- Cosmetics brand Physicians Formula partnered with startup FaceCake Marketing Technologies on banner ads that demonstrate its beauty products through augmented reality (AR). Physicians Formula is running the ads on websites such as SheKnows Media, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The ads work with a mobile or web camera, or by uploading a saved photo. Viewers can virtually sample the makeup to see how they might look wearing products that aren't available for actual samples in mass retailers like Walmart, CVS or Walgreens, per Glossy. Viewers can then purchase the virtually sampled products directly from the banner ad.
- Physicians Formula, owned by Markwins International, will run the AR ads through the end of next month after launching the campaign on August 23.
Physicians Formula's AR ad campaign is another example of how beauty brands are turning to mobile technologies to emulate the in-store experience for product demonstrations. Immersive banners are becoming increasingly common as marketers seek to capture viewer attention with more engaging and interactive experiences. Web-based or app-agnostic mobile AR campaigns also have advantages such as cost-effectiveness and bigger reach than running campaigns on a single platform like Instagram or Snapchat, which also offer AR ad formats. By targeting and meeting people on the sites they already use, Physicians Formula is bringing the immersive feature to potential customers without requiring they download and open a dedicated app.
FaceCake's AR ads have 10 times the engagement of the average rich-media ad, which typically lasts for 13 seconds, according to Google data cited by Glossy. FaceCake AR ads have seven times the click-through rate (CTR) of the industry average, which stands at 0.80%, per AppNexus and Google. The CTR for banner ads among all ad formats and placements is even less at 0.05%, Smart Insights found, highlighting a potential challenge for Physicians Formula. However, adding AR into the mix could elevate these numbers for the cosmetics brand. Immersive ads help to boost the average size of an online shopping basket by 20% and even more for smaller brands that consumers discover online, FaceCake's CEO Linda Smith told Glossy.
FaceCake's AR banners for Physicians Formula follow its introduction in May of Dangle AR, an iOS mobile app for jewelry. Dangle lets mobile users try on virtual earrings to match their personal styles using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for sizing and placement.
Physicians Formula isn't the first brand to try on AR banner ads for size. Last year, Universal Pictures partnered with ad tech firm OmniVirt to promote the "Pitch Perfect 3" premiere with AR banner ads. The ads worked on websites without requiring viewers to download a separate app. Toyota, Clorox, Samsung, Chevron and Johnnie Walker are among the other major brands that have used AR banner ads for marketing campaigns.