Clearly eyes the opportunities in shoppable Facebook ads

Try then buy a reality for online eyewear platform through its partnership with Facebook and augmented reality try-on service

Online eyewear platform, Clearly, has embraced augmented reality (AR) Facebook advertising, claiming a first for shoppable ads with virtual try-on features on the social platform.

Clearly worked directly with Facebook on developing the technology for this initiative. Users who are targeted with the Clearly advertisement tap the image to launch a live AR try-on of frames, all within their Facebook feed. A user who enables their smartphone camera can see in real-time what a pair of glasses looks like on their face, and if they like the product, click through to the Clearly site to buy the frames or view more frames.

Clearly general manager, Duncan Brett, explained to CMO the virtual try-on technology is already used on its website, so it was a natural extension to adopt it on Facebook and also gain an opportunity to grow awareness of the pure-play online brand.

“The number one barrier to buying eyewear online is style and fit,” he said. “We deployed the virtual try-on technology on the website, because from all the research we've done, customers tell us the number one barrier to buying glasses online is style and fit.”

Clearly's AR-based adCredit: Clearly
Clearly's AR-based ad


Being an online-only business in the eyewear market, this presents a set of natural challenges. Yet, Brett explained, it has also focused the business on the opportunities in this space. Having launched AR try-on last year on its owned digital platform, it quickly found the service resonating with consumers.

“We know virtual try-on helps remove barriers in optical online. So we started looking at how do we get more awareness of the technology, and how do we make people aware. Because unless you come to the site, you won't be aware of it,” he said.

“By removing barriers for online optical purchases and turning the AR tool into an ad, we’re now able to reach potential customers who may not have known that virtually trying on before you buy is even an option.”

At a time of heightened focus on privacy, particularly in relation to Facebook, Brett stressed to CMO the company is mindful of this and noted the ads don’t capture any personal information.

“We're working closely with Facebook to allow people to use this technology and make that purchase of glasses easier. So there's no question that we use this data for any other purpose; the videos and the images aren't saved, for example,” he said.

While Facebook announced shoppable AR-powered ads with VTO features in 2018, Clearly is the first Australian brand to use the format. The company was born, and is headquartered in Canada, although it has an Australian office. And while the country might lag behind Europe and the US in terms of embracing eyewear purchase online, Brett was confident in an overall local marketing strategy that revolved around removing barriers to online.

“We know glasses and frames in Australia is a huge market. We know there was a major barrier to buying them online, which is style and fit, and what we're doing is bringing in some new technology to try and help consumers make that decision,” he added.

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