QR Code trends continue to gain momentum as smartphone owners grow across the globe, and smart marketers turn to engage marketing to reach mobile consumers. Released last month, eMarketer’s latest statistics showcase that on average, 19% of US respondents (1 in 5) have scanned a QR Code ahead of the 15% average in Europe. Interestingly, across both regions research continues to support print is the primary media placement for QR Code engagement. Another indication of printing trend research (released by Nellymoser) reported that response rates are higher with QR Codes than direct mail.
Putting the numbers into perspective
Comparing these statistics with other marketing innovations that have come out of the recent years allows us to appreciate the implications of these studies: the table below shows the consumer adoption of Twitter in the US, as measured by eMarketer. In 2012, this amounted to 11.5% of the adult population and 14.4% of internet users.
But wait, it gets better. In 2012 research by Accenture on the effectiveness of consumer engagement triggers concluded that among 1,000 television viewers, 28% had interacted with a QR Code, vs. 18% with a Twitter hashtag. Similarly, during the 2012 London Olympics, we found that the proportion of individuals interacting with QR Codes was 36% higher than with Foursquare. Last but not least, our own research shows that the average engagement post scan to click was 62%.
Like social media in the early days, marketers who learn to harness the power of mobile engagement will have a significant head start in the market place -whether it’s QR Codes today, or combined with NFC or augmented reality tomorrow.
For expert advice on how to integrate mobile engagement tactics to your marketing campaigns, contact us or visit www.scanlife.com
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It’s no secret that QR Codes have come a long way over the last 12 months and that consumers are adopting them enthusiastically. In fact, this year for the first time ever, we are seeing campaigns that have generated over a million scans using the ScanLife platform.
Reputable magazines, such as The Economist, have openly discussed QR and admit that “QR Codes have quietly slipped into the marketing mainstream“.
Now, according to the latest Econsultancy report (based on a survey of more than 650 US companies and agencies carried out in April and May 2012) “1 in 2 marketers are using QR codes to encourage their customers to interact with their brand“, up from just 8% a year ago.
This positions QR Codes as the most used mobile channel for engaging customers, surpassing other mobile channels such as mobile applications (35%), mobile commerce (29%), mobile optimized emails (29%), SMS marketing (26%), location-based marketing (17%), MMS (7%) and NFC (2%).
At ScanLife, we see this trend as a great opportunity but also as the logical consequence of irreversible technology trends. What we mean is that marketers can no longer ignore the mobile space, just like it wouldn’t make sense to ignore the digital space. Whatever the technology may be, (today with QR Codes, tomorrow with something else) marketers must come together to define the key success factors of mobile engagement, develop benchmarks and share best practices and case studies.
If you’d like to be part of this adventure, please join the “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement” LinkedIn group.
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!
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.