HOW DO QR CODES WORK?
Everything in life is based around the five “W’s” - who, what, when, where and why.
And for mobile marketeers, customer engagement and turning looking into leads are no different. Below are the answers to these five key questions, plus a “how” section if you’re new to QR codes.
QR codes are images which, when scanned, direct a user to a dedicated landing page which can be used for any number of purposes from promoting a new product, offering customer benefits or simply directing a customer to an informative web page.
A Tag is a QR code or a NFC (near field communication) entry point for your campaigns. A QR code is an image that can be read by a mobile device’s app, and using its camera, that can present the mobile device a defined campaign. A NFC sticker uses very small, insignificant electronics, to manage the same process using the phone’s inbuilt NFC reader.
Many QR codes are currently used to direct interested customers to a business’s regular web-site, ignoring the fact that most scans are made using a mobile device which will not have a big enough screen to display the information adequately. The result: millions (literally) of missed opportunities. And all that marketing spend wasted.
The answer is to devise a simple landing page which gives an executive summary of the product or service, but then requests some basic customer prospect details, in order to proceed to the next level of information. Generally that will include, as a minimum:
This acts as a serious filter in the compilation of a prospect database. Those that do not pursue matters through the initial landing page can be assumed to have read something in the executive summary that has turned them off your offer.
Those that do provide data and click through can be very safely assumed to be a genuine warm/hot prospect, worth following up. And that follow-up can be in real time – or to put it another way, immediate.
We can enhance the reach of your mobile marketing campaigns by adding NFC tags to our QR tags.
For a quick overview of QR codes and NFC tags see the videos on the campaigns page.
NFC devices can be used in contactless payment systems, similar to those currently used in credit cards and electronic ticket smartcards, and allow mobile payment to replace or supplement these systems. For example, Android and iOS allows consumers to store credit card information in a virtual wallet and then use an NFC-enabled device at terminals that also accept MasterCard PayPass transactions.
NFC enabled smartphones will soon become industry standard and many anticipate that the rise of NFC in commerce will lead to the eventual death of the currently popular Chip and PIN system. The 'Oyster' cards in common use on The London Underground use NFC, and China is using it all over the country in public bus transport. In India NFC based transaction is being implemented in box offices for ticketing purposes.
The area at the bottom of our TAG+ board, with the hand and Smartphone positioned over the radiating circles, is the NFC contact point.
WHO IS USING QR CODES TODAY?
The use of QR codes has seen a marked increase in usage across the world; in the United States QR scanning traffic has risen an astonishing 9840% since Q2 2010 (when compared to Q2 2011). QR Codes are yet to penetrate fully into the UK market.
More than 3m UK consumers used their smartphone to scan QR codes in Q2, according to new data from a comScore survey of 15,000 consumers. This equates to 11.4% of the total smartphone audience and represents a year-on-year growth of 43%.
But the data suggests that other European nations have actually been quicker on the uptake than the UK. For example, 18.6% of German smartphone owners scanned a QR code in Q2, a YoY growth of 128%. While in Spain, 16% of users have used the technology, up a massive 218% from the same period last year.
The study claims that across the EU, more than 17m smartphone owners have scanned a QR code.
QR codes are now common in outdoor marketing campaigns and in magazines, so it seems likely that 1 in 10 UK smartphone owners has scanned one of the codes.
However, in an online survey carried out with TolunaQuick in October 2011, we found that 19% of all UK consumers had scanned a QR code. You need to take into account that those completing an online survey are likely to be tech-savvy, but it’s still surprising that comScore’s total is so much lower a year later.
To add further fuel to the debate, a recent CBS Outdoor study found that 13% of all Europeans – including those without smartphones – had scanned an outdoor QR code.
When you narrow this down to just smartphone owners, which across the EU is 51.3% of the population (according to comScore), then you would expect the number who had scanned a QR code to at least double to 26%.
Source: ComScore Mobilens
Have a look in our “Cool QR Campaigns” if you want more inspiration.
WHAT SERVICES DOES TagItScanIt OFFER?
TagItScanIt is a smartphone-friendly, cloud-based, fully scalable solution. We provide “Tags” (QR codes or NFC tags) and Campaign Management Tools to manage the flow of information between brands, services and products, and their potential or actual consumers. Our solution is PC, tablet and mobile based, which means our clients can access it on the move via their Smartphone to assign, activate or suspend campaigns, and to receive notifications or see statistics relating to properties or products listed with their agency.
Larger agencies with multiple sites can set up client and sub-client relationships, so they can see instant results from a single branch, or consolidated results across towns, counties, regions or even the whole country.
A campaign defines the mobile content that any one of your tags points to. A campaign is a landing page that is configured for the best mobile experience, whatever type of smartphone or tablet is used.
What is a Campaign Management Tool?
A Campaign Management Tool allows you to manage any number of QR code tags and NFC tags that you have created to promote a product or service. They can be printed on promotional materials such as posters, sign-boards, cards or stickers, or used in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, TV multimedia or Point-of-Sale.
You have full, secure control over your campaigns and tags and can stop, start or change the campaigns associated with each one, any time you want: you are in full control.
The data which is derived from a campaign utilising QR codes can be broken down into the following categories:
Anonymous static data, derived from the initial click-through:
Personal data derived from secondary customer response:
Plus other options:
There are two essential levels of service offered by TagItScanIt.
Generation of core data through:
In addition to the above:
In an era of proliferating suppliers of digital services, TagItScanIt differentiates itself in the following ways:
What You Get As Part Of The Service
The owner of the campaign (ie an Estate Agent or Yacht Broker marketing a house or yacht) gets:
The proven ability of the TagItScanIt management team to leverage a high level of service, through their attention to detail and systems management alongside new technologies, creates a winning formula and gets your business one step ahead of the competition.
WHEN SHOULD I USE QR CODES / TagItScanIt ?
QR Codes should be used when you want to engage with your target market via print media, POS signage, posters, cards or any other visual display when you have more information to give than space allows, or when you want personalised feedback on your product or service. Do not use QR codes just to send your customers to you corporate webpage – you’re wasting their time and your money. Be witty, be mobile savvy, be engaging.
WHERE MIGHT QR CODES BE USED?
Owners of big-ticket sales items:
WHY ARE MARKETEERS USING QR CODES?
If you are a marketing professional, who needs to build relationships with your customers and prospects, you won’t need to do more than skim-read this section.
There are three core uses for QR codes, as part of a comprehensive programme of marketing communications:
Given the move towards mobile communications, away from static e-mail and other digital marketing methods, especially in the 18 – 35 age group – signalling a likely permanent shift in consumer behaviour, rather than just a short-term fad – the sooner you get to grips with the opportunities afforded by this marketing tool, the better.
Many/most people know what QR codes are; fewer know how to use them effectively; very few understand the power of the data they generate. Be among the first to use that understanding to put your career on a sharp upwards trajectory.
Their phone will display the campaign you have written. They may be presented with a set of feedback questions to complete, in exchange for further information which you have defined they can see. You will be notified of the scan, and will be able to analyse the statistics associated with all the scans for a campaign.
No, but you only pay for what you use. No annual fees, no subscriptions. Our prices are competitive and fair, but if you want to talk volume then feel free to contact us.
Apart from our terms and conditions, you do not need to sign any contract. You literally pay as you go and can stop using our service at any time.
No, as long as you keep your account with us, your codes will never expire.
All of our tags have a uniquely generated code that is applied to our specific Tag domain (ti.ag). Your code is 100% unique to you and will never be shared with anyone else (unless you want to).
For Iphone, Android and Microsoft phones, we really like RedLaser. Its free, owned by eBay (a trusted company) and works with no fuss. Note, RedLaser does not support BlackBerry.
For BlackBerry we really like and recommend you use the BlackBerry App World in-built scanner (open BB App World and click on BB menu button), but, as with any Smartphone you can choose to download any of the freely available QR or NFC scanners from the appropriate App store.
You can choose to print an individual tag by selecting “download tag”, and then importing the image into your own publishing software. You can order mass prints from our suppliers when you create a batch of tags. You can order Stickers, Boards or request a bespoke print.
Ordering NFC tags via this batch method is the only way to receive pre-programmed NFC tags.
Yes, but we advise you shouldn’t. It can destroy the integrity of the QR code, adding frustration to your customers’ experience of your company. It can also dilute your brand image, something which is very rarely a good thing.
QR codes can be as small as 25×25 pixels or as large as the side of a building, but in reality you should consider the printing method you use. Newspaper print is always poorer quality. Make sure you test your codes. Also ensure there is a light coloured border around the codes. There needs to be contrast between the code and the surrounding media.
Ti.ag is the short code domain we use to keep the size of the code small, unique and secure. We totally own this domain and it enables the following advantages to you:
Smaller QR codes
You can reassign the Tag to any campaign in the future, so you don’t have to reprint media.
We can capture analytics against these tags
QR codes are now a common feature in marketing campaigns, though some people are skeptical about their value. So here are eight examples, from TagItScanIt and the industry, with stats. You decide.
SD Marine is an independent yacht broker based at the heart of the UK yachting scene at Hamble Point Marina. For nearly 20 years they have specialised in selling new and second-hand yachts of quality, and are currently agents for Swedish MAXI YACHTS, the American ALERION EXPRESS range (20”-38”), and distributors for the new SATURN YACHTS range (47”, 55” 75”) of Blue Water Cruisers.
They became a TagItScanIt client so they could provide their customers with detailed yacht specifications direct to their mobile phones, but even they were particularly impressed when the “instant notification” feature alerted them to a potential purchaser as he viewed a boat. They responded immediately and closed the sale in 15 minutes.
Oakley is an innovative and aspirational global brand, retailing sunglasses, eyewear and fashion apparel in the dynamic fashion and youth market. They need to know their customers and want to communicate directly with them in a highly targeted manner.
During March and April 2012, they ran a QR-driven marketing campaign in one high-street location (Bristol), requesting customer contact data and information via a short survey questionnaire, in return for access to brand information. Each month they received 2,000 qualified contacts from the in-store QR code promotion, so that by the end of the second month they had over 4,500 detailed, unique new potential customers to directly target their products to, by age, location, style, gender and fashion preference.
German retailer MyToy.de built QR codes using Lego bricks to drive customers to their online store. Users were then able to buy the bricks used to make the QR code.
While it is a very creative use of QR codes, the execution wasn’t perfect as it linked to a desktop site. But it was still a huge success, as 49% of visitors to MyToy.de came via the QR codes while the campaign was live, and twice as many brick boxes were sold for the Lego models included in the QR adverts.
Last year Heinz put QR codes on ketchup bottles in US restaurants to promote its new environmentally friendly packaging. It linked to a mobile site where users could win prizes by answering a green knowledge trivia question.
Heinz reported that more than 1m consumers scanned the codes.
This is another example of a retailer being creative with QR codes but also achieving excellent engagement. Emart, South Korea’s largest retailer, created a shadow QR code that only became visible when the sun was at the correct angle in the sky between midday and 1pm. It was all to promote a ‘sunny sale’ mobile site that gave access to special offers, coupons and a download for the e-commerce app.
As a result of the campaign, Emart sold more than 12,000 coupons, membership increased 58% on the previous month and sales increased 25% during lunchtime.
However it’s important to bear in mind that the use of QR codes is far more common in South Korea. And, unlike the UK, they get sunshine.
Perhaps not a company you would expect to experiment with digital consumer technology, Dow Chemicals placed a QR code in a range of print ads last September. The ‘Dow Chemicals Solutionism’ campaign linked to mobile video content providing information about the advertised products.
Users could also view social content and blogs related to the adverts.
By the end of the year, the codes had been scanned more than 20,000 times.
TfL currently uses QR codes on posters at tube stations to promote its real-time mobile bus timetables. Using QR codes on the underground seems a daft idea, but the results are encouraging. Thanks to mobile web consultant Terence Eden, we can see that the codes have been scanned 16,000 times in the past five months.
In March the codes were scanned more than 5,000 times, peaking at 259 scans on April 3, so usage appears to be increasing over time. There were initially 400 posters put up at tube stops around London, so the number of scans may seem fairly low. However, as Eden points out, you need to benchmark that against how many people you would expect to ring a phone number or go to a website published on the same poster.
During New York Fashion Week, L’Oreal put QR codes in taxis that linked to how-to videos featuring Yves Saint Laurent and Lancôme beauty products. Viewers could also buy the products from the website. While a moving taxi isn’t perhaps the most convenient place to try and get 3G access, L’Oreal was guaranteed a captive audience and drew attention to the codes using calls to action within the cab.
L’Oreal reported a 7% overall purchase conversion rate from the QR codes, while downloads of the app increased by approximately 80% during the five-day campaign