QR codes. We’ve all seen them on signs, in magazines, in retail stores and of course on the web. By now most of us marketers are familiar with them (if not, here’s a run down: a QR (“quick response”) code is a specific matrix barcode that is readable by smartphones. In a nutshell, you would select your QR code reader app and “scan” the QR code to be taken to more information about a certain products, promotion or campaign.)
Some reports say that QR codes aren’t going to last because of the extra steps required by the user for these codes to work. However, according to the numbers, QR codes aren’t disappearing anytime soon. ComScore reports that 20 million people scanned a QR code during October 2011 alone and 59% were scanned at home, meaning codes in print materials and product packaging are drawing attention. Print advertisers and publishers are using QR codes more frequently with a 617% growth from January 2011 to December 2011 in top 100 magazines. Has your brand used QR codes in print materials yet?
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider using QR codes:
- Creating QR codes
It’s not difficult to locate a QR code generator. What should be remembered is what you input to generate your code. If you’re directing people to a URL; make sure the site loads properly. Also make sure your site loads successfully on mobile devices.
- Distributing QR codes
Remember that someone needs to scan your QR code in order to get the information you are trying to send them. Make sure your code is displayed properly and at the correct size. QR code scanners can be fickle; don’t create extra hassle for users by squeezing the codes in corners or bended areas.
- User Experience with QR codes
When marketing your QR code, keep the user experience in mind. The stand-alone image of a QR code doesn’t usually entice a person. Include a brief introduction, directions for scanning, and what the user can expect to see after they scan the code. Most importantly, include an incentive for making the effort of scanning the code – such as sweepstakes entries, rewards points, coupons, or exclusive content.
What do you think: are QR codes here to stay or on the decline?