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!
In November 2012 Comscore announced that the US smartphone market had passed the 50% penetration threshold during Q3 2012. Moreover, over half of smartphone owners use their mobile browser and almost 40% of them use their phones to access a social networking site or blog.
Europe is on a similar trajectory: on Dec 17th 2012, Comscore announced that France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are now reporting a 55% smartphone penetration. The table below shows the breakdown per country.
These statistics won’t surprise any actor in the mobile space. The question is: is your business staying ahead of the curve and preparing itself to embrace a mobilized world?
It’s no secret that marketers have been slow to adjust and re-balance their media mix to reflect the increasingly mobile-centric world. According to a report from IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) marketers spend $1.59m per $1bn in revenue in Europe 2012 and $1.43m in North America. By 2015 this amount will increase to $1.76m in Europe and $1.98m in North America. This represents a year-on-year increase of 3.4% for Europe and 11.5% for North America, barely enough to keep up with the exponential adoption of smartphones.
In fact, marketers currently allocate less than 1% of their marketing budget to Mobile advertising. According to a study released by the MMA, titled “MXS: Mobile’s X% Solution” and conducted by marketing ROI specialist firm Marketing Evolution, the optimized level of spend in Mobile advertising for U.S. marketers is 7%, or about the same as the amount spent on online display and sponsorships in 2011.
The optimum share varies according to industry category, marketing goals and size of budget. For “high involvement” categories such as auto and finance, the proportion should skew a bit higher at 9%. Conversely, in “low involvement” categories like CPG and entertainment, the share would dip down to 5%. Campaigns aimed at building awareness would also have a smaller allocation for mobile (5%), while those geared toward boosting purchase intent and consideration would increase the share to 8%.
Are marketers missing an opportunity? So much focus is placed on media that delivers brand awareness, but what happens when that interest turns into consideration and your customer wants to take action? We believe that mobile is the perfect platform to convert that interest from physical media into real action via digital. Whether you want a Like or an email opt-in, or a purchase – mobile tactics like QR Codes can deliver big time!
QR Codes are a simple yet very effective way to engage your audience and measure the impact of your marketing assets and ROI. And with its explosive growth this past year, QR is showing no signs of slowing down.
Despite its massive growth, we’ve come across a new stat that even surprised us! According to research by Nellymoser, QR Codes beat out direct mail in driving response. Readers of national magazines in the US scan QR codes, Microsoft Tags, digital watermarks and other mobile action codes at an average rate of 6.4 percent. In comparison, the average response rate for direct mail is 4.4 percent, according to the Direct Marketing Association, and the average response rate for a catalog is 4.3 percent.
Other key findings include:
Virtual stores, like the Tesco’s in South Korea and others, have yet to take the world by storm. However, smartphone adoption is having a profound – if not slightly stealthier impact on shopper behavior. Google has already established that smartphones are the starting point of most of our daily media consumption. We also know that the use of mobile coupons has doubled in both 2011 and 2012 in the US, which helps explains Apple’s decision to launch Passbook.
Econsultancy’s latest research, “The Multichannel Retail Survey” shows that the number of consumers who have made a purchase on mobile since 2011 has roughly doubled in the UK from 13% to 25%, and increased from 12% to 28% in the US.
The research also shows that 32% of UK consumers, and 41% of US consumers have used their mobile to find a retailer’s nearest store or opening times. 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% last year to 50% in the same period of time.
For retailers and brands especially, this trend brings new challenges but also represents an unprecedented opportunity to connect with shoppers throughout the whole purchase process –from the research phase to conversion and retention. Our whitepaper “The Showrooming Effect. How Retailers can use QR Codes to Create Opportunity” outlines several directions to tap into this opportunity.
For expert advice on mobile engagement and how to reach your consumers through their smartphones, please visit www.scanlife.com , contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. OR you can join the discussions on the “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement” LinkedIn group.
Last February, Google and Ipsos released “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” (read more on it here) which explained the behavior of smartphone users.
Now, in their latest research, Google and Ipsos have gone a step further with “The Newscreen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior“. The report examines how the multi-screen world (with its ubiquitous TVs, smartphones, computers and tablets) impacts the bahavior of consumers and how the different devices play in relation to one another.
The study finds that context drives device choice and that, unsurprisingly, consumers own multiple devices and move seamlessly between them throughout their day. In sum, computers keep us productive and informed, smartphones keep us connected, and tablets keep us entertained. For digital marketers, it means that that they need to take into account the needs of a consumer on a specific screen, and adjust conversion goals to account for the inherent differences in each device.
Interestingly, the research shows that smartphones have positioned themselves as the backbone of our daily media use: they are the devices used most on a daily basis and serve as the most common starting point for activities across multiple screens.
Adding to Google’s research, is the consensus is that mobile searches will outpace desktop local searches by 2015 (and by some estimates they already have). Going mobile is therefore, more than ever, imperative to the growth of your business.
In this context, businesses which facilitate and control the connections between the physical and digital world stand to reap great benefits: for example by delivering product information or discounts right from a product package or PoS material; or video demos and tips & tricks right from a print advertisement (plenty of case studies to illustrate all this here).
Today, we believe that QR codes are the most effective way to bridge the physical with the digital world: mobile engagement platforms, such as ScanLife, allow marketers to create QR codes, track who scans what and where, and therefore understand better consumers’ journey across the different media.
For expert advice on how to reach your consumers through their smartphones, please visit www.scanlife.com or join the discussions on the “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement” LinkedIn group.
It’s always encouraging to see reports showing strong growth in physical to mobile engagement, but what we have seen in the past few months is especially exciting. That’s because not one, but four separate reports have been published recently that together paint a picture of how everything is now growing at the same pace. Below are some of the highlights that show how both Smartphone users and marketers are bringing it all together.
Comscore – June 2012
In Comscore’s latest survey from April (published in June), nearly 20% of Smartphone users in America scanned a QR Code, up from 14% in May last year (a 43% increase). More than two-thirds of Americans and Europeans who scan QR codes obtained information about a product, and the most popular source of scanning was product packaging (42%). The most popular location for scanning was at home (57% of scanners). Learn more.
Below charts from Economist:
Nielsen – May 2012
Nielsen looked at how Smartphones were used during the actual shopping experience, and they found that people relied most on their devices when more expensive purchases were being considered. At electronics stores for example, the vast majority of Smartphone shoppers read reviews (73%), compare prices with other retail outlets (71%) and scan QR Codes to get more product details (57%). Find out more.
Accenture – April 2012
1,000 U.S. consumers were asked whether they interacted with social media symbols while watching TV. Amazingly, 20% engaged with Facebook, and more people scanned a QR Code than searched using a Twitter hashtag. Most did so to get access to a deal or enter a sweepstakes. Read more.
Econsultancy – June, 2012
Part of the reason people are scanning so much is because more and more codes are being published by marketers. In fact, an Econsultancy survey released in June, found that QR Codes are now the most used mobile tactic by marketers. Agencies showed that they are more excited about apps with 54% saying their clients use them – compared to just 35% when the clients are asked. Discover more.
We often hear that “a QR Code is just a QR Code.” While they may look the same, what happens behind the code can vary widely – and that is really where the magic happens. The value of QR Codes is vast, and one area that all marketers love is data – or business intelligence. Never before have marketers been able to get so much intelligence around how people interact in the real world from media like print ads, store displays, and even packaging. The amount of data you can get from a QR Code varies from the basics like number of total scans, up to location heat mapping and representative demographics.
Some online code generators give you the basics, but there is a big catch – anyone can see it! This practice provides detailed intelligence to your competition, like which products or promotions are being scanned on which days, making it easier for others to learn from your success.
To illustrate, you can access the statistics of London’s Open University’s QR Code created on bit.ly: The statistics are simply accessed by going to bit.ly/rJUjnh+ in your web browser.
Like everything else, it is critical to remember to read the fine print in the Terms & Conditions when evaluating QR code generators, and even more advanced solutions. Some platforms turn the data generated by your campaign into public domain knowledge, and others will take ownership of your data for monetization purposes.
To find out more about risks of using free code generators, please download our whitepaper.
We have just released the latest ScanLife Mobile Barcode Trend Report for Q1 2011. This edition takes a look at key trends over the past twelve months as well as some vital insight regarding market adoption from both Smartphone users and mobile marketers.
One of the highlights of the report is the fact that we processed over 5 million unique users in Q1. This is a near 200% increase from a year ago, and a million more than Q4 2011. The rise in unique users is indicative to the rapid growth of both smartphone adoption and QR Code publishing.
Total scans has shown no signs of slowing down as it continues to climb to record heights. We saw 13 million scans processed through ScanLife in Q1 alone, a 157% increase from a year ago.
Other key takeaways from this report:
A big THANK YOU to everyone who made these numbers possible. Mobile barcode growth and technology would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for your continued support.
This data is compiled from our platform users, app users, and other 3rd party apps/code generators.
You can download the full report here.
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.
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.