Rasha El Ghoussaini, Group Vertical Lead at Snap Inc. in the Middle East, on how AR is literally changing the face of the beauty industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has — for better or worse — radically changed the way consumers in the region are shopping. This is especially the case in the beauty and cosmetics sector. Many consumers are not currently able to receive the in-store shopping experience they once had. Thankfully, today’s creative technologies offer a solution.
Last year in particular, businesses across the sector have doubled down on their digital transformation efforts. More and more beauty brands have gone online to reach their customers. While e-commerce services have been one part of that transition, mobile-led augmented reality (AR) tools have now become a pillar of successful consumer engagement in the region’s beauty industry.
Today’s AR capabilities can bridge the gap in a beauty brand’s online and offline offerings, enabling real interaction with their consumers in a fun, personalized, and meaningful way. Through the use of AR Lenses, customers can virtually try on new beauty products in real time from the comfort and safety of their own homes. We have seen this approach succeed time and again on Snapchat, driven by the reach and scaled engagement of our community through the power of AR.
In one such campaign, Make Up For Ever developed an AR product trial lens experience for the launch of its new lipstick range that delivered exceptional levels of awareness and sales. In the UAE and Kuwait, the lens delivered remarkable results of +9% lift in action intent and +9% in brand favorability, showing the brand’s success in engaging users. In Saudi Arabia, exposure to the lens resulted in a cost-effective $0.36 cost per influenced person. This success also translated into footfall to Sephora Stores as the Lens converted >1.2K Sephora customers offline. With the addition of video ads, Snapchat’s gamified lens experience contributed to a sellout growth of +43% YOY at Sephora and +116% growth in the lips category.
In addition to its creative potential, beauty brands are also able to connect with unique, attentive audiences when investing in mobile AR on platforms like Snapchat. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, almost 50% of Snapchatters are female. Over 50% of Snapchat’s female audience are beauty mavens who interact with beauty content regularly, and 80% of female Snapchatters in places like KSA interact with AR experiences every month.
What this tells us is that the pivot towards creative, camera-led, mobile-first engagement in the region’s beauty sector is here to stay. Even as the region eventually recovers from the pandemic, consumer behavior has fundamentally changed, and there’s no going back. Brands at the forefront of the beauty sector have proven it is possible to evolve and even improve the customer experience by looking for innovative new ways to engage them. Moreover, it is now becoming easier and more efficient to develop quality AR experiences that facilitate virtual try-ons, and much more. As creative technologies like AR are applied at scale, the region’s beauty brands can provide a new level of utility that allows people to try and purchase their favorite beauty products.