QR Code, or Quick Response Code, is a type of barcode that is becoming increasingly popular and widely used in multimedia marketing campaigns. Due to its ability to hold large amounts of data in a small space, scan quickly and accurately by the majority of mobile devices, and have a higher functionality than nearly every other type of barcode, the QR code is popping up in more and more unexpected places. Often found on business cards, websites, brochures, products, and even billboards, the QR code is integrating the physical world with emerging media marketing.
A QR code is capable of holding up to 7,089 characters in a single symbol, several hundred times more than a traditional barcode. Because of its square shape, which is read both horizontally and vertically, the QR code features a small print size, holding a lot of data. QR codes can hold the same amount of data as a traditional barcode in less than one tenth of the space. Even better, the QR code is able to be scanned even if it is dirty or slightly damaged. Up to 30% of the characters can be recovered from a damaged QR code.
Who Used The First QR Code?
First developed by Toyota in 1994 to categorize car parts manufactured at high speeds, the QR code has evolved into a widely accepted way to code information. Nearly every type of mobile device/smart phone is equipped with a scanner to decipher QR codes. Android, Blackberry and Nokia all provide native applications to scan QR codes, already installed on the devices. The Apple iPhone features numerous free applications, such as RedLaser, that also scans QR codes quickly and accurately. When scanned, smartphones are prompted to perform an action, such as linking to a mobile website, displaying a video, or even sending an SMS text message from your phone.
Because of the ease, availability, and convenience of QR scanners, this type of code is being used far more in recent marketing. Just last year, Dick’s Sporting Goods kicked off its new mobile site by broadcasting a QR code on the world’s largest HDTV video board at the new Cowboy’s stadium in Dallas TX, during the third quarter of the Dicks Sporting Goods Cowboy’s Classic (University of Oklahoma vs. Brigham Young University). When scanned, the code directed fans to Dick’s new mobile site, with an exclusive coupon for $10 off any $50 purchase.
Marketers have reacted positively to the use of QR codes because of how accurately and easily it is to measure response rates. For example, including a QR code in a printed brochure or other print marketing, the company is able to measure how many times the code was scanned, thus returning accurate data on how well the campaign is reaching its audience. The scanned code can link the consumer to the company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, or specific landing pages on their website encouraging the audience to interact with the company, creating more opportunity for exposure, leads, and sales. In addition, the data from scanned QR codes provides a basis for an accurate ROI calculation, or return on investment, which can help justify marketing costs and increase business.