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September 15, 2012

QR Codes: Things To Keep In Mind

Jamie Allebach
Jamie Allebach Chief Executive & Creative Officer

Over the past few years we have seen the implementation or QR codes increase. We have seen this on the shelves in stores, on product packaging, print ads, posters and business cards. They are being used everywhere.

The consumer has become more and more familiar with QR codes and brands everywhere seem to be adopting their use. They are fairly easy to set up and can be successful and effective when used correctly.

However, there are some things to keep in mind:

Know why you are using the QR code
QR codes are a method to activate a strategy, not the strategy itself. QR codes are essentially a way to reduce typing URLs. Scan and you’re there. Make sure there is a reason why you are utilizing this method and that there is an equally strong reason for the consumer to scan it.

Give a payoff or incentive for scanning, and explain it

A QR code should have some sort of added benefit; present a unique element or experience, or link through to something that offers some sort payoff (for both your brand and the user).

Do you want feedback? Does the user get something out of giving you feedback?

Do you want them to enter a contest, download an app, or view a video about your product?

Once you have the benefit and goal in mind, just don’t forget to explain it. Sure, when seeing a QR code a large portion of the public knows they can scan it, but they still require a call to action to do so.

Tell them what they get by scanning. It is also never a bad idea to print a URL near the QR code as a safety measure.

Ensure that linked content is mobile and matters
One of the worst things you could do with a QR code (aside from it not working at all) is to link through to something that is not meant to be viewed on a mobile device.

So your site is mobile, but does it matter? You should also check that you are sending them to something that, once again, has added value. This could be a coupon, discount or other special offer. The value could also be in the experience itself by offering exclusive content or access to a promotion just from scanning your code.

Size and location
Some phones are able to pick up codes as small as 3/4 inch, and as technology advances it could be even smaller. However, you won’t want to risk this. A safe size or rule of thumb is 1.25 x 1.25 inch square, as the majority of smart phone shouldn’t have any issues scanning this.

You also want to be sure your QR code is not being printed on a reflective surface, on the very corner of the page or package, or on a fold. QR codes need a little white space to properly be read.