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Credit by Sarah Perez

Makeup tutorials and reviews are some of the most popular content on YouTube, as they help people learn about new products as well as how to apply them. YouTube is now kicking that experience up a notch with the introduction of a new AR feature for virtual makeup try-on right from the YouTube app. Called AR Beauty Try-On, the feature is designed to be used in a split-screen experience while YouTube viewers watch the makeup tutorial.

When available, the YouTube makeup review or tutorial video plays at the top of the screen, with a stream from your own front-facing camera below. Here, a YouTube viewer could access a palate of colors — like new lipstick shades, for example — and tap to apply them to their own face while the video plays above.

YouTube says it already tested AR Beauty Try-On with several beauty brands, and found that 30% of viewers chose to activate the experience when it was available in the YouTube iOS app. While that’s not a majority by any means, those who did try the feature were fairly engaged, spending more than 80 seconds trying on the virtual lipstick shades.

M·A·C Cosmetics is the first brand to launch an AR Beauty Try-On campaign, which includes the ability for the brand to see real-time results from the try-on activity.

AR Beauty Try-On is the latest of several AR initiatives from Google, including also the recent launch of AR in Google Search and updates to its developer platform ARCore.

However, Google is not the first to offer a virtual makeup try-on experience. Beyond the fun makeup filters in various social networking apps, there are a number of AR beauty apps offering a similar experience to YouTube’s AR Beauty Try-On, including YouCam Makeup, Sephora’s Virtual Artist, Ulta’s GLAMLab and others. L’Oréal also offers Live Try-On on its website, and partnered with Facebook last year to bring virtual makeup to the site. 

The AR ad format launch is one of several new ad products Google announced today.

The company is also introducing a new immersive display format called Swirl for the mobile web that lets consumers view products in a 360 format. Swirl allows for rotating a product, zooming in and out, or playing an animation.

The format is only available through Display and Video 360, says Google. Brands will be able to use a new editor on Google’s 3D platform Poly to create their Swirl display ads. If they already have 3D assets, they can build a Swirl ad using the 3D/Swirl component in Google Web Designer instead..

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