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QR codes not penetrating, but still well-recognized

Here are some stats to consider if you're beginning a mobile campaign using mobile 2-D barcodes (QR codes). According to a recent survey from advertising tracking firm Competitrack, just 4 percent of print ads in the U.S. contained QR codes last year, and of that total, general commerce and product information was the most popular form of content delivered (40.7 percent).

Other uses for QR codes in 2011 included branding (23.2 percent), video (12.7 percent), signup forms (7.8 percent) and miscellaneous (3.5 percent).

What's more, open source QR codes saw almost 90 percent market penetration, as many advertisers feel that although some consumers may not know the name of the barcodes, most have a decent idea of what they are.

Specifically, a recent Chadwick Martin Bailey study revealed that while 79 percent of the American public haven't heard of QR codes, 81 percent can identify a code if shown one. Also, the most popular reason people typically scan the codes is because they're curious about what they will do, not to gain exclusive content or buy something.

In terms of different industries' use of the codes, certain sectors seem reluctant to take advantage of the technology, such as healthcare services (3 percent), telecom (3.4 percent), publishing and communications (3.4 percent), automotive (3.8 percent), apparel (4 percent) and food and beverage (5 percent).

Industries more likely to use the technology included cosmetics and personal care (6.3 percent), financial services (6.7 percent), technology (13.6 percent) and retail, at a whopping 21 percent.

If you want to see a specific example of a retail company making the most of QR codes, check out New York-based pharmacy Duane Reade's recent mobile marketing campaign.

According to Mobile Marketer, the "Get social with Duane Reade" campaign places mobile barcodes on store windows to drive social media hits and foot traffic.

"QR codes are great for busy New Yorkers that are always on the go and mesh perfectly with the high-concentration of smartphone and tablet usage in the New York Metro area," Calvin Peters, public relations and communication manager at Duane Reade, New York, told the news source.

Users who scan the barcodes are taken to the company's mobile weekly deals site, which shows items of the week on sale and provides GPS to find the store closest to you. 

Content Writer: Aaron Boggs Aaron Boggs President

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