The use of the QR Code increased by 6 times in 2011 and with increased smartphone penetration for 2012, it shows no signs of retreating.
If 2010 was the year of mobile, then 2011 was the year of the QR Code. The percent of print ads containing QR Codes showed growth from below 1% of all print ads in January 2011 to in excess of 6% of all advertising in December 2011.
While a variety of 2D barcodes were used in the print advertisements, the vast majority (87.8%) of those utilized in print were QR Codes. The Microsoft tag, a multi-colored tag using triangular shapes, was second most popular with 10.2%. The JagTag, DataMatrix Code, SnapTag, and EZ Code made up just over 1% of the use in print advertisements.
Businesses of all types are utilizing 2D barcode technology, although retailers lead with 21.9% of the overall use of bar codes. It would make sense that technology is the second most used category since those scanning bar codes are likely more tech savvy than the average person. Interestingly, automotive was just the seventh top category of use of 2D barcodes.
For 2D barcodes to continue growing, it is important that they offer relevant feedback that is of value to the scanners. General commerce and branding are important, but leading the consumer to a value-added features such as a video or mobile coupon is a valuable use of 2D barcode technology.
Unfortunately, some advertisers just don’t get it when it comes to using 2D barcodes. Over 40% of the QR Codes tracked led to brand home pages. Leading a consumer to a home page is usually not going to result in great customer satisfaction, especially if that home page is not optimized for mobile.
The study of 2D barcodes was done by Competitrack which began studying the use of 2D barcodes in January 2011. Throughout the year, the company identified 7,300 print advertisements that featured 2D barcodes.
Over all of 2011, 4% of all print ads included a 2D barcode, although that number peaked later in the year at over 7% of the ads studied. Oppenheimer Funds was the leader in utilizing 2D barcodes with 85% of its print ads including 2D barcodes.
Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services which has been providing Custom QR Codes, with the branding of the company incorporated into the code itself. Its apples to apples comparisons with Custom QR Codes vs. traditional black & white QR Codes shows a scan rate that is 2.3 times greater for Custom QR Codes. If you would like to reach Bentz, you can (how’d you guess?), scan his Custom QR Code below.
Follow Bob Bentz on Google+ or on Twitter @BobBentz.