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Qr Code Whitepaper



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Qr Code Whitepaper

  1. 1. 1 Q U I C K R E S P O N S E C O D E S Q R C O D E E X P L A I N E D Q U I C K LY Last Updated: June 2012 American Greetings :: Shay Merritté
  2. 2. 2 C O N T E N T S 0 3 | B A S I C D ATA 1 4 | B E S T P R A C T I C E S 2 0 | A LT E R N AT I V E S 2 5 | E X A M P L E S
  3. 3. 3 B A S I C D ATA
  4. 4. 4 W H AT T H E Y A R E A QR (Quick Response) code is a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera and transfer information. Based on the type of code it is, it might direct the viewer to a website, make a phone call, deliver an event and more. Standard barcodes stores data in only one direction. QR codes store data in 2 directions allowing for more information.
  5. 5. 5 READABLE FROM 360 DEGREES QR codes can be read from most any angle because QR readers can automatically recognize and orient the image with the 3 finder patterns. ERROR CORRECTION QR codes have some redundancy built in allowing some error correction for missing pixels, shadows, etc. A LOT OF CONTENT QR codes can hold up to 4,296 alpha numeric characters, for comparison, a standard barcode can hold a maximum of 35 numeric characters. F E AT U R E S
  6. 6. 6 QR codes were invented in Japan by a Toyota subsidiary, Denso Wave, in 1994 to track vehicles and parts during the manufacturing process. This was an improvement over the precious use of barcodes because they held a lot more information and could still be read if they were dirty because they contained error correction. By 2002 Japanese marketers began using the technology because consumers there had much more technologically advanced and internet enabled mobile devices. In the US, QR codes began making an appearance in 2007 / 2008 with the advent of app enabled smartphones. Q R C O D E O R I G I N
  7. 7. 7 FIND QR CODE SCAN ACTIVATE LINK SEE CONTENT H OW T H E Y WO R K 1 2 3 4 QR codes can be produced and implemented as simply as searching for “QR code generator”, typing in a web address, putting that code somewhere, downloading a QR code reader to a smartphone and then scanning the code and activating the link.
  8. 8. 8 Website URL Maps Location Twitter Facebook Linkedin Appstore Plain Text Phone Number Videos SMS Message Email Event T Y P E S O F Q R C O D E DATA While most marketers use QR codes as a way to create a physical hyperlink to online mobile content, QR codes can be created to link to numerous other kinds of content. For examples of each of these please look in the examples section at the end of this document with sample QR codes for examples of each content type.
  9. 9. 9 EASY TO CREATE QR codes can be produced and implemented as simply as simply as searching for “QR code generator” and then typing in a web address or specific GPS address, taking the generated QR code JPEG and putting it somewhere. CHEAP QR codes have an open patent and can be created for free without a license, and many QR code management applications and companies are very affordable. Really the only expense in QR codes is creating the actual content that the QR code is linked to. TRACKABLE QR codes are also very easy to track, by simply creating different codes for the variables you are trying to track, and then get other ancillary information like where the code is scanned, at what time and what location. INSTANT ENGAGEMENT Probably the most useful aspect of QR codes is that it creates instant engagement with content, once a user scans a QR code they will have at least a few moments of uninterrupted engagement. If the content is relevant and engaging enough, it can hold the consumers’ interest for a long period of time. W H Y T H E Y A R E U S E F U L
  10. 10. 10 WORTHLESS CONTENT Scanning a code is cumbersome and costs the consumer time and effort, plus the value is oftentimes unknown before scanning. Scanning a code that just takes the consumer to your facebook page frustrates the consumer, wastes their time, and creates negative sentiment. CONSUMER AWARENESS The biggest problem that QR codes have is that consumers consistently have demonstrated that they don’t have a clue what they are and/or don’t know how to use them. An ArchRival study of college students found that on top US college campuses, 78.5% didn’t know how to scan a QR code. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION QR codes are showing up everywhere, on everything, with seemingly zero thought about context. For example: QR codes on billboards are nearly impossible to scan and those in a subway are also impossible to scan since there likely isn’t any data reception. AESTHETICS QR codes are ugly and they all look the same. The little boxes of white and black squares clash with most advertising and marketing designs, furthermore since almost all of them are the black and white squares that look similar, there is little information to inform or incentivize the consumer to scan the QR code. W H Y Q R C O D E S FA I L
  11. 11. 11 Q R C O D E S TAT S 2 0 .1 MILLIONMobile consumers scanned at least one QR code in the previous 3 months. 40% Women GENDER INCOMEAGE DISTRIBUTION 36.8% 25-34 19.6% 35-44 12.4% 45-54 4.1% 55-64 3.0% 65+ 16.6% 18-24 7.4% 13-17 8.3% <$ 25k 18% $ 25k-$ 49k 19.1% $ 50k-$ 74k 18.6% $ 75k-$ 99k 36% $ 100k+ 60% Men
  12. 12. 12 W H E R E A R E Q R C O D E S U S E D An important aspect to remember when using QR codes is to think about when and where consumers are scanning the codes. Specifically, make sure to think about what medium the QR code is being presented on and also where in that world that medium will live. ComScore released data from their research of QR code use in the fourth quarter of 2011, and found that most people scan their codes at home or in a retail environment and they usually scan a magazine, newspaper, product packaging, or a website. 28.5% Magazine & Newspaper 20.3% Packaging 15.8% Website 13.4% Poster / Flyer 7.70% Other Prints 7.37 % Store Front 6.75% TV 59.4% At Home 44% Retail 26.6% Grocery Store 21.4% At Work 11.2% InPublic 9.8% Restaurant LOCATION MEDIUM
  13. 13. 13 In October/November 2011, Archrival, a marketing agency that targets youths did a large study of young people’s awareness of QR codes at 24 large college campuses across the country. The basic findings were that students were highly aware of what a QR code was and had phones that could scan the codes, but most did not know they needed a specific app to actually scan the codes, and even then weren’t sure how to actually use the apps, and most were unlikely to scan a QR code in the future. 81% of students owned a smartphone 80% of students had previously seen a QR code 21% of students could activate the QR code. 75% of students said they were probably unlikely to scan a QR code in the future. / L OW Q R K N OW L E D G E
  14. 14. 14 B E S T P R A C T I C E S
  15. 15. 15 M A K E T H E M B E A U T I F U L QR Codes are most commonly presented as something that looks like a checker board, but they don’t have to. As long as there is a high contrast between the QR code pixels and the background, the QR will still work. QR codes also have built in error correction so removing some pixels to replace with aesthetic accents, can still allow for scanning. By making them more attractive, the QR code can be better integrated into marketing materials, extend the brand and tell a better story. Magic Hat Facebook QR Code: Created by designers at QR Arts using Magic Hat bottle caps and coaster, fully functional and more interesting and enticing for users to scan, even if it does just link to their facebook Fillmore Mobile Site: This QR code for the Fillmore music hall incorporates images of musical instruments and the Fillmore logo with branded colors to create a more custom QR experience.
  16. 16. 16 P R OV I D E VA L U E One of the reasons consumers don’t use QR codes, is that benefit for them is often not worth the 1-2 minute investment it takes to take out their phone, find and open the scanning app and scan. Most brands usually just link their QR codes to their websites or Facebook, not a real incentive for the consumer. eMart, a Korean retailer experimented with QR codes to great success at driving midday sales, by creating a QR code that could only be read between 12-1 and offered consumers a large financial discount coupon to scan and shop during this time. This QR code will link to the promotional video of how the eMart QR promotion works.
  17. 17. 17 M A K E T H E M E A S Y T O U S E QR codes already requires a fair amount of investment on the part of the consumer to scan and activate the code, so the codes should be as easy to use as possible. If consumers have to scan a code more than once or twice and it doesn’t activate, they will usually move on. Making QR codes easier to use includes making the QR codes a little larger to accommodate the wide range of mobile devices in the market and their diverse camera resolutions, as well as including some white space for better target acquisition. Furthermore, it is helpful to include instructions with the codes that they should actually say “Scan with your mobile device” and also provide direction to where a QR code reader can be downloaded if they don’t have one on their phone. Finally to improve the chances that a user will scan the code, it is best to allude to what will happen when the code is scanned. Consumers don’t necessarily like to be surprised and providing them with an idea of the benefit that they’ll get by scanning.
  18. 18. 18 L O C AT I O N , L O C AT I O N Many QR marketers don’t think about how and where the consumer will actually be using the codes, for example: locating them in advertisements on subways where they can’t get internet access. It’s important to think about the location and what consumers will be doing in that location, and how the QR factors into the consumers experience of that location. This QR code will link to the promotional video of how The World Park Campaign works, which used the location of QR codes very effectively .
  19. 19. 19 P E R S O N A L I Z E Because QR codes are so easy to make and deploy and that there is a relatively high barrier to action on the part of the consumer, a great way to drive interaction is by personalizing or customizing the content of the QR code for the individual user. By doing so it provides a greater incentive and payoff for scanning the code. This QR code will link to a video of JC Penney’s Santa Tags QR Code campaign from Winter 2011.
  20. 20. 20 M O B I L E C O D E & TA G A LT E R N AT I V E S
  21. 21. 21 M I C R O S O F T TAG Microsoft created this mobile tagging convention, which uses clusters of colored triangles instead of square pixels. Hi-Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCB) can contain a 8, 4, or 2 color palettes, which can result in content density of 3,500 characters per square inch. Microsoft Tag is the consumer implementation of the technology which requires the use of a proprietary code reader. Microsoft Tags have several advantages over traditional QR codes; 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 proprietary reader, but many brands use the technology and it is the second most commonly used mobile tagging technology.
  22. 22. 22 BlippAR is an image recognition mobile app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content (including mobile coupons, m-commerce, 2/3D overlays, videos, games object and image recognition). The company launched in the UK in the Summer of 2011 and will be expanding globally throughout 2012. BlippAR allows for highly customized content. However the content and deployment is expensive to produce and requires the use of the proprietary BlippAR reader, which isn’t widely adopted. But that hasn’t stopped brands like Unilever, Nestle, Heinz, Diageo, Xbox, Samsung, Cadbury, Domino’s and more from running test campaigns with the technology. B L I P PA R This QR code will take you to a promotional video form BlippAR showing some examples of the technology.
  23. 23. 23 G O O G L E G O G G L E S Google Goggles is built into the Google search mobile app allowing users to search by taking a picture. For example, you can take a picture of the Washington Monument and Google will return information and other pictures about the monument. In 2010, Google launched a beta test of 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 has removed the ability to upload and link ads to content, but it still links a company’s website to a picture of the ad.
  24. 24. 24 SnapTags from Spyder Lynk are encoded circles that can be combined with any image that can be read with a SnapTag reader or sent via MMS to number to activate the content. SnapTags have all the same functionality of a QR code with the added benefit of a cleaner design and easier aesthetic customization. The downside is that consumer knowledge of SnapTags is rather low, however the upside is that without the imperative to download an app to use the technology, it is much more easy to use and the barrier for the consumer is a lot lower. S N A P TAG S This QR code will take you to a video case study of how Toyota leveraged SnapTags.
  25. 25. 25 Q R C O D E E X A M P L E S
  26. 26. 26 W E B S I T E Any website’s URL can be turned into a QR code, and this is the most common use for the technology. The longer the url, the larger and more dense the QR code will be, unless a URL shortener is used. This QR code will take you to the American Greetings homepage, depending on the device and scanning program it may or may not be the mobile optimized site.
  27. 27. 27 M A P S QR codes can link to specific points on a map that can be defined by either using an address or the actual longitude and latitude. Depending on the QR code generator and map software used by different mobile devices, this data could be displayed slightly differently. This QR code will take you to a map to the location of American Greetings Headquarters in Google maps.
  28. 28. 28 T W I T T E R Twitter can also be encoded into QR codes. There are a couple different options for what kind of information this can be. You can link to the person’s actual online Twitter profile for example. Another option allows for the code to actually post a tweet from your account just by scanning the code, but you will have to be logged into your twitter account first. This QR code will take you to a Twitter post composition page with a tweet about American Greetings already written and ready to be submitted.
  29. 29. 29 FAC E B O O K Facebook can be integrated into QR codes in a couple different ways. A QR code can link to a specific Facebook profile for example. A QR code can also be created that links directly to a FB brand page’s like button. This QR code links directly to a like button for the American Greetings Facebook page.
  30. 30. 30 L I N K E D I N Linkedin can be integrated into QR codes in a couple different ways. A QR code can link to a specific Linkedin profile or page. Another option allows for the code to actually post a Linkedin status update from your account just by scanning the code, but you will have to be logged into your Linkedin account first. This QR code will take you to a Linkedin post composition page with a update about American Greetings, already written ready to be submitted.
  31. 31. 31 A P P S T O R E QR codes can link directly to the download link for another app. Separate codes (or one larger code) needs to be created for the different apps for different operating systems and platforms. The QR code for an app, is actually one of the more logical uses of QR codes, since the direct payoff results on the mobile device, and can lead to direct interaction with the app and saves the consumer the time of trying to find an app in the store. This QR code will take you to the Apple app store download page for the Just Wink app.
  32. 32. 32 P L A I N T E X T QR codes can encode large strings of plain alpha-numeric text, up to 4,296 characters, which is about a page or two of text. This QR code will present some text in your QR reader.
  33. 33. 33 P H O N E N U M B E R This QR code will automatically dial your phone to call a time and weather call-in service. QR codes can activate a mobile device’s phone application and automatically dial a number.
  34. 34. 34 S M S M E S S AG E This QR code will automatically text Google’s SMS answer service to provide the weather conditions for Cleveland. QR codes can automatically fill in a message and text a phone number, or group of numbers with a maximum of 160 characters.
  35. 35. 35 QR codes can link to most video formats, including youtube and vimeo videos. If the respective video app is installed, depending on the operating system, the app will be loaded to view the video. YO U T U B E V I D E O This QR code links to a Yakety Yaks introductory video on YouTube.
  36. 36. 36 E M A I L This QR code will compose an email to request more information about QR codes. QR codes can be used to compose and send emails when the QR code is scanned, and an email app is available.
  37. 37. 37 E V E N T S This QR code will add a luncheon event to your calendar on Monday July 16th from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. VCalendar information can be embedded in a QR Code that can add a calendar event to most users’ mobile calendar. This information is very dense and causes a larger QR code, but can be useful in simplifying the addition of an event to a calendar.