Leveraging QR codes
by JoAnn DeLuna at DMNews.com
Mobile marketing has become an essential component of the overall direct marketing experience as more consumers adopt smartphones and tablets. As the technology has evolved, run-of-the-mill mobile marketing practices such as SMS and push notifications have given way to more sophisticated practices such as quick response, or QR, codes and location-based services (LBS).
A recent comScore report showed that of the nearly 98 million U.S. smartphone users — which represents 42% of all U.S. mobile users — one in five scanned a QR code in December 2011. LBS marketing is also projected to increase to $6 billion by 2015, according to a 2010 Borrell Associates report. This includes laptops, tablets and GPS, in addition to mobile phones. A Berg Insight report, released January 2012, had a lower prediction of LBS marketing revenue in North America at $710 million by 2016. LBS was defined as location-based apps and ads.
Hence, the opportunities for marketers are many, but a well-conceived strategy is crucial.
Location is key
QR codes are cropping up on just about everything, from magazines to packaging, from billboards to moving vehicles, the bikini bottoms of Britain’s female Olympic volleyball team to tombstones in Germany.
Some placements obviously work better than others. “I’ve never understood why codes would be placed in TV ads,” says Chia Chen, SVP of digital atDigitas. By the time a consumer opens the app needed to scan the code, the commercial is probably over, he explains. Codes on moving vehicles are another head scratcher.
Proximity to codes plays an important role in their success. Chen says codes should be within arms’ reach and big enough to register easily. While codes placed on subway ads seem like a good idea, the size of the code may not be big enough to scan unless the person is sitting directly by the poster. The same goes for codes on billboards — people will be too far away.
Additionally, a person sitting next to an ad on the subway might be underground and not have an Internet connection. The same goes for codes placed in airline magazines.
Still, Chen says codes in magazines have been the most successful placements.
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