29th Dec // 2018
It still amazes me how many iPhone users aren’t aware that their phones are now capable of reading QR codes through their camera. It was in June 2017 and an iOS 11 update that turned cameras into QR scanners. But what about Android I hear you ask and you are correct that it’s not quite as easy, although it is possible without a specific scanning app. Now it’s easier, it’s a great time to consider using QR codes again. I was looking back through our blog posts and it was actually October 2011 when we did our first post on using QR codes in marketing. But rather than just linking to your home page, read on to find out how to take real advantage of QR codes.
Originally created in 1994, Quick Response codes were used to track parts in the automotive industry. Instead of being one dimension such as traditional barcodes, they are two dimensional and can hold more information than a simple number. Scanning a QR code can take you directly to a website much more easily than entering the information manually. That’s perfect in advertising and on printed material such as banners or business cards.
QR codes are ideally suited to marketing - the only real challenge is explaining how easy it is for them to be scanned. When we did our first piece on them, a user would have had to download a third party app simply to scan the code. They were quite widely adopted but due to the complexity of scanning, they didn’t really take off and were quietly dropped from main stream advertising. Their use has continued for stock control and other more specialist uses. As mentioned above, an iPhone user just needs to point their camera at a QR code, focus and it will be read. With Android, it’s a little more complex. A user can still use their camera but they need to activate Google Lens.
Now that smart phone users can scan QR codes more easily, it’s a good time to start using them again. The simplest use is to direct people to your website or web page from printed advertising such as a roll up banner or in a magazine. But rather than directing users to your home page, you should set up a special landing page. That will let you measure the success of the advertising method. You could, for example, have different landing pages for your pop up banner and a magazine advert. These can be tracked using Google Analytics.
The main complaint about magazine or other printed advertising is that the success can’t be measured. Many companies ask new clients how they first got in touch, but with a QR code you can see the results.
For a banner, If you visit a conference or exhibition the number of people going to your landing page can also be measured. You can tailor the page to be directed at the type of user who is likely to visit. If you’re clever about it, you can use a single QR code - so you don’t have to keep reprinting your banner- but then change the content according to where you put your banner up - even down to specific events.
QR codes are also ideal on business cards. But here, instead of going to a web page, they can take a user to a page where they can see and download your contact details directly to their phones. Using vCards lets a user save your details straight away. The other advantage is that if your contact details change, you can just update the vCard. The way these are accessed is using a special url, normally linked to your domain. In my case, I’ve used www.fabric.co.uk/ajaykapadia.vcf.
It sounds like a great time to start using QR codes but like anything, you need to consider why someone would scan them. If they have your business card, scanning is quicker than inputting details. Advertising can encourage users by giving something away - perhaps a discount or free information. If you give something away already, using QR codes can help you measure the impact of printed marketing material.
For more ideas about how to set up or use QR codes get in touch with us.