YouTube rolls out augmented reality for viewers to virtually try on makeup

Key Points
  • YouTube will allow viewers to virtually try on makeup using an augmented reality program called AR Beauty Try-On.
  • MAC Cosmetics is the first company to launch a campaign.
  • The program is headed by Google's in-house branded content platform FameBit.
Young shoppers browse makeup products at an Estee Lauder MAC Cosmetics store.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google-owned YouTube announced on Tuesday that it will begin using augmented reality to allow viewers to try on makeup as they're watching videos.

With AR Beauty Try-On, a viewer can see how a shade of lipstick looks on themselves while watching their favorite creator review it or explain how to apply it, for instance. They can then click through to purchase the product.

MAC Cosmetics, owned by Estee Lauder, is the first company to launch a campaign by partnering with Google's in-house branded content platform FameBit.

animated makeup tutorial
Source: Googl

"YouTube has a big community of bloggers and audience, so definitely this will help companies increase their sales and engagement," said Eleftheria Kouri, an AR analyst at tech advisory ABI Research.

Because of consumers' curiosity with AR as a new technology, they will spend more time virtually trying on the product with the guidance of a YouTuber they trust, and will be more likely to purchase the product, Kouri said.

In testing, 30% of users chose to try the AR experience and spent an average of over 80 seconds trying on the lipstick, YouTube said in a statement.

With this move, YouTube is joining a host of e-commerce and makeup companies that have been using AR to enhance customers' experiences.

Amazon, for example, announced earlier this month that it would partner with L'Oréal to allow shoppers on mobile phones to virtually try on makeup before buying. Last year, L'Oréal acquired ModiFace, a leading AR company in the cosmetics industry. In November, Ulta Beauty acquired AR startups QM Scientific and GlamST.