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Facebook introduces augmented reality ads to user’s feed

Facebook AR ads

Facebook is testing augmented reality ads that will allow users to try on products virtually directly from their news feeds, in another competitive move with Snapchat.

Announced at a Facebook holiday shopping event in New York on Tuesday (July 10), this is an indication that the social media platform is further investigating tools to harness the user’s smartphone camera.

“Better marketing equals better shopping,” said Ty Ahmad-Taylor, VP of product marketing at Facebook. “You connect with [customers] in a way that’s unusual and new, and you can deliver messages to them in a format they want to accept.”

Currently trialling in the US throughout the summer, brands such as Michael Kors, Bobbi Brown, Wayfair and Sephora are already on board. The Michael Kors advert, for example, allows users to tap a visual to virtually try on sunglasses; meanwhile, homewares brand Wayfair allows the user to tap to visualize a piece of furniture in their home.

In May, Facebook announced an augmented reality capability on Messenger that allows brands to speak to users in a more experiential manner. Nike, for instance, trialled the feature via its SNKRS chatbot to unlock an AR experience where users could buy limited edition shoes. The launch of AR-enabled advertising is a natural progression for the platform, who in 2016 bought AR face filter app MSQRD.

Meanwhile, other social media platforms where visuals are a pivotal part of the user experience, have also been quick to harness the potential of AR. Snapchat has recently also teamed up with Nike to offer an AR experience that was geo-fenced and allowed users to buy limited edition shoes (which sold out in 23 minutes).

Instagram however is evolving its booming Stories feature – which as of May 2018 had 150m daily active users – to allow brands that are advertising to add stickers that click through to e-commerce pages. As users migrate from Snapchat‘s ephemeral experience to the very similar functionality found on Instagram Stories, AR will undoubtedly play a very important role in how the popular feature evolves.

As technologies such as augmented reality and image recognition mature, social media platforms are going to continue to fight for an ever bigger slice of its users’ mobile behaviors – in this case, the smartphone camera.

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mobile social media technology

Rimmel launches augmented reality make-up try-on via Facebook Stories

Rimmel London's new augmented reality effects on Facebook
Rimmel London’s new augmented reality effects on Facebook

Rimmel London has teamed up with digital studio Holition to create a series of live augmented reality make-up filters using Facebook’s new Camera Effects platform.

Users can cycle through four key looks simply by saying “wow” before snapping and sharing them via Facebook Stories, Facebook Live and on their timelines.

The aim is to give consumers inspirational and seamless ways to experience make-up, according to the brand, making it even easier for them to pick out shades and styles that best suit their features and complexion.

Fred Gerantabee, global VP of digital innovation at Coty, which owns Rimmel London, said: “Coty is focused on continuous digital transformation of our brands to ensure we are continuing to exceed consumers’ needs. We have always placed importance and tremendous value around augmented reality and virtual try-on tools across our brands, including Rimmel, Sally Hansen and Clairol, and it made perfect sense to bring that same excitement and exploration to the world’s most ubiquitous platform – Facebook – in a way that’s perpetual, and scalable.

“For Coty this isn’t a ‘one day only’ deal – we aim to make beauty exploration and sharing new looks a central part of Facebook users’ daily interaction with and enjoyment of the platform. The new in-app camera gives us an exciting way to do exactly that.”

It’s made possible by the fact Facebook recently opened its Camera Effects API to a closed beta group of developers, of which Holiton was one.

Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition, said: “Our partnership with Coty/Rimmel London has highlighted an exciting breakthrough as it demonstrates how the hyper speed ‘EdgeYourLook’ app can harness the scale of augmented reality for Facebook’s two billion users. As one of the early pioneers in augmented reality we are always searching for new ways for more people to experience its sheer fun and playfulness”.

The move follows an earlier partnership between Rimmel and Holition, which saw a Get the Look app created to enable users to nab real-life make-up looks, whether from friends or celebrities, to try on themselves. The benefit of using Facebook lies in reducing the barrier to entry for consumers; enabling them to experience AR via a platform they already use rather than inviting them to download another app.

As Digiday explains, for the brand, creating the filters is also free at this point, which is not only cheaper than creating an app, but also provides an opportunity up against Snapchat where similar effects are both expensive and only run for a few days.

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e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Amazon steps into the fashion selfie game with Echo Look device

The new Amazon Echo Look
The new Amazon Echo Look

Amazon is expanding AI assistant Alexa’s capabilities with a new standalone selfie camera, designed to give users fashion tips and advice on what to wear.

Echo Look, as the device is called, follows in the footsteps of the main Amazon Echo voice-controlled gadget, of which more than 10 million have reportedly sold.

This new hands-free camera version offers many of the same functionalities as the original, but also comes with four LED lights, a depth-sensing system and a background blurring effect, all in a bid to give users the perfect full-length shot of what they’re wearing. It also takes videos and can automatically share such looks on your own or a friend’s phone.


More than just being a means of seeing what you look like however, the device also comes with a service called “Style Check”, which uses machine learning to compare different outfits and advise on the best choice based on trends and what flatters you.

The write-up reads: “Style Check keeps your look on point using advanced machine-learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists. Submit two photos for a second opinion on which outfit looks best on you based on fit, colour, styling and current trends.”

As with most AI, the intention is that the service gets smarter the more people use it. It additionally will help users create a personal look book by saving all their previous outfits – what they wore and when.

Amazon's Echo Look can give outfit advice through its Style Check feature
Amazon’s Echo Look can give outfit advice through its Style Check feature

It comes of course at a time when Amazon is increasingly trying to shift into the fashion space. As Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at e-commerce solutions provider, Salmon, comments: “It doesn’t take too much imagination to realise that this in turn will enable Amazon to promote products sold through its platform, and even its own clothing ranges – thereby locking customers into a relationship with Amazon. Existing retailers need to be aware of Amazon’s aggressive horizontal expansion and its innovative invention of new routes to market. While many retailers are still struggling with establishing omnichannel strategies, Amazon is taking omnichannel innovations to the next level.”

Voice is one particular area that will continue to see growth in terms of how consumers discover product too. According to Mary Meeker of KPCB, half of all web searches will use voice or image search rather than text by 2020. “More efficient and often more convenient than typing, voice-based interfaces are ramping quickly and creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction,” she said last year.

The Echo Look device retails for $199.99, though is not yet available to the public.

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What you missed: Snapchat’s spectacles, driving see-now buy-now sales, Cartier’s sponsored content

Snapchat spectacles
Snapchat spectacles

It might have been Milan Fashion Week, but the majority of musing worth knowing about in the digital space this past week surrounds the launch of Snapchat’s (now Snap Inc’s) new camera glasses. On top of that has been everything from whether see-now, buy-now fashion week shows are actually driving sales, the fact McQueen and Chanel top a new CoolBrands list, and why LVMH’s digital drive is taking time despite its big Apple hire. Read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know…


TOP STORIES
  • Why Snapchat’s spectacles can succeed where Google Glass failed [AdAge]
  • Are ‘see now, buy now’ shows driving sales? [BoF]
  • Neiman Marcus is encouraging brands to adopt ‘see-now, buy-now’ strategy [Fashionista]
  • Alexander McQueen and Chanel make top 20 global CoolBrands list [The Industry]
  • Inside Cartier’s sponsored content strategy [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • LVMH’s digital drive takes time despite Apple hire [Reuters]
  • Adidas and Under Armour are challenging Nike like never before [Business Insider]
  • Tiffany proposes growth through engagement in the digital age [BrandChannel]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • YSL Beauté reveals first ever UK Snapchat lens [The Industry]
  • Adidas claims retention on Snapchat is ‘insane’ compared to YouTube [The Drum]
  • Teens talk Instagram beauty influencers and what makes them buy [Racked]
  • Here’s how much engagement brands got from back-to-school social posts [AdWeek]
  • Google launches messaging app with chatbot [Campaign]
  • Branded emojis coming to messaging apps [WSJ]

MARKETING
  • Gap teams up with Mr Black to raise awareness for denim care [Fashion United]
  • Bobbi Brown initiates mobile makeovers with Uber [WWD]

RETAIL
  • How designer Rebecca Minkoff uses technology to create a better shopping experience [The Street]
  • BHS to launch online a month after last store closed [Guardian]
  • Zara fashions an expanded online growth strategy [BrandChannel]

TECHNOLOGY
  • The secret lab where Nike invented the power-lacing shoe of our dreams [Wired]
  • No. 21 Sends shoes that glow in the dark down the Milan Fashion Week runway [Footwear News]

START-UPS
  • Carmen Busquets, fashion e-commerce’s fairy godmother [NY Times]
  • Where is the Uber of fashion? [Forbes]