You want to evaluate the scope of using a QR Code in print ads, TV ads, or web marketing in India.
But you have these questions:
1. Will people in India actually scan a QR Code on my marketing creatives?
2. How to generate QR Codes?
3. Why should I pay for generating QR Codes?
4. Which QR Code generator should I use?
In this article, we’ll help you understand why using a QR Code for marketing makes sense in India and how.
A. India’s landscape for scanning QR Codes
To scan a QR Code, users need—a smartphone, mobile internet, QR Code scanning feature in the phone, and awareness on how to scan a QR Code.
1. Smartphone penetration in India
According to eMarketer, a market research company, smartphone penetration in India was 21.2% in 2014. It is constantly growing and will reach 39% by 2019.
While 39% may not appear a significant figure, it translates into approx. 529 Million people in India. This is a significant market size for any campaign.
2. Internet access
In 2015, there were 354 Million internet users in India.
Then in Sep2016, Jio—an Indian mobile network operator—came in and revolutionized internet usage across the country.
Jio offered 1 GB high-speed mobile internet per day at prices that people would earlier spend for 1 GB internet a month.
Consequently, in 2017, internet penetration reached 481 Million.
This means an increase of about 36% in two years.
These statistics suggest that in 2019, a huge fraction of people in India have a smartphone with internet access.
3. QR Code scanning feature
Back in 2011, smartphones had no in-built QR Code scanning feature. So users had to install third-party applications to scan a QR Code.
The scenario has completely changed since then. 99% of smartphones now come with the QR Code scanner in their stock camera application.
For example—Xiaomi, Huawei, Motorola, and Lenovo have in-built QR Code scanners.
Apple also introduced the QR Code scanning feature in its stock camera app with its iOS 11 update. And there were approximately 10 Million iPhone users in India in 2018.
In fact, Paytm, the country’s digital payments system, itself has a QR Code scanner that can scan any QR Code.
And the current reach of Paytm is 300 Million users.
So people don’t need to install any additional QR Code scanning app if they have Paytm installed.
You can simply add a note under your QR Code such as—Scan using the Paytm app.
So we can safely assume that most smartphone users in the country have access to the QR Code scanning feature. This throws the door open for QR Code-equipped marketing campaigns to be used extensively for marketing in India.
4. QR Code awareness
QR Codes have picked up in the last few years in India. So the exact numbers on how many people know about them are limited.
But we can use the following parameters as indicators of QR Code awareness in India:
i. QR Code payments
The Government of India announced demonetization across the country in 2016. Since then, there has been a rise in QR Code payments in India.
Paytm itself has QR Code reach of about 300 Million. So we can safely assume that about 50% (150 Million) people have at least seen a QR Code.
Besides Paytm, other online payment systems such as BharatQR, Freecharge, Phonepe, and Mobikwik are using QR Code payments too.
ii. WhatsApp Web
India has 200 Million monthly active WhatsApp users.
You know that these users can also access their chats on the desktop via WhatsApp Web. To do this, they need to scan a QR Code.
Say only 5% of them have accessed WhatsApp Web. This indicates that about 10 Million users have scanned the QR Code.
All of these factors clearly indicate that India has a huge landscape for scanning QR Codes.
This is why a lot of brands are already using QR Codes for their marketing campaigns in India. For example:
1. Times of India, an Indian newspaper, often adds QR Codes to the articles. Readers can scan them to access more information
2. Uncle chips, Godrej, and Bajaj Nomarks add QR Codes to their product packaging to give detailed product information
3. Amazon India uses Amazon SmileCodes on product cartons. Customers can scan them to avail offers and discounts
In fact, QR Codes are already being used for many other use cases in India.
These factors have further strengthened in the country after the pandemic. Hence, citizens have become more receptive to a QR Code which paves the way for it to be used in marketing across India.
Now the first thing you need to do here is:
B. Decide the marketing channel
Think where your target audience hang-out. And decide the appropriate marketing channel for your QR Codes. For example:
1. Print media promotions
This is the most common marketing channel for QR Codes. QR Codes are an excellent tool to connect people from offline promotions to online content.
So marketers commonly use them on:
a. Print Ads
A QR Code can be added to a newspaper/magazine ad, flyers, banners, brochures, booklets, etc. Marketers often use them to redirect the target audience to a website, get followers from social media, or help people avail an offer.
You must ensure that the QR Code is of right size before printing it. For large banners, you must export the QR Code image in vector formats such as SVG and EPS. This is important for the scannability of QR Codes.
For example, Being, a mental health startup, used QR Codes on posters during IPL. It is common for fans to have posters to support their favorite team. But ‘Being’ did something different.
They printed a QR Code on posters along with a message—Mental Health Matters. When scanned, it took people to Being’s mobile app.
And since the stadium is filled with hundreds of people while getting aired to millions of people, it made a great marketing campaign.
b. Product packaging
The limited printing space of product packaging keeps manufacturers from giving detailed product information via its packaging.
So they use a Product QR Code. This QR Code redirects people to see detailed product information. Or even multimedia content such as video and images.
2. Digital promotions
You can also use QR Codes on digital channels such as TV screens.
Say you’re a TV channel. You know that people are usually using their phones while watching TV. You can tap into this habit and display a QR Code on their TV screens.
This QR Code can take them to your website, social media page, or even watch a video.
For example, Dunzo, a quick commerce business, used a QR Code on a TV advertisement in the middle of the Indian Premier League final in 2022. This ad appeared as a TV screen glitch with the text—”Inconvenience is Regretted, Convenience is not”. When scanned, it led to a webpage containing details about Dunzo and a button to download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store directly.
This ad became an instant success with a huge load of people scanning the QR Code. It even led to a sudden crash of the Dunzo app for a short while.
So decide where your target audience are, and finalize a marketing channel.
C. Decide what marketing purpose will your QR Code serve
Once you finalize the marketing channel, think about the content you want your audience to see. Or the action you want them to take.
A QR Code can:
1. Take people to your website
We call it a Website URL QR Code. It makes it easier for end users to open a website.
They don’t need to tediously type the entire URL on their phone’s browser. They can simply scan the QR Code which will take them to your website.
If you want to increase your sales via social media, you’ll need as many people to follow you as possible.
You can use a Social Media QR Code here. It takes people to a page with links to all your social media profiles. They can then choose their favorite platform to follow you.
3. Redirect to a survey form
Say you want to know how well your services are doing or what your customers want. You can add a QR Code to your bills or invoices that takes people to fill a survey form.
4. Show location on Google maps
Say you’re organizing an event and want to show the exact maps location of the venue to your guests.
You can add a Google Maps QR Code to the invitation cards. As people scan it, it will pinpoint the exact venue location on their maps application.
Once you finalize the type of QR Code you need, see if you have additional requirements.
Besides showing the target content to your audience, you may also want to:
1. Design your QR Codes
Though black-and-white QR Codes work fine, they’re dull to look at. And as a serious marketer, you’ll not want your audience to confuse your QR Code for ‘some barcode for official use’.
So add design to your QR Codes. It is a fact that customized QR Codes attract more scans than black-and-white ones.
2. Track scanning activity
One of the main reasons why marketers use QR Codes is—to monitor scanning activity.
You can monitor details such as how many people have scanned your QR Code, where did they scan it, when did they scan it, and which mobile handsets do they use.
This information can help you gauge your ROI and create even more focussed campaigns in the future.
3. Change content encoded in the QR Code
Say you create a QR Code that takes your audience to your website. But two months later, you want them to see your LinkedIn profile.
Rather than creating a new QR Code, you can make changes to the old one. This means the QR Code content will be changed while the QR Code will remain the same.
Note that only Dynamic QR Codes help you do this.
4. Capture leads
Marketers often want to capture the details (name, email, etc.) of their audience for remarketing.
If you want to capture leads, ensure that your QR Code generator has this feature.
5. Add password protection to QR Codes
Say you create a QR Code having confidential information. And you want only authorized personnel to access this information.
You can then add password protection to your QR Code. As users scan it, they’ll need to enter a password to access the encoded information.
Say you’ve now decided what all things you want your QR Code to do. The next big question is—how to generate a QR Code?
D. How to generate a QR Code
The first thing you need to create a QR Code is—a QR Code generator.
You know that there are two types of QR Code generators:
1. Free QR Code generators
2. Professional QR Code generators
You might wonder—can I not just use any free QR Code generator?
If you’re a serious marketer, you must stay away from free QR Code generators. This is because of:
1. Mobile Ads
Free QR code generators include mobile ads to the QR Code. So as people scan the QR code, they see ads before your content. This adversely affects the user experience.
2. Limited design options
Basic QR Code generators mostly create plain black-and-white QR codes or offer limited design options.
If you’re a serious marketer, you know the effect of branding. So what you need is—a professional QR Code generator with custom designing options.
3. No vector export
As discussed earlier, to add a QR Code on large banners, you’ll need its image in vector format such as SVG.
But basic QR Code generators allow you to export images only in PNG or JPG formats.
4. Inability to change the content
You know that you can change the content encoded in a Dynamic QR Code anytime you want. And your QR Code will remain the same.
Free QR Code generators offer only static QR Codes that are permanent. So you can’t change the content once the QR Code has been created.
Basic QR Code generators include many more such restrictions. However, you’ll not face any of them with a professional QR Code generator that charges a subscription fee.
Say now you’ve decided to use a professional QR Code generator. You’ll now think—which one to use?
There are many professional QR Code generators online. So how do you choose the best one for your use case?
See if your QR Code generator allows you to:
1. Generate dynamic QR Codes
2. Add design to your QR Codes
3. Track scanning activity
4. Create special landing pages
5. Track the exact GPS location of each scan
6. Capture leads
To make the process easier for you, we’ve compiled a detailed comparison chart of the top QR Code generators.
Scanova is the only Indian QR Code generator that helps you do everything mentioned above. We also provide you email and phone support along with technical assistance.
If you have any questions about your requirements, you can reach the Scanova team at [email protected]
Or get started with your first QR Code.
Create your first QR Code
That’s all you need to know before you get started with a QR Code for marketing in India.
Still have any queries? Feel free to ask them in comments.