When there are pros, there are always cons. Quick Response codes can be a useful digital tool for some but they are not for everyone. In Part 2 of QR codes I’ll discuss the bright and not so bright sides of QR codes in relation to business marketing.
1. QR codes contain hidden messages that entice people to unlock information they cannot see. QR codes give people the opportunity to find a hidden message for themselves. Curiosity can be satisfied with over 70% of cell phones having cameras and 55 million people owning smart phones in the United States.
2. QR codes are versatile for businesses in terms of placement and function. 2D codes can be placed on forms of visual media such as posters, direct mail pieces, magazines, newspapers, packaging and more. The content of the codes can lead the user to a social media site, photo gallery, online store, video, website and more. They can also be used in restaurants, museums and retail stores for in-store interaction.
3. QR codes can be easily tracked and measured. Using web analytics, marketers can gain valuable information about how well campaigns are going as well as what works and what doesn’t by tracking the frequency of scans. Web analytics provide valuable and measurable data that can determine which parts of the campaign are successful and which can be improved.
4. QR codes can send users to online content quickly. This makes sense, since QR stands for quick response. The code rids the need for the user to type out the URL, making it easier and faster to receive information. When the design is done correctly, a QR code can point the user to the call to action in one scan.
5. QR codes are inexpensive to create for a company. This is a huge benefit for the brand and campaign development cycle.
1. Perhaps the biggest drawback of QR codes may be the simple lack of awareness by users. ComScore states that 14 million United States consumers are scanning QR codes, but that only represents 6.2% of US mobile users. This number also includes bar code scanning with QR scanning.
2. Since a QR reader is needed in order to read a QR code, some may see this as a high hurdle for users. This is a drawback for many because the user must download the app before they can even begin to use them, limiting the audience.
3. Scanning can be a long process. Users must get out their phone, access the code reader app and scan the code, then wait for the page to load. With a 4G signal, it may not be a problem, but with a slower Internet connection, patience may be lost by the user. This can be tackled with good design.
4. Adoption rates are low around the country, primarily where smart phone saturation is low.
5. Many users have issues with privacy in association with QR codes. Because of this, some users do not choose to scan the codes.
With any new technology or medium there are pros and cons. The bottom line is that a QR code should be used when it fits with the target audience and call-to-action. If the code is positioned correctly, it can be a powerful force within a campaign creating great impact and engagement. A mistake I have seen made is when a company places a QR code on a marketing piece providing no real benefit to the customer. If there is nothing to entice the customer to scan the code, then there is no real need for the code. Design is also a huge factor in whether or not a consumer will scan the code. In part 3 of this series, I will cover creative QR codes I have seen.Marketing Technology