Why mobile visual search may trump QR codes

Why mobile visual search may trump QR codes

Content Writer: Matt Rowe Matt Rowe Chief Technical Officer

The potential of QR codes has always been there - they're an inventive way to integrate advanced smartphone technology and create mobile marketing calls to action.

However, a recent study from comScore revealed that, despite the promise, adoption of the technology has been stagnant. A mere 14 million American mobile device users - or less than 5 percent of the American public - have scanned a QR code.

The disconnect lies in the extra steps and advanced technology that many people can't be hassled with, Mashable explains. In order to take advantage of a QR code, you need a smartphone - so, that eliminates a certain demographic right there. Next, you need to download the correct QR code viewing software to your phone. People who value their phone's memory or simply view this as an unnecessary step will be lost as well. Lastly, as seen in the comScore study, many people still don't even know what a QR code is. To many, it's just a confusing square barcode.

What's more, some people are turned off by the security risks inherent in QR codes. Because its entire purpose is to store data within the code, there's no way to know where it will take you - maybe to an actual website, or possibly to an infected site or malicious app.

"Humans are visual animals. We have visceral reactions to images that a QR code can never evoke; what we see is directly linked to our moods, our purchasing habits and our behaviors," the news source explains. "It makes sense, then, that a more visual alternative to QR codes would not only be preferable to consumers, but would most likely stimulate more positive responses to their presence."

Enter mobile visual search (MVS).

This new technology allows you to utilize the camera that's already built into your phone to snap pictures of a product or company logo - and even provides the option to make a purchase on the spot.

"With MVS, you are interacting with images that are familiar and desirable, not a square of code that elicits no reaction," the media outlet adds.

Once a picture is snapped, local internet marketers that engage in MVS can send you to videos, mobile links, coupons, discounts or other incentives. They can also link campaigns to social media networks to allow you to share photos or discounts with friends and followers.

Lastly, you don't need to worry about security, as MVS offers "encryption modality" that "eliminates the opportunity for malicious code to download to your smartphone," the news source explains. 

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