Insights / digital

To QR Code, or not?

You know what a QR Code is, right?  They are those funky square bar codes that are for useon smart phones.  QR stands for Quick Response, and the idea is to make it really easy for smart phone users to get to a URL without having to actually type in the URL.  Scan the code with your phone and it takes you right to the company’s URL without typing.

That’s the idea, and marketers love it.  We all want to make it easier for prospects and customers to engage with our brands.  So the question is, why are so few customers taking advantage of them, even with the proliferation of smart phones?

There isn’t a ton of research on the subject yet, but here is what we are telling our clients based on experience, conferences, reading, etc.

First, the technology isn’t perfected and many people don’t know how it works.  You must have an app on your phone to read the code.  What’s worse, there are competing apps, and every code does not scan properly on every app.  So a given QR Code just may not work for you.

Second, marketers aren’t necessarily using them properly.  For maximum response there needs to be a tangible offer and the code needs to point to a relevant landing page, not a general site home page.

Third, when you do get to the site, it needs to be readable on your phone.  We recommend pulling key content out of the overall site and creating at least a mini mobile site if you expect a lot of smart phone traffic.

Amy Gahran has posted an interesting article on some of these issues on that you might want to check out.

All in all, we still think QR Codes have a value.  As a baseline, some percentage of prospects will use your code.  Even for those who don’t, the code looks current, implies that you are expecting a response and that you are trying to make their lives easier. 

Now we just need the technology to catch up with us marketers.