The rise and rise of QR codes


There’s a lot of hype floating around the internet about QR code technology, and with good reason, the use and number of people scanning them has risen faster than your grandmother’s 100% yeast loaf. While the technology has been around for over a decade, the proper execution of it is still in its infancy.

QR codes (Quick Response codes) are those square 2D barcodes that you see (increasingly) on some forms of print advertisements, such as magazines, business cards, posters & there are even plans to cover entire hotels with giant versions of them. Their basic aim is to allow people to scan them using an app on their smartphone or tablet, which then takes them to a webpage that (hopefully) has further information about a brand or product. The benefits are many, the most obvious being saving the user and their sausage-like digits from prodding frantically at a touchscreen to enter an often ludicrously long URL into the mobile browser.

So what’s with all the negativity surrounding these magical little squares? I feel the fault lies not with the technology itself, but on the shaky shoulders of the marketeers whose execution of this technology is often at best, ill planned… There are countless examples of QR codes being slapped on an advertisement & pointed to a poorly mobile-optimised site, which rewards the user with a free bit of spam. You can see with such an example why QR would get a bad rep, for this misuse of the technology benefits neither the consumer nor the business and results in a complete waste of time for the involved. One example of particularly stupid execution was that of QR codes being purposely put on advertisements in the subway, where obviously no network coverage existed, at all… Nice one JetBlue, better luck next time.

However keep thy faith friends, there is huge potential for this technology if brands are to utilise it properly. These codes have the ability to bridge the gap between online & offline through the rapidly spreading medium of mobile marketing. Used correctly and with the consumer in mind, this technology could be the answer to capturing the audience & sales that currently evade a business.

To add to the magic hidden within these codes, there exists the possibility to track how people interact with them, if the offer is appealing enough to entice people to scan the code, the ability is within them to instantly capture precious consumer data and more.

The figures are also there to support the buzz, in Q3 of last year there was a 1400% increase in QR code scanning on smartphones (source: This evidence suggests that users are now more aware of how this technology works and more inclined to adopt the use of QR into their habits.

So if you are thinking of including QR codes in your next marketing spend here are 3 golden rules to follow when dreaming up your next QR campaign:

  1. Give it a purpose – make it worthwhile for the user, there is nothing worse than scanning a QR code and getting taken to a pointless spam-like webpage, it will just result in frustrating and disappointing the consumer, plus harm your brand’s good name.
  2. Give an incentive – everyone loves to get something for free. Put yourself in the consumers shoes, what would you scan a QR code for if there be no reward?
  3. And lastly, though this may be obvious, please do make sure wherever your QR code is going to be displayed that you have decent reception…

With the implementation and scanning of QR codes growing at such a rapid rate, it’s the perfect time to get on board with this technology. If you would like to discover the true potential that QR code technology can offer your business, holler at us.

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