You’ll soon be able to try on sunglasses and buy them without ever leaving your Facebook app.
The social media company announced Tuesday that it’s beginning to test augmented reality advertisements in the News Feed.
For the uninitiated, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital images onto real world objects. For example, when people play Pokemon Go on their smartphone, the technology that visually superimposes Pokemon on their street corner is considered AR.
Michael Kors will be the first brand to give Facebook’s AR ads in News Feeds a test drive. The AR experience allows users to try on a pair of glasses, change the product color, and make a purchase right inside the Facebook app.
In future trial runs this summer, Facebook is working with companies to produce a wide variety of AR ads that will include fashion accessories, cosmetics, furniture, gaming, and entertainment.
Some of the brands Facebook has announced for this first wave of AR advertisements includes Sephora, Wayfair, Bobbi Brown, and Pottery Barn. For now, the test run of these ads are only being rolled out to users in the U.S.
This isn’t Facebook’s first big push into AR, either. The company acquired the face-swapping selfie-filter app MSQRD in 2016. Since then, Facebook has been rolling out AR features across Facebook’s various platforms.
In May, Facebook Messenger launched an AR feature for brands. In today’s official announcement for AR ads in the News Feeds, Facebook referred to Nike, ASUS, and KIA as some of the businesses who’ve found success using AR for Messenger.
Facebook’s vice president of product marketing at its global marketing solutions department, Ty Ahmad-Taylor, provided the following statement:
“People now expect a personalized and visually inspiring experience wherever they shop — whether on their phone or in-store, which is why video will play an increasingly important role in the mobile shopping experience. In fact, we’re already seeing video become the preferred medium for product discovery on mobile. As retailers prepare for their biggest shopping season the year, we’re excited to introduce new products that will help them both delight and inspire shoppers, and ultimately drive sales.”
In a response to an inquiry by Mashable, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that users must choose to experience the camera effects when an AR ad shows up in their feed. For example, in the Michael Kors AR News Feed ad, a person must “tap to try on” before their camera is activated within the ad.
Boston Consulting Group estimates that over 80 million people in the US currently interact with AR each month. By 2021, the consulting firm expects this number to grow to more than 120 million.