The QR Code Boom
Years after the pandemic, it’s clear that some changes are here to stay- whether for convenience, comfort, or both. We have discovered the efficiency of hybrid work settings and home deliveries. We have realized the importance of enhanced health safety in public spaces. And for some reason, we have fallen in love with QR Codes.
The flailing technology from the 90s made its comeback during the pandemic- a no-contact solution to instantly transmitting information. Is it the convenience of QR Codes that people admire or the intriguing patterns within? To begin to understand this phenomenon, let’s start by exploring how and why it works.
How QR Codes Work
Barcodes use bars and dashes to store information horizontally. QR Codes kick it up a notch by storing information vertically and horizontally. The dots and empty spaces make up binary code that any computer or phone can read. This makes it perfect for embedding short URLs that lead to landing pages. And after that, your imagination (or your Dev team) is the limit.
Why It Works SO WELL
In 2017, Apple pioneered the trend by enabling QR Code scanning directly from the iPhone's camera app. This set the stage for all smartphones to follow suit. Everyone with a smartphone (i.e. the majority of people with phones) can easily scan a QR Code. Now that’s sheer convenience!
Next is standardization. Have you ever noticed the three boxes that show up in the same spot in every QR Code? The founders of the QR Code ensured that all QR Codes always looked the same in design. This uniformity allows your phone to instantly recognize and scan QRs within a millisecond. As with any new technology, standardization is the holy grail.
Simply put, it just works well. The standardization of QR Codes and the fact that everyone has the equipment to scan them has turned it into one of the most accessible pieces of technology of our generation.
Why YOU Should Be Using QR Codes
1. Perfect Fit for Digital Marketing
In digital marketing, directing viewers to specific landing pages is crucial. Enter QR Codes - the ultimate delivery method for your digital campaigns. A Pureprofile survey of 100 senior advertising professionals revealed that 99% believe leveraging QR Codes is key for successfully targeting Gen Z, with 98% recognizing their potential in Digital Out of Home Advertising (DOOH).
2. Place It Anywhere
A versatile square stamp, scalable to any size. Digital advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. Place it on billboards or display it on your jumbotron driving in-venue activations. Place it on your merch or get coordinated drones flying in its shape. If your phone can see it, it can scan it.
3. Room for Error and Complete Customization
One of the reasons why QR Codes can be placed anywhere is due to its built-in error correction. Up to 30% of a QR Code can be damaged and still be scannable. If durability is not an issue, you can use that 30% for custom branding. Keep it classy by placing your logo in the center and changing the color of the dots to match your brand identity.
4. Leverage Curiosity and Simplicity
How many times have you seen a QR Code at a random location and wondered where it would lead you if scanned? We humans have a natural affinity for the unknown; and if you have the key to the door, why wouldn't you enter? People love scanning QR Codes - even when not prompted. Harness this curiosity.
5. A/B Testing & Different Attribute Tracking
Is there anything marketers love more than A/B testing? The ease of creating and distributing QR Codes makes it the perfect instrument for tracking analytics. Create multiple QR Codes; all tracking different audiences and placed in different locations. Tweak the copy for your posters and put different QR Codes on different versions to analyze what works best.
Our Favorite Examples From Sports and Entertainment
During their 2022 Super Bowl commercial, Coinbase displayed a floating QR Code that changed colors as it bounced off the edges of people’s screens. This was an imitation of the floating DVD screensaver from the 2000s. The simple ad generated 20 million website visits in just 60 seconds.
2. UCF Knights Football
The UCF Knights put QR Codes on each player’s jerseys replacing their names and numbers. When scanned, it led to a page with the athlete’s information, stats, and official social media handles- a part of their NIL marketing efforts to promote their players and increase athlete exposure.
3. Marvel “Moon Knight”
Marvel sneaked in a couple of QR codes in the first, second, and fifth episodes of their show “Moon Knight”. Fans were quick to spot it and once scanned, it led them to a page with free Moon Knight comics. The comics provided extra context on the character and promoted Marvel's digital comic book subscription campaign. This website was visited by a whopping 1.5 million people.
4. Netflix "Love Death + Robots"
Netflix witnessed similar success as they too hid QR Codes throughout the new season of their popular show “Love Death Robots.” As eagle-eyed fans scanned these codes, they discovered freshly minted NFTs and a special Digital Scavenger Hunt. These campaigns are a testament to people’s curiosity for QR Codes.
5. AFL Be The DJ
Our partners MKTG executed the Be The DJ campaigns during the AFL Finals Series using QR Codes. Fans scanned a QR Code displayed on the jumbotron, directing them to a site where they could vote for halftime tunes. The campaign ran eight times during the Quarters and Semis and twice during the Grand Finals. A notable 10% of the sold-out stadium participated in this live activation.
2024 and Beyond
1. Growing Acceptance
The popularity of QR Codes might seem like they are plateauing, but stats show that QRs are still on the road to reaching their full potential. A survey by eMarketer indicates that 89.5% of smartphone users over the age of 18 scanned QR codes for payments or other use cases in 2023. This number is predicted to reach 99.5% by 2025.
2. Dynamic QR Codes
QR Codes previously had an issue; they could not be changed once they were distributed. This has now been resolved with the growing adoption of Dynamic QR Codes. Dynamic QR Codes contain a link that redirects scanners to a secondary link once scanned. The secondary link can be changed at any time, even after the primary QR Code has been distributed.
3. Growing Adoption
QR Codes are not limited to directing users to marketing landing pages. Brands now use QR Codes on products to provide additional information, without compromising design space. Other organizations use QR Codes to efficiently facilitate transactions.
For example, India’s homegrown digital payment system primarily leverages QR Codes to initiate transactions. The world’s most populous country transfers over a trillion dollars annually using QR Codes. Their Prime Minister claims that 40% of all real-time digital transactions in the world happen in India.
QR Codes And Tradable Bits
Tradable Bits automatically generates a dynamic QR Code for every single one of its 40+ engagement campaigns. After you configure your campaign, you can deliver it to your fans with a QR Code placed anywhere you like.
Every Landing Tracker you create on Tradable Bits also generates a QR Code. If you don’t want your fans to have to type out even a shorter link, just use the QR Code. This is a great opportunity to create multiple trackers with QR Codes for A/B testing.
All QR Codes on the platform are fully customizable and dynamic. Change the color of the dots and spaces according to your branding needs and add your logo in the center. Make your QR Codes stand out.
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