4W H AT T H E Y A R EA QR (Quick Response) code is a 2-Dbarcode that can be scanned by a smartphone’s camera and transfer information.Based on the type of code it is, it mightdirect the viewer to a website, make a phonecall, deliver an event and more.Standard barcodes stores datain only one direction.QR codes store data in 2directions allowing formore information.http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrfeature-e.htmlhttp://www.betterresponseblog.com/index.php/industry-trends/anatomy-of-a-qr-code/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qr_code
5READABLE FROM360 DEGREESQR codes can be read frommost any angle because QRreaders can automaticallyrecognize and orient theimage with the 3 finderpatterns.ERRORCORRECTIONQR codes havesome redundancybuilt in allowingsome errorcorrection formissing pixels,shadows, etc.A LOT OFCONTENTQR codes can holdup to 4,296 alphanumeric characters,for comparison, astandard barcodecan hold a maximumof 35 numericcharacters.F E AT U R E Shttp://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrfeature-e.htmlhttp://www.betterresponseblog.com/index.php/industry-trends/anatomy-of-a-qr-code/
6QR codes were invented in Japan by a Toyota subsidiary, DensoWave, in 1994 to track vehicles and parts during the manufacturingprocess. This was an improvement over the precious use of barcodesbecause they held a lot more information and could still be read ifthey were dirty because they contained error correction. By 2002Japanese marketers began using the technology because consumersthere had much more technologically advanced and internet enabledmobile devices. In the US, QR codes began making an appearance in2007 / 2008 with the advent of app enabled smartphones.Q R C O D E O R I G I Nhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qr_code
7FIND QRCODE SCAN ACTIVATELINKSEECONTENTH OW T H E Y WO R K1 2 3 4QR codes can be produced and implemented as simply assearching for “QR code generator”, typing in a web address,putting that code somewhere, downloading a QR code reader toa smartphone and then scanning the code and activating the link.
8WebsiteURLMapsLocation Twitter FacebookLinkedin Appstore PlainTextPhoneNumberVideos SMSMessage Email Eventhttp://www.qrstuff.com/T Y P E S O F Q R C O D E DATAWhile most marketers use QR codes as a way to create a physicalhyperlink to online mobile content, QR codes can be created to link tonumerous other kinds of content. For examples of each of these pleaselook in the examples section at the end of this document with sample QRcodes for examples of each content type.
9EASY TO CREATEQR codes can be produced and implemented as simply as simply assearching for “QR code generator” and then typing in a web address orspecific GPS address, taking the generated QR code JPEG and putting itsomewhere.CHEAPQR codes have an open patent and can be created for free without alicense, and many QR code management applications and companies arevery affordable. Really the only expense in QR codes is creating the actualcontent that the QR code is linked to.TRACKABLEQR codes are also very easy to track, by simply creating different codes forthe variables you are trying to track, and then get other ancillary informationlike where the code is scanned, at what time and what location.INSTANT ENGAGEMENTProbably the most useful aspect of QR codes is that it creates instantengagement with content, once a user scans a QR code they will have atleast a few moments of uninterrupted engagement. If the content is relevantand engaging enough, it can hold the consumers’ interest for a long periodof time.W H Y T H E Y A R E U S E F U L
10WORTHLESS CONTENTScanning a code is cumbersome and costs the consumer time and effort,plus the value is oftentimes unknown before scanning. Scanning a code thatjust takes the consumer to your facebook page frustrates the consumer,wastes their time, and creates negative sentiment.CONSUMER AWARENESSThe biggest problem that QR codes have is that consumers consistentlyhave demonstrated that they don’t have a clue what they are and/or don’tknow how to use them. An ArchRival study of college students found thaton top US college campuses, 78.5% didn’t know how to scan a QR code.LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATIONQR codes are showing up everywhere, on everything, with seemingly zerothought about context. For example: QR codes on billboards are nearlyimpossible to scan and those in a subway are also impossible to scan sincethere likely isn’t any data reception.AESTHETICSQR codes are ugly and they all look the same. The little boxes of whiteand black squares clash with most advertising and marketing designs,furthermore since almost all of them are the black and white squares thatlook similar, there is little information to inform or incentivize the consumerto scan the QR code.http://mashable.com/2012/05/17/reasons-qr-codes-are-broken/W H Y Q R C O D E S FA I L
11http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2011/12/20-million-americans-scanned-a-qr-code-in-october/http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/8/14_Million_Americans_Scanned_QR_or_Bar_CodesQ R C O D E S TAT S2 0 .1MILLIONMobile consumers scannedat least one QR code in theprevious 3 months.40%WomenGENDERINCOMEAGE DISTRIBUTION36.8%25-3419.6%35-44 12.4%45-544.1%55-643.0%65+16.6%18-247.4%13-178.3%<$25k18%$25k-$49k19.1%$50k-$74k18.6%$75k-$99k36%$100k+60%Men
12http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2011/12/20-million-americans-scanned-a-qr-code-in-october/W H E R E A R E Q R C O D E S U S E DAn important aspect to remember when using QR codes is to think aboutwhen and where consumers are scanning the codes. Specifically, make sureto think about what medium the QR code is being presented on and alsowhere in that world that medium will live. ComScore released data fromtheir research of QR code use in the fourth quarter of 2011, and found thatmost people scan their codes at home or in a retail environment and theyusually scan a magazine, newspaper, product packaging, or a website.28.5%Magazine &Newspaper20.3%Packaging15.8%Website13.4%Poster / Flyer7.70%Other Prints7.37%StoreFront6.75%TV59.4%At Home44%Retail26.6%GroceryStore21.4%At Work11.2%InPublic9.8%RestaurantLOCATION MEDIUM
13http://www.archrival.com/ideas/13/qr-codes-go-to-collegeIn October/November 2011, Archrival, a marketing agency that targetsyouths did a large study of young people’s awareness of QR codes at 24large college campuses across the country. The basic findings were thatstudents were highly aware of what a QR code was and had phones thatcould scan the codes, but most did not know they needed a specific appto actually scan the codes, and even then weren’t sure how to actually usethe apps, and most were unlikely to scan a QR code in the future.81%of studentsowned asmartphone80%of students hadpreviouslyseen a QRcode21%of studentscouldactivate theQR code.75%of studentssaid theywere probablyunlikely toscan a QRcode in thefuture./L OW Q R K N OW L E D G E
15M A K E T H E M B E A U T I F U LQR Codes are most commonly presented as something that looks like achecker board, but they don’t have to. As long as there is a high contrastbetween the QR code pixels and the background, the QR will still work.QR codes also have built in error correction so removing some pixels toreplace with aesthetic accents, can still allow for scanning. By making themmore attractive, the QR code can be better integrated into marketingmaterials, extend the brand and tell a better story.Magic Hat Facebook QR Code: Created bydesigners at QR Arts using Magic Hat bottlecaps and coaster, fully functional and moreinteresting and enticing for users to scan,even if it does just link to their facebookFillmore Mobile Site: This QR code for theFillmore music hall incorporates imagesof musical instruments and the Fillmorelogo with branded colors to create a morecustom QR experience.
16P R OV I D E VA L U EOne of the reasons consumers don’t use QR codes, is that benefit forthem is often not worth the 1-2 minute investment it takes to take out theirphone, find and open the scanning app and scan. Most brands usually justlink their QR codes to their websites or Facebook, not a real incentive forthe consumer. eMart, a Korean retailer experimented with QR codes togreat success at driving midday sales, by creating a QR code that couldonly be read between 12-1 and offered consumers a large financial discountcoupon to scan and shop during this time.This QR code will link to thepromotional video of how the eMartQR promotion works.
17M A K E T H E M E A S Y T O U S EQR codes already requires a fair amount of investment on the part of theconsumer to scan and activate the code, so the codes should be as easyto use as possible. If consumers have to scan a code more than once ortwice and it doesn’t activate, they will usually move on. Making QR codeseasier to use includes making the QR codes a little larger to accommodatethe wide range of mobile devices in the market and their diverse cameraresolutions, as well as including some white space for better targetacquisition. Furthermore, it is helpful to include instructions with thecodes that they should actually say “Scan with your mobile device” andalso provide direction to where a QR code reader can be downloaded ifthey don’t have one on their phone. Finally to improve the chances that auser will scan the code, it is best to allude to what will happen when thecode is scanned. Consumers don’t necessarily like to be surprised andproviding them with an idea of the benefit that they’ll get by scanning.
18L O C AT I O N , L O C AT I O NMany QR marketers don’t think about how and where the consumer willactually be using the codes, for example: locating them in advertisementson subways where they can’t get internet access. It’s important to thinkabout the location and what consumers will be doing in that location, andhow the QR factors into the consumers experience of that location.This QR code will link to thepromotional video of how TheWorld Park Campaign works, whichused the location of QR codes veryeffectively .
19P E R S O N A L I Z EBecause QR codes are so easy to make and deploy and that there is arelatively high barrier to action on the part of the consumer, a great way todrive interaction is by personalizing or customizing the content of the QRcode for the individual user. By doing so it provides a greater incentive andpayoff for scanning the code.This QR code will link to a video ofJC Penney’s Santa Tags QR Codecampaign from Winter 2011.
20M O B I L EC O D E & TA GA LT E R N AT I V E S
21http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Capacity_Color_Barcodehttp://tag.microsoft.com/manageads.aspxhttp://tag.microsoft.com/community/blog/t/microsoft_tag_announces_one-stop-shop_for_marketers_tag_qr_and_nfc.aspxM I C R O S O F T TAGMicrosoft created this mobile tagging convention, which uses clusters ofcolored triangles instead of square pixels. Hi-Capacity Color Barcodes(HCCB) can contain a 8, 4, or 2 color palettes, which can result in contentdensity of 3,500 characters per square inch. Microsoft Tag is the consumerimplementation of the technology which requires the use of a proprietarycode reader. Microsoft Tags have several advantages over traditional QRcodes; they can be read much faster, hold a lot more information per area,be used for augmented reality applications, and have built in analytics.However, the technology adoption has been mixed due the proprietaryreader, but many brands use the technology and it is the second mostcommonly used mobile tagging technology.
22http://blippar.com/http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/8063-blippar-a-qr-code-killerBlippAR is an image recognition mobile app aimed at bringing to lifereal-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with excitingaugmented reality experiences and instantaneous content (includingmobile coupons, m-commerce, 2/3D overlays, videos, games object andimage recognition). The company launched in the UK in the Summerof 2011 and will be expanding globally throughout 2012. BlippAR allowsfor highly customized content. However the content and deployment isexpensive to produce and requires the use of the proprietary BlippARreader, which isn’t widely adopted. But that hasn’t stopped brands likeUnilever, Nestle, Heinz, Diageo, Xbox, Samsung, Cadbury, Domino’s andmore from running test campaigns with the technology.B L I P PA RThis QR code will take you to apromotional video form BlippARshowing some examples of thetechnology.
23http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_goggles_experiment_merges_online_offline_ad.phphttp://mashable.com/2011/06/20/htc-google-goggles/http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/business/media/16adco.htmlG O O G L E G O G G L E SGoogle Goggles is built into the Google search mobile app allowing usersto search by taking a picture. For example, you can take a picture of theWashington Monument and Google will return information and otherpictures about the monument. In 2010, Google launched a beta testof using Goggles as an advertising platform and QR Code competitor.Goggles allows the consumer to take a picture of an ad, or part of the ad,which will then link the consumer to online content. Currently Google hasremoved the ability to upload and link ads to content, but it still links acompany’s website to a picture of the ad.
24SnapTags from Spyder Lynk are encoded circles that can be combinedwith any image that can be read with a SnapTag reader or sent via MMS tonumber to activate the content. SnapTags have all the same functionalityof a QR code with the added benefit of a cleaner design and easieraesthetic customization. The downside is that consumer knowledge ofSnapTags is rather low, however the upside is that without the imperativeto download an app to use the technology, it is much more easy to use andthe barrier for the consumer is a lot lower.S N A P TAG Shttp://www.spyderlynk.com/snaptag/what-is-a-snaptag/This QR code will take you to avideo case study of how Toyotaleveraged SnapTags.
26W E B S I T Ehttp://www.qrstuff.com/Any website’s URL can be turned into a QR code, and this is the mostcommon use for the technology. The longer the url, the larger and moredense the QR code will be, unless a URL shortener is used.This QR code will take you to theAmerican Greetings homepage,depending on the device and scanningprogram it may or may not be the mobileoptimized site.
27M A P Shttp://www.qrstuff.com/QR codes can link to specific points on a map that can be defined byeither using an address or the actual longitude and latitude. Dependingon the QR code generator and map software used by different mobiledevices, this data could be displayed slightly differently.This QR code will take you to a mapto the location of American GreetingsHeadquarters in Google maps.
28T W I T T E Rhttp://www.qrstuff.com/Twitter can also be encoded into QR codes. There are a couple differentoptions for what kind of information this can be. You can link to theperson’s actual online Twitter profile for example. Another option allowsfor the code to actually post a tweet from your account just by scanningthe code, but you will have to be logged into your twitter account first.This QR code will take you to a Twitterpost composition page with a tweet aboutAmerican Greetings already written andready to be submitted.
29FAC E B O O Khttp://www.qrstuff.com/Facebook can be integrated into QR codes in a couple different ways. AQR code can link to a specific Facebook profile for example. A QR codecan also be created that links directly to a FB brand page’s like button.This QR code links directly to a likebutton for the American GreetingsFacebook page.
30L I N K E D I Nhttp://www.qrstuff.com/Linkedin can be integrated into QR codes in a couple different ways. A QRcode can link to a specific Linkedin profile or page. Another option allowsfor the code to actually post a Linkedin status update from your accountjust by scanning the code, but you will have to be logged into your Linkedinaccount first.This QR code will take you to a Linkedinpost composition page with a updateabout American Greetings, alreadywritten ready to be submitted.
31A P P S T O R Ehttp://www.qrstuff.com/QR codes can link directly to the download link for another app. Separatecodes (or one larger code) needs to be created for the different apps fordifferent operating systems and platforms. The QR code for an app, isactually one of the more logical uses of QR codes, since the direct payoffresults on the mobile device, and can lead to direct interaction with theapp and saves the consumer the time of trying to find an app in the store.This QR code will take you to the Appleapp store download page for the JustWink app.
32P L A I N T E X Thttp://www.qrstuff.com/QR codes can encode large strings of plain alpha-numeric text, up to 4,296characters, which is about a page or two of text.This QR code will present some text inyour QR reader.
33P H O N E N U M B E Rhttp://www.qrstuff.com/This QR code will automatically dial yourphone to call a time and weather call-inservice.QR codes can activate a mobile device’s phone application andautomatically dial a number.
34S M S M E S S AG Ehttp://www.qrstuff.com/This QR code will automatically textGoogle’s SMS answer service to providethe weather conditions for Cleveland.QR codes can automatically fill in a message and text a phone number, orgroup of numbers with a maximum of 160 characters.
35http://www.qrstuff.com/QR codes can link to most video formats, including youtube and vimeovideos. If the respective video app is installed, depending on the operatingsystem, the app will be loaded to view the video.YO U T U B E V I D E OThis QR code links to a Yakety Yaksintroductory video on YouTube.
36http://www.qrstuff.com/E M A I LThis QR code will compose an emailto request more information about QRcodes.QR codes can be used to compose and send emails when the QR code isscanned, and an email app is available.
37http://www.qrstuff.com/E V E N T SThis QR code will add a luncheon eventto your calendar on Monday July 16thfrom11:30 AM to 12:45 PM.VCalendar information can be embedded in a QR Code that can add acalendar event to most users’ mobile calendar. This information is verydense and causes a larger QR code, but can be useful in simplifying theaddition of an event to a calendar.