What exactly are QR Codes?
QR Codes (Quick Response) were designed in 1994 by a branch of the Toyota Group to track developing in progress. The idea behind QR Codes was to allow its contents to be decoded at a high speed. Now in 2012, and with the ever-progressing technology in mobile phones, QR Codes store different types of data for the average smartphone user. QR Codes are scan-based images that allow consumers to link directly to media about a certain product (or anything, really). There’s a huge customer base; over 140 million people in the world are iPhone users. They’re picking up steam- in June of 2011, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR code. 58% scanned from home, 39%scanned from stores. QR codes have been printed on Chinese train tickets since 2009. There are tons of free and pay QR code-generating sites and apps; Google and Facebook have generators for it:
Where can you find QR Codes?
- Business Cards
- Any print medium
The nerdy stuff:
Thanks to our friends at Mobile-Barcodes.com, we can better understand some of the actual inner-workings of a QR Code:
QR-Codes are capable of handling of sorts of data, including numbers, alphabetic characters, Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary and control codes.
A total of 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol alone.
|QR-Code Data Capacities|
|Numeric only||Max 7,089 characters|
|Alphanumeric||Max 4,296 characters|
|Binary (8 bits)||Max 2,953 bytes|
|Kanji, full-width Kana||Max 1,817 characters|
So what does this mean for you?
As an individual, it means that when someone hands you a business card with a QR-Code on the back, all you have to do is scan it to put their name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number(s), etc. on your phone. Basically, it makes your life easier. As a marketer, it means that QR Codes can be placed on your products, labels, website, social networks, pamphlets, handouts, etc. to promote a campaign, provide further information, give contact information, and make the process so quick and easy that your customers engage without a losing any time.
The best part of QR Codes is that you can track your individual code to see the extent of interaction, where, when, and what time. This of course will help your business know where to place QR Codes in the future for the best visibility. Both bit.ly and Google URL shorteners will help you track your QR Code.
Specific Marketing Strategies:
- Links to videos or brand websites, increases traffic and raising awareness
- Incorporate with other social media like Facebook- can link to a “Like” page and boost popularity
- Incentives systems like free gifts with linking to the Marlboro page
- The immediate nature of QR codes means the content should be updated regularly; most codes have shifted from static HTMLs to constantly updating material
- Avoid doing this:
Some Social Media Uses:
- Can link to a “Like” page and boost popularity
- Links to sharing options, so viewers can easily share whatever content that was linked from Facebook
- Facebook is shifting to photo and status QR codes that appear below
- the “Photos of me” links
- Links to Twitter profile after a company logo to boost Followers
- Scanners can share Twitter content after being sent to Twitter page
Let’s talk data:
QR Codes can contain the following:
- Contact Information
- E-mail Address
- Phone Number
- Plain Text
- Geo Location
- Calendar Event
- Wifi Network Key
- URL Link
QR Codes in the future:
Marketers should note that QR codes are considered more of a temporary trend, a stepping stone to advance to more direct forms of media.
Public sentiment is only lukewarm, with most people being neutral:
Resources & Further Exploration: