Study predicts the rise of QR codes in 2012

According to a recent survey commissioned by AT&T, mobile barcodes (QR codes) ranked as one of the mobile marketing strategies most likely to make a splash in 2012.

A total of 501 marketing and advertising professionals were polled to better understand the attitudes of executives about mobile marketing and QR codes going forward.

Specifically, 88 percent of respondents stated that they expect their mobile marketing initiatives to increase over the next 12 months. While the creation of mobile apps ranked as companies' top interest at 43 percent, mobile barcodes followed closely at 41 percent. Furthermore, 66 percent said they agree that QR codes will "drive innovation in mobile marketing" in the coming year.

"With the growing popularity of smartphones and the increasing dependence on mobile devices, it's only natural that marketing executives want to turn up the volume on their mobile strategies next year," said Chris Hill, vice president of advanced mobility solutions.

The top reasons respondents pointed out for using QR codes in future marketing campaigns were their security, affordability and high consumer demand. Also, 33 percent believe mobile barcodes will increase product awareness, and nearly 50 percent expect it to help their brands engage with customers.

A recent study from GfK MRI Starch revealed additional statistics about the impact of QR codes in magazines. Researchers studied more than 72,000 ads between January and August, finding that 5 percent of them contained QR codes, according to AdWeek. While it may not seem like much, it actually represents a marked improvement from the second half of 2010, when just 1.3 percent of barcodes were present.

Furthermore, of those who viewed an ad, 5 percent followed through and took a picture of it using their cellphones.

In a specific example, media and marketing company Meredith explained to the news source that it uses Microsoft tags in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home and Family Circle. Representatives claim that at least 10 to 20 percent of people who photograph the code use it in some way.

Additional findings from the AT&T study indicated that 40 percent of mobile marketers plan to use banner ads in 2012, followed by mobile web (35 percent), SMS messages (34 percent) and digital signage (17 percent). Furthermore, 17 percent stated they plan to use all of the marketing strategies mentioned in the survey.