When QR codes first hit the marketing town, everyone thought they’d be every marketer’s best friend. especially that they connect on-ground marketing to digital marketing. Overall, QR codes are scanned fast and trackable. Most importantly, they are considerably inexpensive. On paper with all these qualities, it seemed that QR codes would brew quite the marketing insurgency.
However, here we are years after the arrival of QR codes, and the insurgency hasn’t really taken off. This has created a grand debate between tech aficionados on whether or not QR codes are already dead. On one hand, statistics aren’t doing QR codes much favor. A 2012 study by comScore revealed that the number of US QR code scanners had reached a plateau. Another recent study by Statista in 2018 projects an increase from 9.76M to 11M scanners in 2020. That increase is not a drastic one, especially when you account for the increase in smartphone owners.
On the other hand, titans such as Coca-Cola still utilize QR codes regularly to communicate with their customers. At Augmania, we have given this debate much thought. Our verdict is ready. We believe that QR codes are alive and well. We just think that not many marketers use them efficiently. That’s why we’ve come up with 5 tips to help you master the use of QR codes.
Before we get to the tips, though, we must touch on one issue. Scanning a QR code isn’t an easy task at all for your prospects. It’s analogous to a Thanos finger snap. Much like Thanos needed 6 Infinity Stones to snap his fingers, prospects need 4 rudiments to scan QR codes:
I. A smartphone or a tablet
Who doesn’t own one of these?
II. Internet access
Accordingly, brands should place their QR codes in well-covered areas.
III. A QR code scanner app
Less of an issue now as iPhone users of iOS 11 and beyond have built-in scanners.
IV. A desire to actually scan the code
Now that’s the real culprit.
Rudiments I-III are mostly available. It’s rudiment IV that’s scarce. But not anymore because we’ve targeted our 5 tips specifically right at it! Let’s roll:
1- Give your codes value and let your audience know about it
If you plan to use QR codes to merely get scanners onto your website, then spare yourself the cost. Many marketing gurus affirm that it’s not about unlocking destinations with QR codes. It’s more importantly about unlocking content. Let’s think it through: If a potential customer decides to scan your QR code, chances are he/she is expecting something special. As such, if customers wanted your website or contacts, Googling it would be less tedious than scanning codes.
Hence, you should reward your customers’ curiosity. For a starter, you can do that by providing them with valuable content. It doesn’t have to be exclusive and only accessible through the QR codes. The content just must be helpful to them in the context they’re at. For example, if customers are on the verge of
Unfortunately, acing QR codes content is almost worthless without one more tiny thing. You need to elaborate to your customers on what exactly scanning the codes does. Even a simple ‘Scan Me’ note is not enough. So be generous and share the knowledge you are offering with your audience. No need for a copywriter to pull that off.
2- Customize your codes
Traditional QR codes are far from visually appealing. They may even deter less tech-savvy customers from your brand. Thankfully, there are many QR code generators now that allow you to design your own codes. One way to use it is by
There’s more to the creative work done with QR codes than you expect! It’s possible to turn your code into an artwork amidst the process. Yet in that case, mentioning that you’re using a QR code and mentioning its purpose becomes extra important.
3- Make your codes detectable and reachable
Now you’ve created relevant QR code content and then made your codes look beautiful. There’s no reason not to brag and have large QR codes on your flyers, posters, business cards, products, etc. That way you ensure that both prospects and their phones can detect your QR codes. The general rule goes: Scanning Distance= 10x the QR Code Size. Still, having large QR codes have contributed no harm to QR code campaigns.
Well, you know what they say about size, though. It’s not everything. So, please, help me scream that at Portugal’s Azores Airlines!
The last thing you’d want is for your QR codes to be huge but unreachable. Thus, strategic code placement is crucial.
4- Make code destinations mobile-friendly
Remember when we said you had to reward code scanners for their curiosity? Landing them onto a desktop-only webpage tarnishes this curiosity. It leads to a disappointing experience that may prevent these customers from ever dealing with your brand again. Thus, customizing your QR code content for smartphones rids you of such worry for good.
Though to be honest, you can do better than just mobile-friendly pages. Much better, in fact. And that’s where Tip #5 comes in.
5- Create Augmented Reality destinations
In order to scan codes, prospects utilize their phone cameras. Now, If your code leads to a mobile page, then it’d take them into a new virtual medium. I say why the hassle? Instead of dissociating scanners from their realities, you can simply augment them using AR. Essentially, scanners will still see the same views from their cameras, but with your content layered on it.
A campaign by Poland’s Sukiennice museum brilliantly integrated AR into QR codes. After years of renovation, the museum was reopened with a new focus. Its personnel wanted to attract youngsters who weren’t normally fascinated by what the museum had to offer. So, they came up with a solid idea to turn the museum’s artworks into live short performances. The performances pitted the artists telling the stories of their own masterpieces in AR.
After scanning QR codes, visitors could see these performances through their phones as if the artists were right in front of them. The result? A mesmerizing experience and over 20% of Krakow’s population visiting Sukiennice. It was truly a QR AR miracle.