After building a tech empire on revenues from search advertising, Google is not about to sit back and let Snapchat, Facebook, 8th Wall, and others draw all the AR marketing attention to their platforms.
This week, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (basically the Oscars plus SXSW of the marketing industry), Google unveiled a trio of new immersive advertising products with appeal to consumer brands.
First up, Google is bringing a virtual makeup feature, dubbed AR Beauty Try-On, to creators and cosmetics brands on YouTube, where makeup tutorials are a big deal.
Currently in alpha, AR Beauty Try-On gives viewers the opportunity to try on virtual shades of makeup a la Modiface and YouCam.
Google's platform for branded content, Famebit by YouTube, will handle provisioning of the tool to brands and creators. Mac Cosmetics is acting as the guinea pig for the tool as the first brand to launch a campaign with AR Beauty Try-On.
"We tested this experience earlier this year with several beauty brands and found that 30 percent of viewers activated the AR experience in the YouTube iOS app, spending over 80 seconds on average trying on lipstick virtually," said Aaron Luber, head of branded experiences for AR & VR at Google, in a blog post.
Next up, Google has created a new ad unit for interactive 3D content called Swirl. Using common 3D file formats for 3D content (including glTF, which is used in ARCore's Scene Viewer component for Search and web-based AR), Swirl enables consumers to play with 3D content directly in their browsers.
Along with Swirl, Google has added a 3D editor to Poly, its library for licensed 3D objects, so that users can revise and enhance their content for their Swirl ads. With the editor, users can modify animations, swap out backgrounds, and add reflections.
Google has begun to insert augmented reality into more and more of its products, such as Search, Maps, and Android. While the company is sticking with enterprise companies on the smartglasses front (for now), the company is no longer shying away from putting AR in front of consumers.
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