Just a few years ago, QR codes seemed to be “the next large thing.” Shop windows, nutrient labels, band fliers, magazine advertisements — those distinct piffling black-and-white squares were everywhere, vying for our attention.

And while small concern owners and marketers thought they’d hitting the jackpot, the QR lawmaking trend didn’t become equally popular with consumers as some had predicted.
A 2013 surveyfound
only 21% of American smartphone owners say they’ve e’er scanned a QR code, and just ii% say they scan a QR code at least once per day.

You might think that, in an age when consumers tend to keep their smartphones close by at all times, an application that connects the physical and digital worlds — kind of similar Instagram, FitBit, and thousands of other apps do — would have flying.

Simply I’ll be honest hither: I’ve never scanned a QR lawmaking in my unabridged life, and I’m pretty tech-savvy. I tin can’t even recall watching a friend browse a QR code, either. But I realize I’one thousand a sample size of i, and I’ve heard people argue — marketers particularly — that QR codes are still live and well. I constitute myself thinking, could that even be possible?

Download our free guide hither to learn how to create QR codes for yourself.

And so I decided to look for success stories and data to run into whether I was sick-informed or QR codes really are still a affair. Though I could hardly find a data point that was less than two years old, I’ll tell you what Ididdetect, what I call up it means, and what marketers should do virtually it.

Are QR Codes Dead?

Like I said, this isn’t an like shooting fish in a barrel question to answer because of the limited information. Merely the information I
discover suggests that QR codes are not widely used.

For example,
Inc’due south 2012 research institute that 97% of consumers don’t fifty-fifty know what a QR lawmaking is.Digital business analytics company comScore found that half-dozen.ii% of the total U.S. mobile audience scanned a QR code on their mobile device in 2011.

Since 2011, the number of mobile users has increased, especially among the younger population, while QR codes seem to take maintained steady popularity and visibility. According to comScore’south report,the number of people who have scanned a QR code seems to have
plateauedsince 2012:
Every bit the number of smartphone users continues to rise, the number of consumers scanning QR codes remains the aforementioned.

trend is out of style, or are some of them actually seeing existent success? After all, it’south understandable that nosotros’re constantly looking for ways to span offline and online marketing in our net-driven earth — so to us, links you can “click on” in real life are a godsend.

Data from MarketingCharts suggests that
the boilerplate marketer’s view on QR codes is “somewhat at odds with the consumer statistics. Whereas relatively few consumers say they’re actively scanning QR codes, marketers are finding them to be quite an effective mobile marketing tactic.”
To exist specific, of the marketers who responded to an Experian survey most the effectiveness of QR codes as a mobile marketing tactic, 29% of them rated QR codes very effective, and some other 66% effective.

And so what does this data all hateful? Basically, QR codes appear to be working for that small, stagnant population that knows how to utilise them. While QR codes aren’t “dying,” they’re certainly not thriving. The question is why, given how many consumers have smartphones nowadays.

What Happened?

At that place are a number of reasons why QR codes might be going “out of manner,” just the nigh important is probably that they’re often misused.
They’re in subway stations where there’s no WiFi, on Television receiver commercials that have an air time of a second or two, and some of them lead to broken links or landing pages that aren’toptimized for mobile. One time a consumer is disappointed by the mobile experience behind a QR code, she may never browse one again.

For those of y’all who use QR codes properly and offer bang-up mobile experiences behind them, this is probably very frustrating.But even when QR codes are used properly by businesses, the bigger outcome is that the manyusers don’t know how to employ them properly. They have been poorly adopted in the United states of america and haven’t actually bankrupt out of the tech-savvy crowd.
And although mobile devices incorporated a preloaded version of a QR lawmaking reader into their organisation (Apple’s is built into Passbook, non the photographic camera itself),that isn’t very widely known or used.It turns out that the activeness of taking out your phone, opening a QR code reader, holding the camera from the app up to a QR code with steady easily, and pressing a button isn’t super intuitive — then y’all should probably adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

What’s a Marketer To Do?

Marketers who believe QR codes are alive are already drinking entering marketingKool-Aid — they’re just trying to utilize an offline channel to drive website visits. And so, what are other means to bridge the online/offline gap and describe more people to your website?

Ane practical solution is to lock down a short, memorable URL and give people that URL. Consumers are becoming more and more familiar with their smartphones, and present, typing a URL into a mobile browser is non a problem for well-nigh people. Simply make sure that these URLs are short and that they contain a unique UTM tracking lawmaking so yous can measure your success. (HubSpot customers: acquire how to create a tracking URL for a landing page in HubSpot here.) And, as well QR codes, there are other effective ways to concenter people to your website, add together you on Twitter, or buy your production — you can click hither for some ideas.

If QR codes are a part of your marketing strategy and yous believe they bring you success, I advise that y’all run an A/B examination or 2 to judge their effectiveness. For example, at your next event, you could include a QR code on half of your programs, and a shortened, easy-to-call back URL in the other half, both linking to the same page on your website. Put split up UTM tracking codes on the QR code link and shortened URL and so yous tin compare how many people visit from each, and voila — yous can run across if your audience likes to apply QR codes. Just because QR codes don’t piece of work for some companies doesn’t hateful they won’t work for yous, and this type of testing is the only way to know if they piece of work for your unique audience.

What exercise you think? Are QR codes dying?

learn how to create QR codes

Originally published Aug xiv, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017