For those of you not familiar with the term QR Code, which stands for quick response, I’m sure you’re still very familiar with seeing them. They’re practically everywhere these days. They’re on the backs of any product you can imagine. They’re on television commercials and print advertisements. Anywhere you can fit a little 1×1 square, you can put a QR Code. Since there are still some of use who haven’t been properly introduced to these little advertising goldmines, it’s no wonder that we also aren’t using them correctly. Joe Barber, who founded Third Screen Media, says we’re not using these codes to their full potential. In a recent article he discussed the renewed interest in these two dimensional codes, which have actually been around for over 20 years. They first showed up in Japan, being used on the automobile manufacturing line. There are good and bad ways to use your little advertisement boxes. First we’ll discuss some of the ways you shouldn’t use these QR Codes before getting into more productive ways of using them. Let’s take a look at a quick list here:
- Size: Don’t print a code to where it’s not big enough to be seen and scanned easily with a smartphone.
- Safety: Your code square shouldn’t be on billboards or other roadside areas which could cause traffic problems.
- Congestion: As with the freeway, don’t place your scanner codes in stairwells or other high foot traffic areas. This may seem counterproductive, since you want high traffic. But keep away from bottleneck situations.
- Lame: Don’t be! If customers don’t have a good experience with QR Codes, they’ll stop scanning them.
- Don’t Link Back: Resist the urge to just link back to the same place that customers are already at. If your QR Code on your restaurant menu takes customers to your online menu, that’s a complete waste.
- Simple: Don’t put the entire ad in the code. This is convoluted and harder to load.
Now that we have a grasp on what not to do, let’s see what Joe Barber says are a few good things to do with your QR Code bar. There are a few simple steps that Joe says will ensure higher traffic to your website and more clicks. Of course, this should eventually lead to more sales.
- Short URL: Using a shorter base url with extensions means you can change your ad campaign at a moment’s notice. This leads to more possibilities as your customers know they can keep coming back.
- Landing Page: Linking back to your landing page is a great way to track where your clicks are coming from. You can use this information to continue targeting that audience and tweak your ads specifically to them. Or you can determine why you’re not getting clicks from other demographics and chase them harder.
- Continue the Game: Even after a contest is over, you can keep those links active. Give some post-contest information or smaller games to keep the links alive.
One thing Joe wanted to remind everyone is that these QR Codes are really flooding today’s market. So much so, consumers are actually hunting out these code boxes. They’re pretty much expecting bonus features and extra content with every purchase. It’s a high demand for ad campaign managers to keep up with. Another warning that has been issued by many marketing analysts in Australia is the lack of creativity in these scanner codes. Australia has one of the highest per capita sales of smartphones and similar technologies. Yet they don’t even rank in the top 50 for QR Code ad campaigns. This is a two-fold problem. One, they’re not marketing the codes well enough to the target demographic. And two, they’re not offering content that will keep consumers clicking. Unless both of these are fixed, Australia will continue to fall farther behind.
- License: Creative Commons image source