AUTHOR Kristīna Hromova

Is the QR code dead?

The world of marketing faces an increasingly burning issue – how to attract more visitors to a web page by using offline resources (press, outdoor ads, POS materials etc.). Over time, looking for an answer on this issue, nothing has overshadowed the QR code (Quick Response code) developed in 1994. The system is simple: by using a QR code reader (smartphone equipped with an application) you can scan the code and get a decoded URL address which opens a target web page through your web browser. Although this seems as an easy-to-understand mechanism, one question still remains unanswered – why the QR codes have not gained the expected popularity among the smartphone users?

Factors destroying the potential of QR codes  
  • Most smartphones do not have a QR reader as a default. In order to get this additional function, the user must download a corresponding application on his or her device. Extra effort and waste of time, some would say!
  • Despite the globally and locally increasing amount of traffic coming from mobile devices, web pages are often poorly optimized. Quickly-to-load webpages suitable for mobile environment with a friendly UX is a good thing but how often you are lucky enough to land on such pages after scanning yet another QR code?
  • Lack of clear message and call-to-action. It is naive to assume that anybody will automatically scan the code which is not followed by an explanatory text on what benefits you will get from such an action.
  • Internet-availability factor. The risk of failure also arises from placing the QR code in such areas which provide limited access to mobile Internet or are not covered by Wi-Fi. Clear examples – aircraft cabins, tunnels, advertising posters in remote areas.
  • Placement of the QR codes on moving objects (for example, on the back of a bus). This is extremely miscarried action…
  • Even if all the prerequisites for the success are met (customized website, available Internet, clear message), everybody struggles with confidence that a minute spent on the phone (which has to be equipped with the QR code reader) will be worth to find the secret treasures. Therefore, an added value of this technology is the last and key motive – what kind of benefit the consumer will gain by wasting a minute of attention and couple of touches on the smartphone?
You wish to see some “not-to-do” examples? Take a look at clear QR code failures here and here.

How to find out whether anybody uses your QR codes?
Most of the QR code creators use regular URL address as a target page. However, it would be wiser not to be lazy and to create a link with UTM tracking parameters which would allow the use of Google Analytics account for identification of cases when the QRE code has actually been used. It is easy to attach so-called tags to the target webpage: you can create them by using Google tool URL Builder or by manually attaching them to the link, for example:
Alternatives to the QR code
If there is a concern about the effectiveness of the use of QR codes, link shortening may be a relatively easy alternative. You can shorten the links by using such services as bit.ly and goo.gl which additionally offers further tracking of these links (it is worth to remember the use of UTM tags) and also branding links (bit.ly).

Tags & Categories:  advertisingtrends
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