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Smashbox Cosmetics / Eye Recommend

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

Make-up brand uses eye-tracking to boost in-app conversions by 27%

Smashbox, the US cosmetics brand that was spun out of a photography studio, is using eye-tracking to boost online sales.

Smashbox has an exclusive partnership with Modiface, an augmented reality company that’s dedicated to the cosmetics industry, which means it is the only brand available through the latter’s iOS and Android app, MakeUp.

The app, which has reportedly been downloaded nearly 50 million times, allows users to try on different makeup products virtually, using a selfie camera and augmented reality. The eye-tracking software, which only activates with the permission of the user, measures the parts of the screen that attract the most attention.

For Smashbox, this means that it can tell if a user has spent a long time looking at a shade of lipstick or eyeshadow and then prompt them with an ad or an invitation to look at the product in more detail.

According to Smashbox, this approach is more effective than blanket prompts for every product, and it claims that Modiface’s eye-tracking software has increased conversions on the MakeUp app by 27% in the two months that the technology has been in place.

This boost was discovered through a survey of 8,819 users of the mobile app. The users were separated into two groups: the first experienced the app with a call to action button placed permanently at the top of the screen, while the second group were only shown the button when they tried on a product, or read its name. The conversion rate for the first group was 6.7%; for the latter is was 7.9%.


Contagious Insight /

Targeted prompts / As ecommerce grows (one estimate predicts it will be worth more than £3.5tr ($4.55tr) by 2020, shopping on your mobile will become more sophisticated, as technology allows brands to incorporate the positive aspects of high-street shopping into apps and other channels. We discussed this in detail in our trend on Humanising Online Retail, and a more recent example of the advances in this area was an AI service from a retailer that connected to Pinterest, to allow users to shop for products based on an aesthetic.

Modiface’s eye-tracking is the online equivalent of a shop assistant who notices your interest in a product and tries to leverage it to make a sale. As the results from Smashbox indicate, this tailored approach to prompting purchases is more effective than a blanket bombardment. The eyetracking is also useful for refining the UX of an app, by showing which areas naturally draw the eye.

We first covered ModiFace in 2014, and discussed its Looking Glass app for brands.


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.

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