
Google's new mobile formats aim to make its advertising more valuable for consumers by letting them engage with brands' products on the mobile web in more immersive ways, a vital move for Google's ad growth amid greater competition from popular apps such as games that vie for the attention of mobile users.
Google also wants to support the e-commerce efforts of its advertisers as the rivalry with Amazon heightens. The e-commerce giant has made a significant push into the digital ad market in the past two years with similar immersive ad formats. Amazon this month integrated L'Oréal's artificial intelligence (AI) technology for makeup try-ons, giving customers in the U.S. and Japan the chance to virtually test lipsticks before making a direct purchase. Google last month revamped Google Shopping to provide new ways to find and compare products from thousands of stores, and to buy them online, in a nearby store or directly through Google.
AR has become a key marketing tool for makeup brands like MAC and Guerlain as more consumers shop online and via smartphone while on the go. Direct-to-consumer hair color brand Madison Reed and Jerome Russell brand Punky Colour last year partnered with Perfect Corp. to show off their products to mobile users using similar AR trials. Perfect has also worked with Juicy Couture, Estée Lauder, Lancôme Paris, Maybelline and Flying Solo, among others, on AR beauty tools to enhance both in-store and at-home experimentation that aims to drive sales and spark consumers' greater confidence in beauty purchases.