Sephora ran augmented reality ads featuring beauty creators on Instagram that were aimed at helping Gen Z audiences “find their fragrance vibe” and saw a 3.6-point lift in message association.

Prestige global beauty retailer

A leader in omnichannel retail, Sephora’s stated mission is to create a welcoming shopping experience for the beauty community and curate brands and products across categories. The company offers its own makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance and beauty tools and accessories under the brand name Sephora Collection.


lift in message association (associates the Sephora brand with fragrance) against key competitors


lift in brand awareness

We are proud of the results we saw with the “Find your Fragrance Vibe” augmented reality ad campaign on Instagram. It helped us engage and connect with Gen Z audiences in an innovative way that also leveraged our diverse set of Sephora Squad creators to promote the experience authentically.
Acquiring new Gen Z customers

Sephora wanted to test an appealing new ad format to acquire and engage with new customers and drive awareness and message association between Sephora and the fragrance category.

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Finding a vibe with augmented reality ads

Sephora wanted to use a fun, interactive ad format that would prompt consumers to spend more time engaging with the brand on social media, as well as boost association of the brand within the fragrance category. The retailer was excited to experiment with augmented reality ads to test if they would resonate strongly with consumers—especially Gen Z audiences—and drive the desired results.

Since 2019, Sephora has cultivated an inclusive group of beauty creators, influencers and enthusiasts through its “Sephora Squad” program, which draws upon their diverse audiences, expertise and authentic stories. Sephora needed to convey a complex message for its campaign—the novel theme of trying fragrance virtually—so the team tapped the Sephora Squad to create video assets for augmented reality ads.

Each ad featured one of the creators and included the text overlay: “Find your fragrance vibe based on your aura. Press your thumb to start.” After the ad viewer pressed their thumb on the Try in Camera button, the camera opened on the viewer’s mobile device and loaded the augmented reality effects filter.

Sephora partnered with augmented reality producer and agency Simone to create the augmented reality effect filter, which incorporated haptic feedback technology that transmits vibrations to create a “surprise and delight” moment for consumers trying the effect. A text overlay then presented the viewer’s vibe and an associated Sephora fragrance that matched that vibe. Examples included: “Your vibe is Confident – Warm Woodsy fragrance” or “Your vibe is Charming – Fresh Floral fragrance.” People could then click to Sephora’s website to purchase a fragrance associated with their specific AR fragrance vibe.

Sephora delivered the augmented reality ads to a broad audience of US adults aged 18 and over in Instagram feed, Stories and Reels, and delivered additional ads to people who showed interest in the brand by interacting with the ads.

Sephora measured the campaign that ran from March 3–31, 2023 by using a Meta brand lift study, which revealed:

  • 3.6-point lift in message association (associates the Sephora brand with fragrance) against key competitors
  • 2-point lift in brand awareness
Create Ad
The augmented reality ad campaign was one of our most engaging formats in terms of time spent and it was an effective tool to drive meaningful reach. We were one of the first to test augmented reality in Reels and it offered up additional efficiency with the additional placement.