- L'Oréal partnered with Facebook to let the social media giant's users try on virtual makeup samples through augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital images on a real background through a smartphone camera. The company's NYX Professional Makeup line will be the first to showcase its products on Facebook's camera later this month, according to a statement.
- The collaboration follows L'Oréal's acquisition of AR beauty tech startup Modiface, whose software lets consumers transform a 3D image of their face in real time as they virtually try on different kinds of lipstick, blush and eyeshadow.
- The acquisition marked the first time L'Oréal bought a tech company after years of buying other brands like Redken, Kiehl's and Urban Decay.
Major beauty brands have added AR to their marketing mix to engage consumers through mobile tech, promote new products and drive online sales of products that typically require physical try-ons and sampling. By partnering with Facebook, L'Oréal could see an uptick in engagement, as Facebook reaches around 2.2 billion users.
L'Oréal is among the brands that see value in AR demonstrations, as its acquisition of tech firm Modiface indicates. Modiface once provided the AR experiences for 84 different beauty brands, making it the common denominator among cosmetics companies that wanted to showcase their products with virtual tutorials. Before its acquisition, Modiface worked with some of L'Oréal's biggest competitors. Since the acquisition, Modiface can exclusively provide tech services to L'Oréal's brands, pointing to how the beauty giant is doubling down on tech to appeal to younger, more tech-savvy consumers and remain a top-of-mind innovator in the crowded beauty space.
Now, Facebook can help to customize L'Oréal's AR experiences given its vast data archives of user product preferences, tastes and spending habits based on the brands they follow and the photographs they post. Facebook's computer vision technology can help analyze those pictures and identify audience groups to target with ads and experiences. The AR ads on the social platform will likely help L'Oréal evolve its e-commerce strategies and pursue new mediums to advertise products and alleviate friction in consumers' browsing and buying process on mobile.