September 29, 2011
Written by Todd Shingler
Note: QR Codes: Great Potential, OftenPoorly Executed – Part 1 discussed a few common examples of poor QR Code presentation and provided tips on how to avoid them. Part 2 focuses on the post-scan experience, provides examples of well-executed QR code campaigns and provides a few recommendations to help with your own QR Code campaigns.
Have you ever scanned a QR code or Microsoft Tag and (presuming it worked) been completely underwhelmed by the result? I scan just about every QR code and Microsoft Tag that I come across and I am constantly amazed at how poor the resulting experience is.
More often than not, a successful scan launches my browser to a full (non-mobile optimized) website, takes me to a flash video that won’t play on my iPhone, or does nothing discernable (presumably not the intention).
When this happens, I generally end the engagement as I have no desire to pinch, zoom and scroll my way around a desktop website or to try to and figure out why the video didn’t work or why nothing seemed to happen. I also consciously or subconsciously associate the brand with having wasted my time and am unlikely to attempt to further engage the brand. And I’m not alone – in announcing that mobile site optimization is now a factor in how ad quality is scored for AdWords campaigns that drive mobile search traffic, Google quoted an internal study that found that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website that they had trouble accessing from their phone.
Every now and then, the scan results in a positive, often interactive experience, increasing the likelihood that I’ll continue the engagement, recall the brand and react positively to future engagement opportunities.
QR codes are clearly being used more today than they were even 6 months ago. In the car of the train I was on last week, there were nine advertisements that I could see from my seat. Of these, 5 included QR codes – but only 2 of the QR codes led to a mobile-optimized website or targeted mobile campaign with the other 3 leading to non-mobile optimized sites. Interestingly, of the 4 ads without QR codes, one included a URL that actually led to a mobile optimized website. It was also interesting to note that the 5 QR codes were printed in 4 different sizes ranging from 2×2 to 6×6 inches and that none of the ads included any explanation what to do with the QR code or what to expect upon scanning it. Clearly, as per my last post, there is a lot of room for improvement in the how
QR codes are presented in print advertisements.
So how does one ensure they are creating a positive mobile marketing experience using QR codes? Most important is to ensure the resulting experience is mobile-optimized and contextually appropriate. Without getting into ‘value exchange’ of mobile campaigns, here are a few suggestions depending on your goal:
If your goal is simply to get consumers to your website, make sure your website is mobile-optimized or detect mobile users and redirect them to a companion mobile website with content and features tailored to a mobile user. For example, the QR code on an ad for Food Genius took me to this mobile website:
- If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, then you should create a mobile-optimized micro-site in support of the QR code campaign. A good example of this was the QR code on an ad for Power2Switch. They don’t have a mobile-optimized website, so instead created a mobile-optimized micro-site promoting the benefits of their service and asking “on-the-go” users to provide their email address so Power2Switch could send them an email “later this evening with instructions about how to get started”.
Power2Switch not only provided a mobile-optimized experience, they also got their key points directly communicated, acknowledged that the mobile user was on-to-go and offered to engage them later on a different medium where the mobile user could continue the engagement at their convenience.
If you are trying to increase Facebook ‘likes’, Twitter ‘followers’ or FourSquare ‘check-ins’ – state that as your goal and then use QR codes to direct mobile users to the mobile version of your Facebook page, Twitter profile or FourSquare check-in – where they can immediately ‘like’ you, ‘follow’ you or ‘check-in’.
If you are promoting a specific product, sale or event, ensure the QR code takes the mobile user directly to related information. Don’t simply drop them into your mobile website and make them search again for information they should have received directly. They’ll most likely simply disengage. A good example of this is Best Buy’s use of QR codes on their in-store product fact tags that take customers directly to each product on Best Buy’s mobile website for additional product information and customer reviews.
If you are promoting a mobile application – use the QR code to detect and redirect mobile users to the appropriate app store for their mobile device. For example, an email blast for the upcoming Bricks + Mobile mobile commerce event encourages scanning a QR code to download the Guidebook application ahead of the event. Scanning it took me directly to the Guidebook app on the iTunes app store as shown below:
There are many other great ways to use QR codes to complement a marketing campaign. Just remember to ensure the post-scan experience is engaging, mobile-optimized and encourages subsequent engagement. If you can’t ensure this, you’re better off leaving the QR code out altogether. Likewise, if you can’t define and accomplish a specific objective by including a QR code, leave it out. Lastly, until QR code usage gains mainstream traction (or is rendered obsolete by NFC?), consider complementary Text Messaging campaigns to expand the reach of your mobile campaigns.
Todd Shingler – Founder & President, Mobile Perspectives
Todd Shingler is the Founder and President of Mobile Perspectives LLC, a Chicago-based provider of mobile solutions and strategic consulting services enabling businesses and brands to effectively engage mobile consumers and mobilize their workforce.
Todd brings to Mobile Perspectives over 20 years of experience in the wireless industry, most recently as CEO of MobileAware Limited. With a customer and partner base that has spanned the globe – including some of the world’s largest mobile operators, retailers, airlines, banks and technology companies, Todd brings a unique Mobile Perspective to any engagement.
Follow Todd on Twitter @toddshingler.