Beauty Brands Love Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is having a makeover moment, with more and more beauty brands turning to the tech to engage young consumers, show off their products—and reportedly boost sales as well…

This year, augmented reality is continuing to outshine virtual reality—between the face filters adopted by Instagram (clearly “inspired” by Snapchat), magic-sounding AR sans-goggles from Disney, and viral dancing hotdogs, it’s clear that brands and consumers alike are embracing the AR future wholeheartedly. But perhaps no industry is showing their love for augmented reality as much as the beauty business. Brand after brand are implementing AR apps and tools to engage young consumers, show off their products—and reportedly boost sales as well.

Snapchat has acted as a stepping stone for many, thanks to their lenses and many brand partnerships. Last June, L’Oreal launched their first makeup lens, which added cat-eye eyeliner, mascara, foundation, blush, and lip color to selfies. When a user raised their eyebrows, camera lights flashed around them, and the L’Oreal logo popped up. Urban Decay's Lens, which allowed users to "try on" multiple colors of lipstick, reportedly boosted engagement and sales for the brand. Both brands have since pushed further into AR territory with their own apps. Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick app allows fans to try on any color they wish before buying.

Sephora is especially betting big on AR to sell beauty products online. The retailer recently launched new augmented reality features to its mobile app which allow users to virtually try on products while learning the steps to perfecting looks. Meanwhile, their new concept store is putting a digital spin on makeup shopping for the Customization Nation with AI assistants to show before-and-after looks and provide digital skin care…

 
 

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Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

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