So you’ve secured your marketing budget for 2013 and now want to connect with your customers via mobile. Since all research indicates that the majority of them have a smartphone, you know it’s the right move.
Now “all” you need are original ideas. Fear not my friend, as you’ve come to the right place. What follows is a recap of some of the best and quirkiest mobile barcode campaigns, as well as tips and tricks to help maximize your results.
Best 2012 QR Code campaigns
For a review of the best campaigns of last year, we invite you to check the following blog posts:
So now that you’re feeling inspired, it’s always good to pause and consider best practices. After all, one of the advantages of mobile campaigns and QR Codes in particular is that you will be able to measure the results; so you may as well maximize them:
Do’s and Don’ts
In two excellent blog posts, David Moth, from eConsultancy, looks at several QR Code campaigns and dissects their strengths and weaknesses. The first post looks at six campaigns from well-known brands such as Lacoste, Toyota, Police, HMV, Helly Hansen, and Go Entertain. In a second blog post, he analyzes a Toyota campaign, by far the best of the lot. These are a must read for any marketer who aspires to create bold and exciting mobile barcode campaigns. While the author does a great job at analysing the execution of the campaigns, it is important to emphasize the fact that mobile engagement differs from traditional digital marketing in several meaningful ways:
Having established the framework for mobile engagement, here are the 8 commandments of successful QR Code campaigns:
1. Make sure it fits within your business and marketing strategy. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often it seems that a QR Code was slapped on a print material as an afterthought, in a “because I can” sort of way. Don’t waste such an opportunity. Create a new sales channel. Enhance your CRM efforts. Connect with your consumers. Get deeper consumer insights. In summary – execute with a clear purpose in mind.
2. Guarantee your campaign creates real value for your audience. Ask yourself: what value am I bringing to them? Are you sending them to your e-commerce website? Or are you giving them exclusive information or special deals? Are you asking them for their opinion and feedback? Is it content that will motivate them to scan again in the future? If you can’t think of a compelling reason for them to scan, then it’s probably not worth it.
3. Link to a mobile optimized site. If you’re still hesitant on the possibility of linking to your non-mobile-optimized website, then these results from Google will almost certainly make your mind up for you: On the one hand, 50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly. On the other, 74% of people say they’re more likely to return to a mobile friendly site, and 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service. Do we need to say more?
4. Make a clear call-to-action (CTA). It is crucial that you give information on why it’s worth scanning your QR Code and possibly brief instructions on how to download a QR Code reader. Also, make sure you place CTAwhere they can be seen. If a user sees a QR Code just floating around without any indication on why they should scan, they are highly less likely do so. A compelling CTA can double or triple your scanning and conversion rates.
5. Think about the QR Code placement. Before you place the code on the back of a racing car or on a TV commercial, ask yourself: will people notice it? Can they safely, and comfortably, scan the QR Code? Do they have enough time to scan the QR Code? Will they have a data connection? Remember: mobile engagement is contextual. Turn this into your advantage, not the contrary.
6. Size does matter: The smaller the QR Code, the more difficult it will be to scan it, plus the closer the user will have to be to the code. If you use the ScanLife QR Code generator, you can safely print codes which are 0.75 inch (1.9 cm) large. Moreover, the scan distance to QR Code size will be roughly 7:1 (in other words, a 1 inch code can be scanned from a 7 inch distance).
With other QR Code generators, we recommend you set the minimum to 1 inch (2.4 cm) and keep the scan distance to QR Code size ratio to 10:1.
7. Test your codes. Realizing that the QR Code you printed on all your collateral isn’t working can be a soul crushing experience. We have seen countless examples of embarrassing – and often very expensive – mistakes: a typo in the URL, a QR Code printed on a shiny curved package, making the code too dense etc. At ScanLife, we’ve almost completely eliminated these problems because customers can edit the QR Code content , or the action it triggers at any time, and as often as desired. In addition, our engineers are continuously testing to ensure that ScanLife codes work on all the millions of devices and apps available around the globe. But this is not necessarily the case with other QR Code generators. Whatever the circumstances and QR Code generator you use, test the codes with different apps, different devices, from different angles and distances. Don’t become the butt of a joke.
8. Track the results of your campaign. QR Codes are one of the easiest and most practical ways to measure the impact of your campaign and acquire rich consumer insights. Top tier mobile engagement platforms such as ScanLife, will help you understand who scans, how often, when, where, what happens after the scan, and more. Marketers get a proxy for the ROI of their print advertisement, identify which billboard ad works and which do not, etc. In fact, performance tracking and consumer insights data is one of, if not, the greatest values that modern mobile engagement platforms bring. Don’t miss out.
For expert advice on mobile engagement…
Does your CMO or CEO still hesitate to make investments in a mobile-optimized presence? You’re not the only one, as plenty of brands continue to resist it. To help make this decision easier for you, Google shared the results of 1,088 U.S. adult smartphone users surveyed in July 2012 by independent market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger. In a nutshell…
The situation today:
When things go wrong:
When things go well:
Given these glaring statistics, if your CMO or CEO still doesn’t see the value in building a mobile presence, we think it may be time for a job change. Seriously.
Looking for Great Examples?
Last but not least, if you’re seeking some great inspiration for inspired mobile campaigns, experiences and websites, check out Mobile Marketer’s summary of the Best of Mobile 2012. There you’ll find which advertisers, agencies, apps and website utilized mobile the most effectively (and it’s with great joy to see two nominees, Starbucks and Taco Bell, used ScanLife to power their mobile campaigns. For more information on these two campaigns go here and here).
As 2012 comes to a close, it’s always good to take a step back to reflect on the evolution of everything over the past year. 12 months are an eternity in the mobile space and 2012 has been particularly full of innovations and remarkable events. Here are some of the year’s highlights:
SUMMER 2012 OLYMPICS –THE FIRST MOBILE GAMES EVER
The London Olympics have been to Mobile Engagement what Woodstock has been to Rock ‘n Roll: the moment where Mobile Engagement officially joined the mainstream by becoming the focal point of social, m-commerce, location-based experiences, and apps. The ScanLife Mobile Engagement Platform helped bring all of these experiences to life, generating 36% more connections than Foursquare check-ins during the games, according to published LOCOG numbers. Check out the Olympics video and case study to see it all in action: Olympics webpage to download the case study!
APPLE LAUNCHES THE IPHONE 5 WITH PASSBOOK
After months of speculation, Apple finally released its 4G-enabled iPhone 5. Of all its new features, the one we are most thrilled about is Passbook. The proto-wallet stores boarding passes, loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets etc. to display the information in the form of a mobile barcode (QR Code, PDF-417, and Aztec) to be used in a store, concert venue or wherever appropriate. It’s a big first step towards enabling m-commerce, m-payments, and m-identity, and more. This approach exposes mobile barcodes to millions of people around the world and is among the best things that could happen for the mobile barcode industry. Thank you Apple!
NEW APP. NEW FUN.
2012 will be known as the year when scanning mobile barcodes became fun. The ScanLife app now includes new social features: users can like what they’ve scanned and share their favourites with their networks – a great way to create gift wish lists. Users can also create an electronic contact card in the form of a QR Code right from the app: enter your details et voila! You can share your contact details in one scan with the “QRcard” feature. The app is now sexier too: iOS users can choose over 20 themes. Dreaming of the beach? We have a cool summer theme – palm trees included. If you’re more of a sports nut we have an entire pack dedicated to baseball, basketball, football, and more. On the other hand, Android users are enjoying a whole new user interface with The Hub. The Hub is the first thing you see when you open the app, and it gives you easy access to everything in ScanLife – your history of scans, live scan activity from around the world, the ability to customize your scanner screen from Settings, and of course the scanner itself from a super cool animated iris. All of these new features are just the beginning in a major evolution to make it easier than ever for users to discover and share information.
Intrigued? Try it out yourself:
THE MAJORITY OF MOBILE USERS OWN A SMARTPHONE. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU?
2012 marks the first time when the majority of mobile users possess a smartphone in the USA and Europe. This fact has profound implications for businesses: smartphones now serve as the most common starting point for our digital lives across devices with nearly 100% of smartphone owners using their device to go online every day, 85% of smartphone owners seeking local information and 1 in 5 make a purchase after finding that information. As a result, mobile is evolving into a channel in its own right. The table below shows the most popular mobile tactics businesses use to engage their customers, according to research by eConsultancy.
Several factors explain the prominence of QR Codes as a mobile channel. For one, they’ve become a highly effective medium when executed properly. Research by Nellymoser shows that average response rate is 6.4%, versus only 4.4% for Direct Mail and the 4.3% for catalogs, according the Direct Marketing Association. Indeed, as our own trend report shows, 2D barcode scanning increased 71% during 2012.
THE RISE OF MOBILE-SAVVY RETAILERS… AND CONSUMERS
Retail is perhaps the domain where Mobile Engagement has had the greatest impact. Research by eConsultancy shows that the number of consumers who have made a purchase on mobile since 2011 have more than doubled, from 12% to 28% in the US and 13% to 25% and in the UK. For retailers and brands, this trend brings unprecedented opportunity to connect with shoppers. For example, Tesco, which pioneered the concept of virtual store during 2011, extended its virtual stores in Q1. As a result, their app is now the number one shopping app in Korea, with nearly one million downloads since it was launched last April. The most impressive of all is Chinese retailer Yihaodian, which opened 1,000 virtual stores located in iconic areas of Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The video below shows what a virtual store looks like.
The ubiquity of mobile has also caused the “showrooming” effect, which is the tendency consumers have to go to a brick and mortar store to do for merely research and then purchase the goods online. In fact, in the UK, 43% of respondents said they had used their mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping (up from 19% in 2011). Among US consumers, the number has increased from 20% to 50% year over year. Our whitepaper, “The Showrooming Effect. How Retailers can use QR Codes to Create Opportunity”, outlines several ways to tackle this obstacle.
SCANLIFE UNLEASHES A SMARTER MOBILE ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM
To help brands create more relevant mobile experiences, the ScanLife team worked around the clock to launch dynamic new features:
1 – Mobile Landing Pages with Analytics
To aid our customers in understanding post-scan behaviors, we’ve added another valuable piece of business intelligence to the ScanLife platform: any ScanLife business customer that creates mobile landing pages from our platform can now view click-tracking data generated from those pages. Learn what this means for your business now.
2 – Language Detection
We already have codes that change dynamically based on the operating system or number of scans. Now we are thrilled to announce our latest innovation which uses language detection to deliver content that is unique to the language of the user’s device. Find out how it can be used here.
3 – Designer Codes
In April, ScanLife released custom design functionality, where marketers can create a custom design code, with their logo embedded, in seconds. But wait, it gets better: our QRcheck™ technology automatically verifies the readability of the code. If it doesn’t meet a certain level of readability, it will automatically warn the creator. Discover more now.
AND THE WINNER IS…
December was another fun month here at ScanLife! Our highlight was been winning the Business award for Mashable’s Innovation Index for 2012. We’re completely honoured and humbled to be recognized among the prestigious group of leaders who are revolutionizing the digital and social landscape around us. You can check out Mashable’s formal announcement here. This award is especially meaningful for our entire team at ScanLife, which is driven by the mission to create new and better ways to transform our lives through technology. We’re grateful to everyone who voted and appreciate your continued support of what we do here.
As we look to 2013, we are more energized than ever to develop new ideas, push the boundaries of possibility, and unlock tomorrow’s innovations.
We wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
As smartphone adoption skyrockets, so do the studies documenting its impact on shopper behavior.
Among the latest additions is research by Deloitte which shows that “smartphones currently influence 5.1% of annual retail store sales, translating to $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012 […] This total is expected to grow to 19%, or $689 billion in brick-and-mortar transactions by 2016. […] Consumers who use a mobile phone while they are shopping are 14% more likely to make an in-store purchase than those who do not use the device.”
The sheer scale and irreversibility of this phenomenon has left retailers with no choice but to embrace it. Indeed, several experiments show how the most resourceful can reap great benefits. They tend to fall into two categories:
I. Improving the shopping experience
This category consists of improving the in-store shopping experience. A good example is Starbucks, which placed QR Codes throughout its stores to promote the new Verismo coffee maker. Consumers who scan the code can learn about the product, see what others have to say and even buy it then and there (with free shipping as an added incentive). They can also search for other Starbucks items to purchase, sign up for the company’s newsletter, connect with the brand via social media and receive a 10% coupon off of their next order.
Another example is Sainsbury’s Scan & Go proposition. Users can shop with their smartphones and pay at the the counter without unloading their bags. Though still in trial mode, a few select shoppers can download the app and register using their loyalty card. While in store, they need to scan the ‘Check In’ QR Code at the location and then use the phone’s camera to scan barcodes on products as they shop. As items are added, a running total shows how much the customer is spending and any possible savings along the way. Customers then scan the ‘Check Out’ QR Code at the counter and pay as usual with cash or card.
II. Extending the retail environment
The idea is to use mobile technologies to extend the retail environment beyond shopping hours or the physical boundaries of your brick-and-mortar retail stores, and to do so without the incurring costs that typically go along with it.
The ‘Eat What You Read’ campaign by the Advertising Agency Grey Group in Hong Kong illustrates this concept: edible QR Code cookies were given away for free to consumers in popular cafes. When scanned, they offered smartphone owners the opportunity to download a free trial e-book. According to the agency, 8,000 QR Code cookies were distributed in one week. The campaign, which cost approx. $5,000, resulted in increased visits to the client’s website by 45% and sales by 12%.
An experiment led by Paypal also nicely demonstrates this idea: a QR Code is stuck to the store front window and passers-by can scan the items on display, select the desired color/size and buy it with PayPal in just one click.
Virtual stores take it even further. Tesco in South Korea kicked off this model during the summer of 2011, and has since been enthusiastically adopted by many retailers, some of which we covered today and others here in former blogs. Although retailers have been secretive about the results of these campaigns, the increase of virtual stores show no signs of slowing down.
However, perhaps the most impressive of all is Chinese retailer Yihaodian, which opened 1,000 virtual stores located in iconic areas of Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. They also strategically placed the stores directly in front of Yihaodian’s offline competitor brick-and-mortar supermarket stores.
For expert advice or questions on QR Codes and mobile engagement opportunities consider reaching out:
- Visit ScanLife.com
- Attend Webinar: A Practical Guide to Mobile Engagement with QR Codes
- Join LinkedIn Group “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement”
- Or, simply contact us at email@example.com
To keep you covered on all things mobile and QR Code related, we have our dashing British correspondent blogging right from the epicenter of the Olympic Games.
In our latest Olympic blog post we shared some of the QR codes we saw in print advertisements. Now that the Olympics Games have begun in earnest, reality is exceeding expectations: Olympic signage and information can be found in nearly every street of London, its airports, public transports, etc. More often than not they feature a QR code! Moreover, around the Olympic parks, businesses are also adding QR codes on their windows to connect with passing customers.
Without further ado, here are a few pictures we captured around town.
Arriving at Heathrow Airport
Stratford Tube station (next to the Olympic park)
Window display in Stratford
T-Minus 1 Day until the start of the Olympic Mobile Games…
To keep you covered on all things mobile and QR Code related, we’ll have our dashing British correspondent blogging right from the epicenter of the Olympic Games.
In anticipation for the games, the streets of London are gradually filling up with visitors and… QR Codes.
A few weeks ago we spotted this Olympic ad in the local newspapers, where people can browse and shop for Olympic memorabilia, find the closest brick and mortar store around town, Like on Facebook or Follow on Twitter – all by scanning the QR Code!
Over the last week, may codes have been popping up, and below are just a couple we’ve discovered.
Get into the Olympic spirit and try the codes out yourself: just click on the image to zoom in and use your favorite QR reader – we always recommend ScanLife app
If you’d like to know more about how to carry out great QR Code campaigns, join the Exchanging Smarter Ideas for Mobile Engagement Linkedin group, visit www.scanlife.com or contact us by sending a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
At ScanLife, we’re always excited to see QR Codes used in unique and innovative ways. After great success with their Doritos Los Tacos and MTV VMA campaigns, Taco Bell has continued its tradition of innovative QR Code implementation with the launch of their new Cantina Bell Menu. The quick serve giant has deployed ScanLife powered QR Codes as part of a print campaign that’s running across major publications like People and US Weekly.
The QR Code (pictured above) is the centerpiece of the ad and is literally made of fresh ingredients like lemons and avocados. The code is connecting users to a mobile optimized landing page which delivers all types of Cantina Bell content.
You can even see the making of the QR Code which was no small task!
Once on the mobile page, you can find descriptions and nutritional information on each product as well as recipe ideas from celebrity chefs and the ability to share each item via social media. Users can also find additional options such as a nearest store locator and “tell us what you think” page, where people can easily tweet their thoughts from their Twitter profile.
Kudos to Taco Bell as this campaign is another strong example of using valuable mobile content to engage customers with their brand.
The start of a new quarter is always a good time to take a step back and reflect on the latest developments in the industry. Today is no exception, as we’ve hand-picked the best and most innovative QR Code campaigns from the 2nd Quarter, 2012. It’s fantastic to see examples from all over the globe, and from a variety of industries. Kudos to these marketers for creating amazing customer experiences using this dynamic technology!
A clever blend of m-commerce, social media and fun: PGMobile used shopping trucks with QR Codes on the side to allow New Yorkers to purchase Procter & Gamble products for home delivery. The trucks locations were tweeted by @PGMobile and shoppers could tweet requests to bring the trucks right to their office or apartment block. Learn more about it here.
To promote the popular EURO 2012 Tournament, Coca Cola used ScanLife powered QR Codes on millions of packages throughout Spain. The codes connected users to a mobile series of exclusive videos about the competition and drove downloads of the ‘SmileWorld’ app, Coke’s new mobile social network. Never before has a major brand used ScanLife on a scale quite like this! Find out more here.
Emart, the Walmart of Korea, wanted to launch a lunch time promotion. They came up with the idea of a QR Code, in which its shadow rotates according to the time of the day – like a sundial. As a result, the QR Code only worked from 12pm to 1 pm. Once scanned, the code activated a promotion on Emart’s m-commerce website or in stores. Watch the video below for more:
Americanino, a Chilean fashion brand created a pop-up QR Code event which ‘hypnotized’ young consumers and tried to get them to strip off in public. Those who were bold enough to do so were rewarded with a free Americanino outfit. Check out the video to learn more:
Rockport used QR Codes during an outdoor event involving a box display with people hanging off the edges to show the new line of shoes. The displayed featured codes on the sides that took users to a mobile optimized landing page where they could learn more about the product. Users could then tap to buy the shoes on Rockport’s mobile site. But there’s more…
Volkswagen recently launched a QR code campaign to promote its line of commercial vans – Crafter. The campaign featured a huge structure with a QR Code made with actual boxes of oranges. When people scanned it, they would be directed to a video of how those boxes would fit inside a Crafter. Thanks to this promotion, Crafter increased brand awareness by 224% and sales by 70%. See the video below for more:
Handy, a US-based seafood processor, enabled restaurant owners to enter a 6 digit lot number found on packaging into a trace register widget on the Handy website. They could then download a QR Code for adding to the restaurant menu. Customers would scan the code to follow the fish’s journey from catch to plate. Discover more here.
Global beer brand Budweiser unveiled its new mobile “Track Your Bud” marketing initiative. The campaign integrated QR Codes into producing packaging, allowing consumers to track their specific beer’s history back to one of the 12 American Budweiser breweries. Thirsty for more? Read here.
As part of a new risqué campaign for Axe Body Spray, the most popular bars and discos in Puerto Rico were given virtual peepholes, i.e. QR Codes, which let men to peek into the girls bathroom. The codes resolved to a set of steamy videos and even even steamier clips if shared on Facebook. The results were pretty spectacular. “Peep” the video below for more:
Knowing that patrons typically go out drinking for about five hours, Turquoise Cottage, a bar/restaurant in India, created the “Buddy Stamp” to keep the night both safe and fun. The stamp was comprised of a QR Code that users could scan at various times throughout the night. Now here’s the best part – consumers were delivered different content depending on the time of a scan. A wonderful example of dynamic marketing! Watch the video below for more:
Inspired? So are we. For more information on how to leverage mobile engagement, join our Linkedin group “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement“, or check out our website, or simply contact us.
For those of us who live in London, and have the dubious pleasure of using public transport daily, QR codes are becoming part of the landscape. We see them in the daily newspapers, on billboards, advertisements, etc. To the surprise of many, including your humble correspondent, marketers seem undeterred by the complete lack of wi-fi or 3G network in the underground. This led us here at Scanbuy to wonder, and assess, how successful these QR codes could be.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve taken note of the codes we have found in the tube stations and checked the ones in the free daily newspapers. The statistics resulting from QR codes created with free generators such as bit.ly are freely accessible, therefore we have been able to access the results and analyse their success.
To our surprise, the lack of wireless data network doesn’t seem to prevent people from scanning. The most important success factors, however, are the call to action and repeated, regular exposure to an ad: a decently-executed QR code results in one to two thousand scans per ad placement per day in high volume papers. A very well-executed QR code could lead to five time this, whereas a poorly done one could easily result in just 200 scans.
We also notice that big, obvious mistakes are not uncommon even among leading brands and agencies: in 75% of cases the landing pages are not mobile optimised.
Another common mistake is the use of direct codes (i.e. the URL is directly encoded in the QR code): Lovefilm for example, printed one million DVD envelopes with a code that couldn’t work because of a typo in the encoded URL. Moreover, most QR codes just lead to a website, when in reality they could do much more, such as inviting users to engage with advertisers through emails, twitter, etc.
On the bright side Transport for London, the government body responsible for the city’s transport system, recently announced plans to introduce free wireless Internet access in the London Underground.
Despite the current lack of internet coverage and uneven execution of QR codes, people do scan and respond to QR codes. Marketers can only imagine the size of the opportunity once there will be internet coverage. But they need to get the basics right first, and understand that a QR code can be much, much more than just a URL in disguise.
For expert advice, please contact us.
The latter half of 2011 was highlighted by a series of mobile-commerce experiments using QR codes. The goal was to understand the changing nature of shopping, driven by shoppers’ adoption of mobile technology. These initiatives sent a shockwave through the retail industry and mobile commerce quickly made the jump from fiction to reality.
Today, mobile shopping is rapidly becoming a legitimate part of an integrated, multi-channel retail strategy. In fact, the scale and frequency of these experiments is accelerating: in Q1 of 2012 we’ve seen as many virtual shops as in all of 2011.
Tesco Homeplus for example, which piloted the first virtual shop concept in 2011, extended its virtual stores in South Korea last month. Twenty bus shelters displayed groceries that users could purchase by scanning the appropriate QR Code with the Tesco Homeplus Smartphone App. Tesco’s app is now the number one shopping app in Korea with nearly one million downloads since it was launched last April.
PayPal opened QR code shops in 15 Singapore subway stations, allowing commuters to buy Valentines gifts on the go. When asked about the choice of QR codes, Southeast Asia and India Managing Director Elias Ghanem noted that with QR codes “no additional infrastructure is required for merchants, retailers and consumers.”
Virtual stores are also beginning to pop up in western countries. For example, in the US, Resultco redesigned store window display space to draw attention to various products, as a part of its Detroit Storefront Project. Consumers are encouraged to scan the QR codes in order to gain further information or make a purchase.
Also in the US, Glamour magazine joined the fray by setting up a shoppable wall across from the Standard Hotel in New York City. Consumers can scan mobile barcodes to buy cosmetics for home delivery. In the film industry, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment established the Fox Movie Mall virtual store fronts for consumers to purchase a movie and have it mailed to their home.
So where are we heading?
Consumers won’t rush to swap their shopping bags for shopping apps any time soon. However, as smartphone and mobile internet penetration surges, so does the mobile commerce market. Retailers that implement mobile as part of their strategy will have an early advantage in a market that’s growing faster than online commerce did the early 2000s.
Today, 18% of those that have scanned a code go on to make a purchase, and recent forecasts have predicted that mobile commerce will overtake traditional e-commerce by 2015.
At its current pace, it just may happen sooner…
Mobile barcodes could change the way we discover & share information from the world around us. We welcome your thoughts & ideas on how to make this technology matter - today and in the future.