How often do you see marketers using those funny little pixelated black and white squares called QR (Quick Response) codes? Created in 1994 for the automotive industry to track the production process, the symbols were cleverly adopted by digital marketers to offer consumers more information about a business or a product by scanning the symbol with their smartphones. Now that 1.75 billion people worldwide use smartphones, QR code usage should be skyrocketing—at least theoretically.
Whether or not that’s actually true is debatable. On one hand, ScanLife.com reports mobile engagement is up for QR scanning and when consumers take the time to scan, they also click more places on a website. Most QR scanners are women between the ages of 35 and 44. The codes that generate the greatest interest are from industries such as food and beverage, electronics and retail.
On the other hand, digital trend watcher Mashable says QR codes are yesterday’s news. Ricoh’s Clickable Paper is now the better (and less cumbersome) way to provide consumer information. Where the QR code lead consumers to a dedicated site, Clickable Paper allows consumers to snap a picture of any product and get options as to what information they would like to receive.
Since creating a QR code is free (you pay only to track responses) and leads consumers directly to your website, it may be worthwhile to see what kind of engagement the codes can bring you.