As Instagram shifts further into eCommerce, it's also looking to provide more advanced ad options, in order to help retailers maximize engagement and response.
And that includes AR functionality - as reported by Mashable, Instagram has now launched a new test of AR 'try on' ads with selected brands, through which users will be able to actively engage with the advertised product virtually and see how it looks.
As explained by Mashable:
"Beginning today, a handful of brands that sell their products directly on Instagram will be able to add a new augmented reality try-on feature to product pages. Initially, the new AR feature will be limited to cosmetics (Mac and Nars are early partners) and eyewear brands (Warby Parker and Ray-Ban), but Instagram plans to make it available for more products over time."
The feature is essentially an extension of Facebook's version of the same, which The Social Network also launched with selected brands last year.
Instagram's version, built on Facebook's Spark AR platform, looks a bit slicker and more refined, which likely comes from the extra time in development, but is also probably more of a requirement to fit into Instagram's aesthetic focus.
As noted, the new AR try on tools will be available via selected ads from the noted partners, and users will be able to share these experiences via Instagram Stories, helping to spread the word.
It's an interesting addition, particularly on Instagram, given the audience's interest in Stories and associated advanced visual tools. That could make it a great option for Instagram campaigns. It will require additional platform expertize to create such experiences, but you can imagine that they will prove popular, expanding your Instagram ad potential.
And as Instagram continues to evolve its eCommerce options, tools like this could help it boost its offerings. YouTube has a similar option, but it may put Instagram a step ahead of other competitors, particularly if it's able to provide simplified creation options that can make them more widely accessible to brands.