Certain trade shows have become a must for any self-respecting marketer seeking to keep on top of the latest innovations. Marketing Week Live, one of the largest trade shows in Europe, occurs in London every year during June. The event offers up an exceptionally valuable platform for marketers to share their lessons on the first half of 2012. And we’ll be there to discuss with you the latest developments in the mobile barcode space.
When: Jun 27 – jun 28, 2012.
Where: London, United Kingdom.
Let’s talk: If you’re attending, stop by our booth at A435 for a chat.
QR Codes are great for many reasons when executed well, but let’s face it, they are not the prettiest things in the world. To many, they look like a game of Space Invaders or some kind of bizarre maze.
So here at ScanLife, we carried out a survey to find out more on the topic. Of the 213 respondents that had scanned a QR code, 47% said that they would be more likely to scan a colored QR code, 43% felt it wouldn’t make any difference, and only 10% would rather stick to the classic black and white. In other words, looks matter. An attractive design can grab our attention, and a designer code (colors, logos, etc.) will be more likely to drive scans than a black and white one.
However, the issue is that when it comes to scanning QR codes, some code readers are “more equal than others”, i.e. not all 2D barcode readers will read designer codes easily. As a marketer, the challenge is to reach the maximum number of people while getting the highest response rate. If people are unable to even scan your code, then you’ve instantly lost interested and proactive potential customers. Worse, you’ve frustrated and annoyed them, and they are just as likely to blame your brand as they are the code reader.
To help solve this issue, ScanLife has just launched a custom design functionality, where marketers can create a custom design code, with their logo embedded, in seconds. In addition, 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. You can see how it works below:
We have given QR codes the looks and the brains. Now marketers can focus on the experience.
For expert advice, please 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.
When assessing the current landscape of QR Codes, several pieces of research caught our attention:
Let’s begin with a study from Google and Ipsos OTX MediaCT titled “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” (Feb 2012). Six thousand individuals across the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Japan were polled in the course of 2011.
The first result that struck us was the speed at which smartphone penetration is increasing: from January 2011 to October 2011 smartphone penetration in western countries has increased by 20% (e.g. the U.S.) to 50% (the UK). As expected, almost 100% of smartphone users use their device to go online every day. It also comes as no surprise that smartphone users are avid video watchers and social networkers.
Interestingly, around 85% of smartphone owners seek local information and 1 in 5 make a purchase after finding that information. What does surprise us is that at least half of mobile shoppers make purchases monthly on their smartphones.
So what about QR codes? Our trend report gives some clues on their adoption, but comScore’s study “2012 Mobile Future in Focus” (Feb 2012) complements our research nicely. The report examines the mobile landscape across the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Canada. In total, 24 thousand respondents took part to the research.
It appears that when in a retail environment, almost 20% of US smartphone users have scanned a product barcode. This is roughly the same number of people who take pictures of products or call/text a friend about them.
Furthermore, 73% did so to find product information, 32% to uncover a coupon or offer and 25% did so to find event information.
The above is in stark contrast with what the users actually receive when they scan a code. According to a third piece of research from eMarketer, “Mobile Barcodes Drive Traffic to Brand Sites from Print” (March 2012), 40.7% of the codes in US advertisements linked to product information, a brand’s site or a purchase opportunity. However, only 7.8% of the codes led to opt-ins for newsletters or contests, and fewer than 1% led to special offers, coupons, etc.
Engaging consumers through their mobile device is about context (location, time) and action: “visit this shop next door”; “join the music event that starts in 30 min”; “scan this flyer and get an instant discount in this shop”; etc. All the ingredients to make it happen (mobile internet and devices, QR codes, consumer awareness of QR codes) are in place – marketers just need to grab the opportunity!
Year after year, SXSW has proven to be a go to destination for the latest innovations in film, music and technology. The annual media event showcases the brightest minds in up-and-coming technology along with special networking events and programs.
At ScanLife, we believe that mobile barcode technology is now the next big thing, enabling brands to engage with consumers in dynamic and measurable ways. Therefore, we’re proud to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at SXSW next week to share out latest innovations with visitors.
We’ll also be premiering an exciting new social gaming experience at the event. Each player will receive their very own QR Code to help gain Twitter followers and win prizes. Simple to play, easy to win. Intrigued? Then come stop by our booth!
If you’re around, let us know, we’d love to meet you. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for breaking updates as the event and contest rolls along.
When: Mar 9 – Mar 18, 2012.
Where: Austin, Texas, USA.
If you’re going: Meet us at booth 443. More info here.
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.