QR Code Investigation
When was the last time you scanned a QR code and why?
QR code (which stands for “quick response”)
In the past few weeks the topic of the QR codes has come up a handful of times. Clients are asking if they should use it as part of their marketing mix, be part of the trend, show their business is tech relevant, make connecting with their business easy, and offer their clients a unique experience.
But I’m not so convinced its worth the effort for why they think.
A majority of my clients are serviced-based such as consultants, healthcare, education, and technology, it makes we wonder what are the national trends and usages for QR codes how can my clients best use them. So I decided to do some research to see if I could answer their questions and mine.
- What kinds of consumers are scanning?
- What will they get when they scan them?
- What kinds of businesses are using them?
- How much is it costing them to implement and manage?
- What kinds of results are they seeing?
- How do they measure results?
In this week’s Friday Reflections, I’m going to share with you my top research finds in the hopes that either you’ll discover a new element to add to your own marketing mix or you’ll discover that it may not be worth your time.
Pre-pandemic life. QR codes were popping up here and there and then popping off the scenes just as fast. It was as if marketers (and any user) weren’t sure how to best use them, but more like consumers were still wrapping their heads around what this thing was. In the early stages, users were required to download a third-party app in order to scan the black and white geometric structure, as well as use data on their cellular device. I often saw it being used for solicitation for fundraising and donations for nonprofits and nationwide causes. You’d see them on table tents in restaurants, special events, print ads, etc. But I always wondered, are people really scanning these and opting to submit an online payment to a table tent?
Then Covid-19 hit. Restaurants began displaying codes at outdoor dining tables instead of passing out menus. Schools use them for health checks at the start of the school day. Vaccine sites are using them for appointment sign-ins. If you’ve left the house at all during the pandemic, you’ve probably seen or scanned one. In education, many teachers consistently have found QR codes useful for sharing activities and links with their students.
I’ve preached plenty that you should look at statistics and data before making any decision. Evidence-based decision-making makes a huge difference in your approach, your time, and your investment. Plus, in regards to marketing, keeping in mind how you want your prospects and customers to perceive your brand is a critical element. You may decide to just test the tool and then analyze the data to see if it’s worth continuing. Be cautious of national recommendations, as they could be dramatically different than your geographical market and the environments in which you’re thinking about using a QR code to engage your ideal buyers.
And as with any marketing, the best marketing results come when applying the scientific method: ask a question, do research, construct a hypothesis, conduct experiments, analyze results, and make necessary adjustments.
Here comes the data!
(I geek out on data, I just can’t get enough!)
- According to a survey by Statista, a total of 11 million households will scan a QR code by the end of the year. Compare this to 9.76 million in 2018 and you can actually see the growth in millions every year.
- $1.65 Trillion payments were done by scanning QR codes in China
- Globally the ages tended to say the same, the 34-44-year-olds were the top scanners.
Knowing the age of your ideal target audience and knowing what you want them to do and defining what they will receive once they scan the code, will make a big difference in the final results.
After getting lost in the depths of the internet searching for the best QR uses, here was the consensus in almost every resource I found of the best use and return for QR codes.
- Making a Payment
- Accessing Discounts & Coupons*
*2017, an estimated 1.7 billion coupons were solely through QR code scanning. It doesn’t end there. By 2022, that number is expected to not just double, but increase by a factor of three at 5.3 billion.
The next best use but significantly lesser demand was:
- Packaging to allow access to more information and reordering of the product. It’s become a cornerstone in packaging standards.
Here are some other quick facts:
- QR codes are getting an enormous push by the retail industry, social media platform, education, initiations, and brand awareness.
- More people are integrating QR codes into their daily lives engaging in them more frequently and looking for products that are implementing them efficiently.
- According to Apple, 92% of its devices are QR code-ready. This is after they introduced the QR code reading feature in the camera app ever since iOS 12.
- Street artists are now using QR Codes to get tips. Though highly talented, street artists are underpaid. So a lot of them now include QR Codes in their artwork such as graffiti which links to their cryptocurrency wallet. Which makes perfect sense because how many of us actually carry cash these days?
Marketing technique that served the best for business stats.
- 30% QR codes were scanned on mail and emails
- 27% on various magazines
- 21% on street posters
- 21% on retail packaging
- 13% on apps and websites
- 7% on visual screens
50 QR Code Uses for Marketing
Here’s another great idea hub of ways to implement a QR code into your marketing. Whichever method you choose to use, make sure to have a clear call to action of why to scan and what they will get once scanned. LEARN MORE
My favorite from this list were:
- Newsletter Subscription Sign Up
- Customer Surveys
- Video Introductions
- Scan to Call
How to use QR codes on Business Cards
If you’re considering putting a QR code on your business card, take into serious consideration where you are sending the user and be clear about what they will receive once they arrived at the scan destination. Here is a link of tips on scan destination ideas. LEARN MORE
QR Code Investment & Managing
Free QR code generators are a good place to start if your needs are simple and you just want to create one QR code. If you are planning to execute multi-channel marketing campaigns using codes, or have a specific design or feature needs, then a paid platform offers more flexibility. Just make sure you keep an inventory of what codes are placed where and track how they are performing.
- Static QR Codes – Typically these are free codes with one link and limited tracking. If you start with a free static QR code, make sure to use a trackable link so that you can measure results and get a bit more data. Free trackable links can be made with Bitly.
- Dynamic QR codes – Paid codes allow you to change the link of the code so that you can change the intention and get better results and/or be fluid with your marketing campaigns and code intentions.
QR Code Generators
Below is a list of code generators I commonly found encouraged by tech experts. You’ll have to align your needs, purpose, goals, budget, to determine which one is best for you.
- QRCode Tiger
- Web QR
- QR Stuff
- Shopify Shopcode App
- QRCode Monkey
That’s a lot of info right?
I hope you were able to learn a little bit to help you generate ideas for if, why, how, and where to use QR codes in your marketing efforts. Let me know which you choose and how they worked for you, I’d love to hear!
As always, if you need help digging in, just snag an Engage60 consultation with me.
Engage60 is a heavily packed 60-minute working engagement where we can dig in! The consultation will be an engaging conversation about your business, target audience, growth goals, and how to get there. In the high-energy consultation, we will create a list of marketing ideas inspired by the goals that will deliver you results. Clients love these meetings because it is a one-on-one consultation solely based on creating ideas that will help you reach your business’ goals and providing you with the resources and action steps you need to get it done. Learn more.