I’m sure you have seen these boxes around, whether it be on a poster, book, point of purchase display or magazine. What are they and where did they come from? According to Wikipedia, QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that were created by the Denso-Wave subsidiary of Toyota in 1994. These codes are read using the camera on your smartphone and decoded using a QR scanner application.
According to a third-quarter 2010 Smartphone Intelligence survey by Compete.com, 28% of smarthpone users have scanned a QR or other mobile bar code. While those numbers seem small, they are on the increase, and now that scanning software is coming pre-installed on Android phones it should continue to rise. The other thing that will drive use is the fact that these codes are popping up in mainstream media.
Some examples I have seen lately:
- Best Buy places QR codes on the price placards along with other product details. The QR code points to the Best Buy website, so the user can read more information and reviews of the product.
- Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine uses QR codes in their magazine so users can grab online coupons for the magazine’s advertisers.
- Noval is a new card game that was at Toy Fair this year in New York City. They had a QR code on a sign in their booth that allowed you to like Noval’s website adding it to your Facebook stream.
There are numerous options for using these codes, just let you imagination run wild. No matter what the application, you are most likely going to use them to achieve one of the following goals:
- Extend the conversation beyond an advertisement.
- Offer a discount
Produce some type of action, a Facebook like, Foursquare checkin, etc.
One bit of advice as pointed out by my friend Siobhan, keep in mind where you place the QR code since it needs to be scanned. Case in point, name tags that may be placed where people don’t want a camera pointed. Share with us the best use of QR codes you have seen.
Check out Beth’s blog for more tips on Social Media Marketing.