QR codes – dead? Or marketing genius?
What is a QR Code?
QR codes (quick response codes) are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be read with mobile devices. QR codes are often used as a mobile marketing strategy, as the code can lead the scanner to a link, website, phone number, email or even text message.
Where are they used?
QR codes have been used extensively in Japan and in other eastern nations, and they are being used more frequently in western marketing. QR codes are a mobile marketing goldmine, because users engage with the code and have access to instant information; for example, a URL to a website. QR codes are also used for information and data gathering purposes, including product tracking and document management.
Are they effective?
QR codes were developed in the 90s for use within the automotive industry. The beauty of QR codes was quickly realised by marketing experts, as QR codes are efficient. With one click, you can take a potential customer anywhere. You can fit a QR code on a business card or on a billboard, and anyone who scans the code will see the information you want them to see over their mobile data network. The efficiency of QR codes to deliver quantities of information with such speed is at the heart of the argument of whether they are effective.
Should we use them?
QR codes are effective because they engage with a user on a psychological level. You can’t scan the code with your eyes and understand the message. You need to want to see what happens with the code, get out your phone, and go where the marketing team want you to go. From confectionery packets with QR codes that allow interactive and fun animations, to codes on bills that make life convenient for users, QR codes are everywhere.
Or are QR codes dead?
Marketing professionals love to argue whether a technology has become out-dated. This technology was invented in the 90s, before smartphones had the power and prevalence they do now. Of course, with any technology that has existed for so long without widespread use, you have to ask yourself whether the technology is dead. With QR codes, the prevalence of their use is actually growing. It’s been a slow ride, because mobile technologies weren’t advanced enough when they were invented to take advantage of their benefits. Small business owners and marketers thought they’d hit the jackpot when they first hit the scene. However, the QR code trend didn’t become as popular with consumers as some had predicted. Often the time it takes to get your phone out, open your scanner app and then scan correctly then open the browser, it would have been quicker just to type in the web address or Google it.
Data does suggest that QR codes are not widely used. Inc’s 2012 research reported that a massive 97% of consumers don’t even know what a QR code is. comScore found that 6.2% of the total U.S. mobile audience scanned a QR code on their mobile device in 2011.
Since 2011, the number of mobile users has increased drastically, especially among the younger population, while QR codes seem to have maintained steady popularity and visibility. According to comScore‘s report, the number of people who have scanned a QR code seems to have plateaued since 2012: As the number of smartphone users continues to rise, the number of consumers scanning QR codes remains the same. So data is suggesting QR codes are dead.
How do I use them?
iFactory are an award-winning, full-service digital marketing agency in Brisbane. We can help to create a QR code that will drive customers to the information you need them to have. We know how to build and market effective QR codes that will add another aspect to your marketing. QR codes aren’t dead in all industries – you just need an expert to show you how to make them work for your business. Call iFactory to discuss how or if QR codes can add an effective marketing channel to your business.