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Augmented reality is coming to Facebook — in the form of advertisements

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Augmented reality is coming to Facebook, but perhaps not in the way that you would have wanted. The social media giant announced on Tuesday, July 10 that it has begun testing AR advertisements within its newsfeed in order to prepare for the quickly approaching holiday shopping season. Because nothing will convince you to make a purchase quite like seeing how it might serve you in real life, right?

The idea is that these new augmented reality ads will allow users to “interact” with a variety of different products. You’ll be able to try on a pair of sunglasses from Michael Kors, or a lipstick shade from Sephora, or even see how a new couch from Pottery Barn (yes, the company sells them) would fit in the corner of your living room. As it stands, Facebook says that pilot brand partners testing out the AR ads this summer include Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, and King.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has tested augmented reality in its advertising tactics. Previously, the social network placed these ads in its popular Messenger app, and reported that trial partners like Nike and Asus saw higher engagement from users who interacted with these AR experiences.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook’s global marketing solutions, told journalists on Tuesday morning that these sorts of advertisements allow companies to “bridge the gap” between online and offline shopping. “People traditionally have to go into stores to do this,” Ahmad-Taylor said, referring to trying on a pair of sunglasses. “People still really love that experience, but they would like to try it at home.” And these AR ads, Facebook believes, will help them do just that.

Luckily, Facebook doesn’t appear to be going terribly overboard with these ads (at least not yet). All of the trial ads presented at Facebook’s press event look like your standard Facebook ads at first, but if you click the “Tap to try it on” option, you’ll be greeted with their AR capabilities. And naturally, there is an easy click-to-buy functionality should you decide you enjoyed your experience enough to take the plunge.

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