I am a QR Code enthusiast and I love the little square-shaped cryptic codes. It’s simply fascinating how print media becomes alive on your smartphones. A marketer’s dream is to be able to share unlimited information in limited space and QR Codes is the only way to go about it.

 

But as it happens with every innovative concept, QR Codes have received their fair share of criticism. Many consider them as ‘dead’. Yet, not so surprisingly, they seem to be springing up everywhere. Here are 8 reasons why I believe they are very much here to stay:

1. Many brands have found their QR Code-based campaigns to be highly effective

Every marketing technique has its rules.

If you don’t use the right keywords, your Google Ads campaign will only attract bozos. If your blog article does not provide valuable content, only your mother will read it. Spam followers with an email every hour and they will unsubscribe you in a heartbeat.

In the same way, QR Codes too have their own rules (Read my post on Increase engagement with these 5 must-know QR Code best practices).

But many brands get how its done and they have created great QR Code-based campaigns. Verizon was able to increase its sales by 200%, Coca-Cola Hong Kong is engaging football-lovers using QR Codes in its FIFA World Cup 2014 campaign, and McDonald’s is using QR Codes in a global campaign to educate consumers about the nutritional information of their food. In the last month itself, giants such as Nestlé and Papa John’s have added QR Codes to their product packaging to engage buyers.

qr code are alive

2. The launch of Google Glass is likely to push the adoption of QR Codes

When using a smartphone to scan QR Code, a user has to point at a code and hit Scan. But all that is going to change with devices like Google Glass. With apps like Layar, scanning QR Codes is set to become as easy as looking at the code and saying ‘Ok Glass, scan this’. QR Codes are decoded by Google Glass with little effort, providing a great user experience.

The combination of Google Glass and QR Codes has already been put into practice in Massachusetts’ Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and doctors are already saving lives. Read how Dr. Stephen Horng of the Center saved a patients life using this technology.

qr codes are alive

(Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

3. QR Codes are emerging as a great way to receive mobile payments

Any individual or small business that accepts mobile payment is now using a QR Code to make life easier for the buyer. The QR Code easily connects the buyer to the payment gateway, allowing her to quickly transfer the money in a few seconds. Recently, Bitcoin enthusiasts have also taken up a liking for these codes. Read how a college kid made over $24K in bitcoing by putting a QR Code on a poster on ESPN’s College Gameday show.

qr codes are alive

 

Bitcoin Warlord, a marketing firm, recently launched a campaign that allowed users to win prizes and earn bitcoins by scanning QR Codes.

4. They are one of the cheapest alternatives in their category

Despite entry of other mobile marketing tools (such as NFC and Augmented Reality, etc.), QR Code still remains one of the cheapest and widely popular alternative. Businesses, especially SMEs, only have to spend a few dollars per month to run an end-to-end QR Code campaign.

5. QR Codes seems to have found their space in mobile messaging and social media

WeChat, the China-based messaging service with 396 million monthly active users, has started using QR Codes to allow users to connect with each other easily. That’s 396 million more QR Codes in the market. Facebook too is promoting connecting with your friends using a QR Code by adding a QR Code of your profile and a QR Code reader in the Facebook mobile app.

qr codes are alive

6. City Tourism Boards have taken a fancy to QR Codes

Abu Dhabi and Ashbourne (UK) are the latest cities to join the club that is using QR Codes to educate citizens and tourists about various attractions of the city.

In Abu Dhabi, QR Codes appear on every street signpost and every building number, providing pinpoint location information, which can be shared with family, friends and service providers. The QR codes give road directions, a map and historical background of the area to explain how the street was named.

7. QR Codes have found their way into the classroom

See the image below.

qr codes are alive

(Source: Reddit)

These are the phones that a teacher confiscated from a 9th grade classroom during a test. Smartphones in the classroom are inevitable. But how are teachers turning this situation to their advantage?  QR Codes. Educators in the classroom are now increasingly using QR Codes to engage students in teaching activities such as scavenger hunts, video tutorials, homework guides, and encrypted answer sheets.

8. They no longer have to look ugly

QR Codes have often been criticized for being black-and-white and ‘ugly’. Well, they don’t have to be anymore. A few generators are now adding the capability of creating colorful QR Codes or merging transparent QR Codes to your own designs.

design qr codes

design qr codes

(The designer QR Codes were created using Scanova)

All in all, QR Codes are alive and they bring promotions alive. If used correctly for the right purpose, QR Codes have the potential to get many people to connect with your brand.


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Gautam Garg is a Co-founder of Scanova. He is a QR Code enthusiast and a big fan of inbound marketing, CRO, and usability. When taking a break, he likes to travel solo and eat spicy food. Follow him on Twitter @GGarg88