You probably have a TV channel and you want to engage your viewers better.

Viewers are usually multi-tasking while on TV. In addition to watching a TV show or a movie, they are simultaneously on their smartphones or tablets.

So the best way to engage them is by making them use their smartphones/tablets. This may be to visit your website, download an app, follow you on social media, or even make a purchase.

All that you need to do is—make it easier for them to take an action. And the best way to do is by using QR Codes.

QR Codes are 2D barcodes that store alphanumeric information and are scannable with smartphones. They are an excellent tool to connect people from offline media to online content.

Today they are being widely used for promotional and operational use cases such as:

1. Redirecting audience to a website via print media campaigns

2. Getting customers to submit their reviews for a business

3. Allowing people make payments

4. Increasing followers on various social media platforms

5. Getting people to download an app

Here’s how QR Codes can be used on TV channels to keep viewers engaged:

1. To redirect viewers to a website

Say you want your viewers to visit your website. So you give the link to your website on TV screen.

Viewers will now have to unlock their mobiles, open the web browser, type the entire link and then view your website.

They’ll have to put both time and efforts. Hence, many of them may simply skip doing it.

What you can do here is make it easier for them to take an action. And a QR Code can help you do it.

Rather than a website link, you can display a Website URL QR Codes on TV screens. This QR Code, when scanned, will redirect viewers to your website.

QR Codes on TV: hand scanning QR Code

England’s Creative Resources Group (CRG) added QR Codes to Route 44 Toyota and Hyundai’s TV commercials. These QR Codes redirected viewers to Route 44 Toyota or Hyundai’s mobile website.

Also, in Jan 2019, Netflix added a QR Code to Bandersnatch episode of its Black Mirror series. This QR Code takes viewers to a promotional website created for the film.

2. To get people to follow you on social media

Today various channels are creating communities on social media. Here viewers can stay updated on upcoming shows and even discuss current ones amongst themselves.

To build such a community, you’ll first need your audience to follow you on social media. Though you can give your social media profile links/user names, the chances are—not many people will use them (just like a website link).

So you can rather show them a Social Media QR Code on their TV screens. This QR Code will redirect viewers to a page with links to all your social media profiles.

QR Codes on tv: social media qr code

Hence, your viewers can select their favorite social media platform to follow you.

3. To help your audience download an app

If you have a mobile app for your channel, you’ll want your audience to download it. And you might even promote it through TV ads.

You can add a QR code to your ads to help people download your app. We call it an App store QR Code.

An app store QR Code redirects users to appropriate app store (such as Google Play and App Store) depending on the device’s OS and helps them download the app.

4. To help them make a purchase

Say you have a subscription plan for your channel and you want people to buy it.

Your viewers will want details of subscription plan and if they like it, they’ll purchase it.

Here you can create a Rich text QR Code and display it on TV screens. This QR Code will take viewers to a customised landing page that provides plan details and a payment link.

Once they go through the details and want to buy subscription, they can easily click the link and make payment.

5. To allow people to leave comments and suggestions

When viewers watch a TV show, they often come up with comments and suggestions. Just like YouTube helps them leave comments while/after watching a video, you can do it too.

You can add a QR Code at the corner of the TV screen while a particular show is being aired. Viewers can scan it to leave their comments and suggestions.

This way you can not only help your audience share their views, but also understand them better.

6. To help viewers vote

Almost every TV channel now shows a reality show. And a lot of people like them.

Most of these shows (such as America’s Got Talent and Indian idol) need audience to vote for their favorite candidate.

Though people do vote, there are many who don’t. Reason being the same as not visiting a website. It needs them to put both time and efforts.

By making it easier for audience to vote, reality shows can see an increase in the number of votes. This can be easily done with a QR Code.

Reality shows can feature a QR Code on the TV screens which, when scanned, redirects audience to submit their vote.

7. To give your cooking recipe

While watching a cooking show, viewers either have to remember the recipe and ingredients for a dish. Or they have to write it.

What you can do here is—feature a QR Code at the corner of the screen. This QR Code will show them cooking recipe as text.

This way, viewers will no longer need to worry about remembering/writing the recipe.

These are some examples on how QR Codes can be used on TV.

TV Channels and advertisers can use them to engage audience better by helping them take an action.

Best practices for QR Codes on TV

If you’re planning to display QR Codes on TV screens, you must make sure that it is highly scannable and catches viewers’ eye. To do this:

1. Ensure that QR Code is of adequate size

The scannability of a QR Code is affected by its size. Before going live with QR Codes onscreen, check the adequate size of QR Code.

Whatever the use case is, the size of QR Code must not be below 1.2 x 1.2 inches. Hence, always test the QR Code before going live.

2. Make sure QR Code has adequate quiet zone

A QR Code is made up of various data modules.

how to make a custom qr code: qr code anatomy

For QR Code to be scannable, there should be white space (quiet zone) of width equivalent to four data modules.

3. Add high error-correction to your QR Code

QR Codes have error-correction property which helps them remain scannable despite damage upto 30%.

QR Code generators such as Scanova take advantage of this property to add logo to the QR Code. They remove a few data modules from the centre of the QR Code to add a logo.

So you must always keep error correction level high (H or V) to ensure high level of scannability.

4. Add design to your QR Code

A black-and-white QR Code works fine for operational use cases. But it is important for marketers and brands to differentiate themselves from the competition.

QR Codes on TV: Custom designed QR Code

And a custom designed QR Code helps them do this. It allows one to add brand logo and colors to the QR Code and give it a personal touch.

It is a fact that custom-designed QR Codes attract much more scans than black-and-white QR Codes.

5. Ensure adequate color contrast

There must be enough contrast between a QR Code’s elements and background.

QR Codes on TV: color contrast

If your QR Code is dark in color, ensure the background is light colored and vice-versa.

In case there is poor contrast between QR Code elements and the background, your QR Code won’t scan.

6. Add relevant call-out

Though many people now know what is a QR Code, you must add call-to-action text above or below the QR Code.

This gives your audience a fair idea about what to expect after scanning the QR code. Some popular callout texts include—scan to win, scan to play, and  scan to watch full video.

7. Take care of the aspect ratio

A QR Code is square-shaped. Scanners look for the position markers and other data to get the size of a data module.

This helps scanners differentiate between each data module.

So a QR Code designed for 4:3 aspect ratio when shown in 16:9 aspect ratio, becomes rectangular. Hence, scanners find it difficult to scan the QR Code in such situations.

That’s all you need to know before displaying QR Codes on TV screens.


Create a QR Code for your TV channel

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Can you think of any other use case of QR Codes on TV? Let us know in the comments.

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