You’ve seen and even used 2D barcodes or 2D Codes already. These include QR Codes, data matrix, and MaxiCodes. They store information and help end-users access it easily.
So many mobile applications are now using their own unique 2D Codes also called Custom 2D Codes. Wondering what are they used for? Here are some use cases:
1. To stand out from the competition
Have you seen customized QR Codes? They look branded and personal, right? Similarly, one of the main reasons behind Custom 2D Codes is to add branding and look unique.
2. To secure the encoded content
You have probably seen Snapcodes. But have you tried scanning them with a generic scanner?
They just do not get scanned. So we can safely say that Custom Codes can only be scanned with specific scanners and keep the data secure.
3. To push app downloads
Since these codes can be scanned with specific apps, they push the audience to download this app. Hence, enabling them to access the content.
Though Custom 2D Codes have such advantages, they come with some drawbacks too. And these drawbacks are essential if you’re planning on using these codes in your campaigns. See why:
Drawbacks of Custom 2D Codes
1. Scannable only using custom-made apps
As we just discussed, these codes need specific apps to scan them. Hence, they make sense only if the end-users already have the app installed on their smartphones.
Therefore, if you are planning on using such Custom Codes in your marketing campaigns, think again. You can rather use QR Codes for this purpose. Why? Because they are scannable with a smartphone camera or any generic QR Code scanning app.
This does away with the need to install any unwanted app for your audience.
2. Lack of awareness
As soon as you see a QR Code, you know what it is and how to scan it. This is due to sufficient awareness.
But when it comes to Custom Codes, awareness might act as a bottleneck. People will scan them only if they know what they are.
In this article, we will see how various popular apps are using Custom 2D Codes for many use cases.
A. To get followers on social media
Social media statistics from 2019 reveal that there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide. This nears to about 45% of the current population.
The main factors behind this immense social media usage are—high smartphone penetration and easy internet access.
This makes social media one of the most cost-effective and easy ways to market your products and services. And even generate sales.
But to do it, you’ll need followers. And getting people to follow you is not an easy job.
Say you share your social media handle or profile URL with your audience. They will still have to pull out their smartphone, open the social media app, and type your username or the URL.
Even after they do it, they will still have to spot the right profile to follow you. Since it’s a tough job, not many people bother putting effort.
This is where Custom 2D Codes come to your rescue. Many social media apps use them to make this process easier for your audience. See how:
1. Instagram’s Nametags
Instagram rolled out Nametags in 2018. Now each Instagram user gets a unique custom 2D Code called Nametag.
You get three design options to choose from—Colored Nametag, Emoji Nametag, and Selfie Nametag.
You can share your Nametag with your audience. As they scan it using the Instagram app, they will directly land on your Instagram page or profile. And follow you easily. No need to type or search for anything.
Here’s how you can find your Nametag:
a. Open your Instagram account and go to your profile
b. Tap the three lines on the left side corner
c. Next, you will see the option Nametag. Click on it
That’s it. You will get your Nametag. To know more about Nametags, you can go through this in-depth guide.
2. TikTok’s TikCodes
TikTok is one of the leading entertainment apps today. It’s a user-friendly platform to record and share short videos with your friends and followers.
Just like Instagram, TikTok also helps its users get followers via a circular Custom 2D Code. These are called TikCodes.
Every TikTok user has a TikCode unique to their account. When scanned using the TikTok app, it helps end-users follow you easily.
You need to follow some simple steps to find your TikCode:
a. Open the TikTok app on your smartphone and go to your profile
b. Next, tap the three horizontal dots on the top right corner
c. You will see the option—TikCode. Click on it
You will get your own unique TikCode with your profile picture in the centre. You can go ahead to share it with your friends and get them to follow you online.
In case you want to know more, here is a detailed guide on TikCodes.
3. Pinterest’s Pincodes
Pinterest is a well-known platform to share images and even GIFs.
It helps users share images related to their projects, goods, and services. And even find new ideas and innovations with images that others have posted.
Like Instagram and TikTok, Pinterest offers its own unique 2D codes called Pincodes. These are special codes that help you share your Pinterest profile with your audience.
They can scan it using the Pinterest lens to follow you online. And stay updated with your latest posts.
To find your Pincode, you have to follow these simple steps:
a. Go to Pinterest and open your profile
b. Here, tap on your profile picture. A window will pop-up showing your Pincode
You can use the download option to save it on your device and share it with your audience.
4. Snapchat’s Snapcodes
Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app, immensely popular among teenagers. As per the statistics, 90% of Snapchat users are 13-24 years old.
It was one of the first apps to come up with Custom 2D Codes of its own. These are called Snapcodes.
All the Snapchat users have their unique Snapcodes. They act like Snapchat’s ‘follow’ button. That means people only need to scan the Snapcode and they will be automatically added to your followers. No manual effort needed.
Here’s how you can find your Snapcode:
a. Open Snapchat
b. Click on the ghost icon on the top middle of your screen
Your Snapcode will pop-up on the screen and you can then share it with your friends.
B. To make chatting easier and better
You have used messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line. They help you stay in touch with your friends and chat with them easily.
Some of these apps have created their unique 2D Codes to make messaging better for users.
1. Kik Codes
Kik, a Canadian app, is another famous messaging app available for both iOS and Android.
It also offers Custom 2D Codes to make the messaging experience better for users. These are called Kik Codes and look like Messenger Codes that help you connect with people easily.
But here’s the twist—unlike Messenger Codes that can’t be customized, Kik Codes are customizable. Yes, just like QR Codes, Kik Codes allow you to change their background color.
When scanned, a Kik Code opens the end-user’s chat window. You can then text them right away.
In addition, Kik Codes also work with groups. How? You can get one for a group too. As people scan it, they will be added to the group. Simple, right?
WeChat is a multi-purpose app. It is a one-stop solution for messaging, social media, and mobile payments. It had over 1 Billion monthly active users in 2018 and the number has only increased since then.
Earlier, you had to save your friends’ contact details before you could chat with them on WeChat.
To do away with this practice, WeChat also rolled out Custom barcodes called WeChat QR Codes. They help users to easily connect with each-other without saving them as a contact first.
When scanned, it opens up the chat window. And you can start texting each other right away. To know what a WeChat QR Code is, how it works, and how to scan one, here’s a detailed guide.
C. To help you find and share music
You have music apps installed on your phone. These may include Deezer, Jango, Spotify, or any other such app.
These applications help you find, listen, save, and share your favorite tracks easily. And some of them are using Custom 2D Codes to make music sharing even easier. Here is an example:
Spotify is a free-to-use music application that helps you listen to songs and podcasts. And to make it easier for users to share and find audio files, Spotify launched Spotify Codes.
Each song has a unique Spotify Code that looks like an audio wave. This code can only be scanned with the Spotify app. And as soon as you scan it, it takes you to listen to the encoded song.
Here is how you can find a Spotify Code for your favorite songs:
a. Open the Spotify app and select the song you want to share
b. Click on the three dots you see next to the artist’s name
You will then see an image with the Spotify Code on it. You can share it with your friends and they can scan it using the app.
D. To make online shopping better
E-commerce has gained tremendous popularity over the last decade. And many e-commerce platforms have emerged ever since to ensure a good shopping experience.
And did you know that Amazon, the American e-commerce giant, is using 2D Codes to do it? See how:
Amazon introduced its customized 2D Codes in 2018. These Codes are only scannable with the Amazon app. No generic scanner can be used to decode them.
Wondering—what are these codes for? They help you avail Amazon benefits in three possible ways:
1. To get in-depth information
Amazon adds SmileCodes to its print media creatives such as posters and banners. In this case, scanning the SmileCode takes the audience to learn more about the product being advertised.
2. To avail deals and discounts
Many of Amazon’s delivery packagings now have SmileCodes. They often have the caption—Scan here for exciting offers!
When you scan them, they show special offers and deals available for you in the Amazon app.
3. To get security code for Amazon Lockers
Amazon Lockers is a self-service or delivery service. It allows you to choose a locker’s location as per your convenience. And pick-up or return your purchases here.
SmileCodes on these lockers help you get the security codes for them.
E. To make gameplay better
In one of our recent articles, we discussed how 2D barcodes can make games more interactive. To provide a similar enthusing experience for its players, Angry Birds launched BirdCodes in 2016.
Angry Bird’s BirdCodes
To engage the audience, Angry Birds added BirdCodes to their branded merchandise from various companies. Some of these included McDonald’s happy meal boxes, H&M apparel, and Pez candy dispensers.
Scanning a BirdCode takes end-users to a unique 30-second long game. It could be anything such as shooting the pigs out of the sky with a slingshot.
Users could scan the BirdCode as many times as they wanted to play the game.
These are some ways popular apps are using their own Custom 2D Codes. From helping you build a social media community to making your shopping experience better, they are making many things better.
Do you know any other application that uses Custom 2D Codes? Let us know in the comments.