In the lead-up to the holiday season, Facebook announced on Tuesday it is testing a new ad format that enables consumers to use their camera to interact with an augmented reality tool. Advertisers can leverage the ad format for a host of functions, such as allowing consumers to virtually try on a pair of sunglasses or lipstick shade. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. is the first retailer to test the mobile news feed ads, which Facebook Inc. calls AR ads. The retailer, No. 295 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, uses the ad format to let a shopper try on a pair of sunglasses. She can then tap a Shop Now button that will take her to the retailer’s e-commerce site where she can buy the sunglasses. Other retailers, including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE-owned Sephora, No. 131, plan to begin testing AR ads this summer before Facebook rolls out ads more broadly later in the year.

Facebook’s offering of an augmented reality ad format comes at a time when consumers’ interest in the technology is rapidly growing. For instance, 53.2% of consumers were interested in using augmented reality within the next six months, according to a June Internet Retailer consumer survey. That’s a 9.6 percentage point increase from 43.6% of consumers expressing an interest in the technology six months earlier.

Facebook on Tuesday also announced it is testing a video creation kit that enables retailers to upload images and add overlays and logos to build mobile-first video ads. The social network aims to offer the tool to all advertisers next month for ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

Weight loss program Noom Inc., which is one of the advertisers that has tested the video creation kit, says the tool enabled it to “quickly and efficiently” scale its video efforts on Facebook, says Sam Wheatley, director of growth marketing at Noom. “Using the video creation kit we were able to upload existing static assets and turn them into mobile-optimized videos through the use of Facebook’s ready-to-use templates.” The videos created using the toolkit resulted in a 77% increase in performance compared to the original static assets that ran on Facebook.

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Amin Lalani is a subject matter specialist in Internet Retailer with several articles and research paper published so far. He has done M.Phil from IoBM in Marketing with emphasis on Internet Retailing. Besides academia he has various other certification like SAP, Google Analytic, Microsoft Small Business Solution Provider and more.

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