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Voir QR: The History, Use & Abuse of QR Codes

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A look at mobile tagging with QR codes. Technical specs, design considerations, artistic examples & marketing strategies.

Published in: Technology

Voir QR: The History, Use & Abuse of QR Codes

  1. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”<br />— Wayne Gretzky<br />
  2. Well, that didn’t tell me much. Seriously, what are QR codes?<br /><ul><li> They’re a kind of bar code!
  3. Also called graphical tag, 2D bar code, or [chillingly] matrix code
  4. Developed by Toyota’s Denso Wave in 1996 to track car parts
  5. ISO standardized & open source</li></li></ul><li>What do QR codes do?<br /><ul><li> Store digital information on analogue media [IRL!]
  6. Paper [or any other real life item] - based hyperlinks</li></ul>[But they don’t necessarily need an internet connection]<br /><ul><li> Open a website, dial a phone number,read an RSS feed, send a text msg or email, schedule a calendar event, retrieve location data to help you get somewhere, share a contact card, download audio, and/or launch any app on your phone!</li></li></ul><li>
  7. How do you <br />scan a <br />QR code?<br /><ul><li>Whip out your phone
  8. Doesn’t need to be a smartphone
  9. Launch your reader
  10. Black berries & some Android phones come with software
  11. Many users will have to download an app
  12. Scan the code with your camera
  13. Enjoy magically delivered content</li></li></ul><li>All QR code readers are, sadly,not created equal. <br />
  14. Do you need an internet connection to make this magic happen?<br /><ul><li>Nope
  15. Data is encoded in the graphic itself ( “direct” code)
  16. Plain text can be returned where there’s no cell / wifi signal</li></li></ul><li>
  17. How much info can you pack in 1 of these puppies?<br />
  18. Making QR codes: all generators are [of course] not created equal.<br />Generators can produce different:<br /><ul><li>Capabilities [URLs, app store links, MP3s]
  19. Metrics / tracking
  20. Error correction levels
  21. Graphic customization
  22. Languages, sizes, URL shorteners, simultaneous Datamatrix generation...etc!</li></li></ul><li>
  23. QR codes provide great metrics.<br /><ul><li>Where are people scanning my code?
  24. Tells you whatad locations are effective
  25. Tells you which creative is working
  26. Tells you where you might want to do a pop-up store, flash mob,or other guerilla invasion
  27. When are people scanning my codes?
  28. Tells you what time of day your customer is active</li></li></ul><li>If you can’t afford fancy metrics...<br /><ul><li>You might use custom landing pages or PURLs</li></ul>or<br /><ul><li> Bit.ly & goo.gl URL shortenerslet you create & track QR codes
  29. Add “.qr” to the end of any shortened bit.ly or goo.gl link
  30. Goes to QR code that resolves to original link
  31. Allows for metrics including Google Analytics
  32. See how many “clicks”, phone OS, user path, etc </li></li></ul><li>
  33. TEST.<br /><ul><li>Scan your printed code
  34. Try several readers
  35. Try several phones
  36. Test all major OS’s
  37. Test in the light or other location conditions you expect scans to happen</li></li></ul><li>
  38. 28.2%<br />Increase in time spent with mobile devices in 2010<br />eMarketer<br />
  39. 300,000<br />Daily AndroidActivations<br />270,000<br />Daily iPhone Activations <br />Andy Rubin, Google, December 2010<br />Apple, October 2010<br />
  40. Demographics<br />Age<br />Income<br /><$50k<br />18%<br />$150-200k<br />16%<br />>$200k<br />10%<br />45-54<br />22%<br />55+<br />11%<br />< 18<br />5%<br />35-44<br />25%<br />$50-$100k<br />32%<br />18-24<br />16%<br />$100-$150k<br />24%<br />25-34<br />22%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
  41. Demographics<br />Gender<br />1 & 2D codes<br />QR codes<br />Female<br />30%<br />Female<br />64%<br />Male<br />70%<br />Male<br />36%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />The Naked Facts: QR Barcode Scanning in 2H-2010 North American data July 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
  42. Mobile OS<br />Symbian<br />3%<br />J2ME<br />1%<br />Windows<br />Mobile<br />1%<br />iPhone<br />18%<br />Blackberry 23%<br />Android 54%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
  43. Barriers to adoption.<br /><ul><li>Poorly thought out campaigns turning people off
  44. Competing systems
  45. Lack of preinstalled code scanners
  46. Current smartphone penetration
  47. But not for much longer
  48. Unclear value proposition
  49. Not sure what you’re going to get
  50. Good ad copy can help with this</li></li></ul><li>
  51. “QR Campaigns are gimmick ridden at this point. They don't create naturally extended story experiences from the real world to mobile. They are wasting people's time & people will simply cease to engage with the technology before it goes mainstream in the States”—samiam22, comment on Mashable<br />
  52. You’ve got their attention, so don’t blow it.<br /><ul><li>The tag itself is not a call to action
  53. Tell people what they’re going to get
  54. Provide friendly instructions
  55. This is no place for interruption marketing
  56. Don’t make people watch a commercial
  57. Don’t waste their time with an inane experience
  58. Provide something very useful to thank them for interacting with your brand
  59. Give people contextual content—products/services that:
  60. Make sense at the time & place / is best delivered on their phone
  61. Can be delivered instantly
  62. Save the user time</li></li></ul><li>Context = location [what makes sense/is useful where I am now: transit update, historical photos]ORContext = phone-specific [perfect info to have on my phone: contact info, Google map] ORContext = conversion [what i want to do next: buy tickets, get a deal]ORContext = attention [I’m currently interested: entertain me with more info]<br />
  63. <ul><li> Design a mobile site/experience
  64. Optimize for all major mobile browsers
  65. Light, fast-loading graphics
  66. Big buttons & easy touch navigation
  67. Make contact with brand easy[phone, email, twitter]
  68. Make sure the internet is available where the audience will scan the tag [ie not the subway or airplane]
  69. Don’t leave them hanging at the end
  70. Lead people to what they should buy/join/like/visit/share</li></ul>“Scan resolve” best practices.<br />
  71. Competition: a bit of a browser war to muddy the waters.<br /><ul><li> QR Codes aren’t the only type of 2D bar code
  72. Wide adoption in Japan with proven uses helping them gain traction here [All phones come with readers, many with RFID shells!]
  73. Microsoft is trying to dominate North America with a proprietary system called Microsoft Tag
  74. ATT&T is doing the same thing with Datamatrix
  75. Other companies creating proprietary QR systems that require their reader
  76. Open source = no champions</li></li></ul><li>
  77. The upside <br />of Tag.<br />The non-upside <br />of Tag.<br /><ul><li>Excellentmetrics
  78. Location data heat map
  79. Password protectable
  80. Can set to expire
  81. “Editable” after the brochure has gone to print
  82. Microsoft resources promoting adoption
  83. Microsoft stores & controls your data
  84. Internet connection required
  85. Some URLs blacklisted
  86. Artistic customization makes them hard to recognize
  87. Fragments the market</li></li></ul><li>
  88. So...should you use QR codes?<br /> “There is no tipping point”<br /><ul><li>You don’t need to wait if you think your audience could benefit
  89. Educate them & experiment with it</li></ul> If it makes sense & you can deliver a useful experience, go for it<br /><ul><li>Already have mobile-ready Facebook page, YouTube</li></ul>**It’s your responsibility** as a marketer / lover of new media not to:<br /><ul><li>Let clients do inane or frustrating things with QR
  90. Turn people off the technology by wasting their time</li></li></ul><li>2d-code.co.uk <br />alphagraphics.com<br />alvarobarata02.wordpress.com<br />axissalon.com<br />bestbuy.ca<br />cakestudio.ca<br />calvinklein.com<br />Chris Lamberth<br />clikbrix.com<br />emarketer.com<br />emilystrange.com<br />garage.ca<br />hbo.com<br />i-nigma.com<br />jefftallon.com<br />jetblue.com<br />Kathleen Driscoll<br />kaikaikiki.co.jp<br />Matthew Shepherd<br />ming-ling.livejournal.com<br />miltoncontact.blogspot.com<br />mobioid.com<br />mts.ca<br />mytoys.de<br />nationalpost.com<br />nbc.com<br />NYC media<br />nycresistor.com<br />Oliver Spalt<br />pandemic-design.com<br />pfsk.com<br />qrarts.com<br />qranywhere.blogspot.com<br />retailgeek.com<br />scanlife.com<br />setjapan.com<br />socialqrcode.com<br />Sophia Sengsuriya<br />space-invaders.com<br />sparqcode.com<br />time.com<br />vibe.com<br />winnipegfreepress.com<br />

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