It seams that two groups have manifested themselves when it comes to using QR codes in Marketing. Those who tell you that you cant live without it and those who tell you that you’re stupid to be using them. As with everything else the truth lies somewhere in between and it depends mostly on your market and target group if you should include it into you marketing strategy or not.
Rule No 1 Know you target group!
According to Vision Mobile Smartphone’s account for just 27% of all mobile phones word wide. But when broken down to regions there are big differences between Northern America and Europe with more than 50% smart phones and Latin America with 17%. So if you’re doing a campaign in Paraguay you might want to hold back on your QR code investment for the time being.
When looking at target groups there is also great differences. According to Nielsen, if your target group is between 25-34 the smart phone penetration is 62% (US numbers). In a lot younger an older target groups the penetration is as low as 18%. According to Archrival the best group that you should consider using QR codes on is college students. They did a survey in 24 Colleges around the US and found that 81% of the students owned a smart phone and 80% had previously seen a QR code.
Now put them together
We have campuses in Norway, China and Lithuania. In our campus in Lithuania we have been using QR codes for more than a year, but with no significant effect. Strange based on the findings from Archrival but not so strange based on the smart phone penetration in the region (Eastern Europe) which is around 14%.
Rule No 2 Creative
Again according to Archrival when the College students were asked about the probability of using a QR code, 75% answered “Not likely”. When we also know that the younger target group has a very high “display fatigue” when it comes to commercials, it goes without saying that the use of QR codes has to be very creative. We all have now probably heard about the Tesco case in Shout Korea.
Rule No 3 testing
Again, according to Archrival (great guys and girls), only 21% of the students successfully scanned the QR code in their test. When we are working with our agencies developing QR codes most testing is done on screen or from a print out from a laser writer. And of course in house where the internet connection is, normally, very good. You should test the QR code on the same kind of paper (or solutions) that you would use in the campaign and ideally on the location it would probably be used (if possible – like on boards).
Your best shot of making it work: College students in the US, with great creative
Your worst shot: Grandparents in rural areas in Peru