Right time and right place: The effectiveness of QR codes

Earlier this year, I wrote an article on how QR codes make great marketing tools. As a reminder, QR codes create a new opportunity to enhance the relationship with a customer/prospect who has already engaged with the brand, building positive word of mouth or even a future sale.

Lab42 shared the results of an online survey it recently conducted via the social networks to 500 Americans over 18. Of the 500 surveyed, more than 200 were already familiar with QR codes. However, their exposure to QR codes will show the growing trend of QR use. Consider these stats based on those who are familiar with QR codes:

  • 67% have seen QR codes in magazines (62% in retail stores, 40% on billboards)
  • 46% scanned to get a discount (44% to get info on a product, 43% due to curiosity)
  • 42% used a QR code as a ticket (62% of those for concert tickets, 52% for airline tickets)

QR codes do seem to be the growing trend in 2011, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should do it. As Stephen mentioned in his article, QR codes are the most effective when they link to exclusive content on pages that are optimized for mobile viewing. However, these suggestions are helpful as a result of the scan. What about the scan itself? Well, as they say, it’s all about “Location Location Location.”

As an observer of QR placements, here are my Bottom 3 Worst Places to put a QR code:

3. A shampoo bottle fails to place your QR code where people will have their mobile device readily available to scan the code.

I understand the strategy. Place a QR code on the back of a shampoo bottle, and while a consumer is shopping, they could potentially scan the bottle and end up at a landing page (perhaps with a coupon for that product), but if that were the case, why not have that messaging on your product? Most people know the brand of shampoo they want, and grab it quickly as they shop. Plus, a QR code of this size, without any promotional message to scan, is easily missed. The first time I saw it was in the shower – and I typically don’t bring my mobile device with me.

2. TV fails to give enough time to scan the code

Typically, a TV commercial lasts 30 seconds. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for the viewer to notice the QR code, pull out the mobile device, and scan the QR code. Even with DVR devices that allow consumers to pause live TV, chances are those with DVRs are fast-forwarding through your QR-coded commercial. Instead of a QR code, place strategically worded hashtags on your commercial that drive people to start a conversation about you in the social networking universe.

1. Billboards are not easy places to scan

More than likely, a QR code on a billboard will not be easily scanned by a mobile device. A brand may give off the impression that its hip, cool, and digitally savvy, but it’s better for your customers to drive safely than scan your QR code while driving.

QR codes continue to be a great resource for marketing, and as the data from Lab42 shows, more and more people are becoming aware of the multiple uses for a quick scan. Adding them to pre-existing mediums of advertising can help drive traffic to specific landing pages and offers, but make sure they are being used wisely. And, if possible, come up with some new ways to place your scanable codes that makes people pull out their devices and talk about it.

-Jonathan Ginburg, Senior Account Executive

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Being driven means constantly moving forward, evolving and embracing the future. In that spirit, Kilgannon merged with Dalton Agency, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., in February 2012. The merger brought together the talents and energies of two exceptional shops and about 100 employees. Kilgannon is now known as Dalton Atlanta, and complements Dalton’s existing offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, Fla., Savannah, Ga., Tampa, Fla. and Columbia, S.C.
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