Earlier this year Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced that it was re-evaluating its $10bn ad budget to focus more on digital.
As part of its new strategy it has launched a Beauty Recommended app that is essentially a condensed version of its existing online magazine.
The app, which was developed by Grapple, offers beauty tips and trends, recommendations from make up artists and competitions. It also includes three tours of central London.
P&G calls Beauty Recommended its "breakthrough beauty app", but is it any good?
Presumably to cater for the huge number of tourists expected in London this summer, the app offers tours of the London Portrait Gallery and central London’s beauty spots and shops.
All three tours include an interactive map and a voiceover to give the user more information about each stop.
Admittedly the ‘Beauty of London’ isn’t aimed at my demographic, but I think its appeal may also be limited among young women.
For a tour that claims to reveal “London’s hidden beauty secrets”, it rather loses credibility when the voiceover directs you to “one of my favourite beauty shops - Superdrug”.
The other two are more interesting, particularly the Portrait Gallery tour which gives details on a number of paintings.
However it seems a strange fit when compared to the fashion and beauty tours.
This tab looks good and is easy to navigate, but the content is severely lacking.
There are four options which each only take a few minutes to read or watch. This is obviously perfect for mobile users with short attention spans, but as the content is only updated monthly it may mean that users simply forget about the app.
Similarly, you can’t actually buy any of the products used in the demos, though this function will be added at a later date.
This tab provides tips on hair, make up, skin and body, with different sections depending on your age group.
There’s quite a lot of content in this tab, and it seems for that reason it needs 3G or WiFi to access it. However you can save your favourite beauty tips to view offline.
Again, none of the products can be bought through the app.
The fourth tab is self explanatory, and is essentially a data capture tool for P&G.
As well as entering the competition, if users register their details they can get access to free samples and reminders when new content comes out.
Strangely though, it says: “This on trend pair of 60’s style Ray-Bans is up for grabs,” but doesn’t actually show any images of the prize.
While this app looks great, it is fairly basic and isn’t updated enough to keep users engaged.
The tours are interesting and the interactive map means they are simple to follow, but presumably they are aimed at tourists who probably won’t have 3G access in the UK.
However, its major failing is that it isn’t yet transactional. While later updates will allow users to buy the products shown in the beauty tips and guides, it’s a glaring omission at this stage.
For a first attempt this isn’t a bad effort, but I think P&G will need to offer users more frequent updates and more content to make sure people want to use it more than once.