Virtual beauty: YouTube expands AR Beauty Try-On to smartphone ads

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

YouTube says the ad Beauty Try-On feature offers beauty brands a chance to engage with 2 billion monthly active users (Getty Images)
YouTube says the ad Beauty Try-On feature offers beauty brands a chance to engage with 2 billion monthly active users (Getty Images)

Related tags: Youtube, Google, AR, digital, Virtual reality, Lipstick, make-up

YouTube has taken its AR Beauty Try-On feature up a development notch, launching an open beta version for use in smartphone ads, enabling beauty brands to fire-up make-up engagement further.

AR Beauty Try-On – an augmented reality feature enabling consumers to virtually try on make-up, currently just lipstick – was initially made available through an early development alpha phase in June this year,​ on Google’s in-house branded content platform FameBit by YouTube.

But yesterday, YouTube announced it would roll-out a global beta version of AR Beauty Try-On for its video discovery ads and homepage billboard slot, functioning across IOS and Android and enabling consumers to ‘try on’ lipstick products using front-facing smartphone cameras.

Access to 2 billion monthly active users

“Using this new AR feature, beauty brands will be able to offer realistic, virtual product samples that work on a full range of skin tones, to YouTube’s two billion monthly active users (…) and measure their engagement,”​ the video-sharing major said.

“The Masthead and Trueview Discovery video ads represent a unique opportunity for advertisers to showcase their brands in the YouTube home feed across devices.” 


Once viewers tapped on the homepage billboard or discovery ads, it said they then entered a ‘watch page’ that enabled them to virtually test lipstick shades to their skin tone and facial features, able to then also directly purchase the products from the video. 

NARS sign up already

French cosmetic firm NARS had already signed up to use the feature, YouTube said.

“As one of the first brands to run TrueView Discovery video and Masthead ads with the Beauty Try-On feature, NARS has reached over 20 million people to-date in the US, UK, Canada and Australia who, on average, have tried on more than two-thirds of the 24 lipstick shades featured. That’s over half a million shades in total tried on to-date.”

Earlier this year, Estée Lauder’s colour cosmetics brand MAC was the first beauty major to partner with YouTube on the AR Beauty Try-On feature through FameBit, running influencer campaigns that enabled viewers to try on the same lipstick shades as their favourite content creator.

At this developmental stage, YouTube had said: “We think [it will] help brands and advertisers make content more engaging, educational, and ultimately effective in driving purchase decisions.”

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