Using it For a Basic URL
If a person wants to create a QR code for a website such as TheSocialRobot.com, do us all a favor and don’t. Isn’t a simple URL to a home page much easier to remember rather than trying to scan the QR code at that exact moment to view their mobile site? What if I’d like to browse the site when I’m back at my computer? For those instances, a shorter URL that is easy to remember or write down would be a lot more effective.
As Martin from the Web 2.0 Blog states, “Advertisers who embed desktop URLs in a QR code are missing the point of real-to-mobile interactivity. People interact with their mobile devices with significantly shorter attention spans than they do on their desktops. Once a QR code is scanned, the resulting view should be thumb-interactive, easy to read, and purpose-driven.”
The only time a QR code would be useful is when sending users to long URLs of specific product pages, such as www.example.com/shop/toys/barney/small-4693482032. Using the QR code can allow a user to read more about the Barney toy and share the link. The same goes for cars at a dealership– they work great for price stickers when a salesman isn’t there. A user can view the internet price, check specifics, and using the online payment calculator to find out costs.
Targeting Mobile Smart Phones
Some websites just don’t translate well to mobile phones, no matter how big the screen is. If there are a lot of interior detail pages or the website doesn’t have a mobile version, using QR codes don’t make a lot of sense.
Many websites on smart phones are either for social networking, online shopping, or current events, like the mobile version of CNN.com. According to Opera, the 10 top mobile sites in the United States in 2010 were:
Using a QR code on a printed material can be useful, but when it comes to posting it on a website, as a TwitPic, or other digital medium? My main question is, Why? Why would someone who is already browsing the web on their computer want to scan a QR code to take them to another website on their phone? That is almost the equivalent of writing an email on a laptop while texting the same person on a phone.
Of course, there are exceptions. These may include:
- QR code to download mobile app page
- QR code to Google Map directions to business location
- QR code to mobile contest, which may include taking location-relevant photo or texting a phrase to a monitored number.
That’s it. No QR codes on websites to regular pages. No QR codes to Facebook pages. No QR codes to an online shopping cart. As Martin further notes, “Old habits die hard, so it will take some time for people to get used to engaging the real world with their phone, but the unique look of a QR code, a strong call to action, and valuable rewards will help further their surging popularity.”
Additionally, users’ inexperience with connecting to the mobile web as referenced above can also lead to a high instance of human error, especially if they are unable to get the code to scan and no other URL or call to action is offered. The user may simply “give up” and not attempt to access the information again.
Just Because It Is the ‘Next Big Thing’
Just because QR codes are the hottest thing to currently hit the social and mobile web, it doesn’t mean that they are right for every website, business, or marketing campaign. Don’t create a QR code for you, your business, or your website in order to keep up with The Joneses. The problem with this is that The Joneses could understand and actually utilize QR codes the correct way, which may make a company that doesn’t understand pale in comparison.
The same goes for Facebook and Twitter- having a profile or page on these sites doesn’t mean you are just as relevant as your competitors, especially if you aren’t updating them regularly. (But that may be another article entirely.)
On a final note, for a few great ideas on how to use QR codes in marketing, check out this post by Brennan at FreePromoTips.com.au
Images courtesy of http://bloggertone.com/marketing/2011/01/05/qr-codes-will-they-be-big-in-2011/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:QR_Code_Structure_Example.svg
Great post and thanks for the link Kelsey.
Advertisers must think beyond just a link to a URL.
If you use a QR code, you must be asking – What is the specific action i want the user to take? Give me an email address? Buy something? Sign up to my newsletter?
The scope for these blurry images is huge! I read this morning that smart phone ownership is set to double this year, and again and again until 2015 – that’s a lot of smartphones!
Understanding and utilising mobile marketing media is going to become more and more important
I agree QR Codes are excellent but they have to be used correctly and have a decent value offer or something very engaging at the other end or else people will get tired of the codes or worse your brand.
So use them because they are fantastic marketing tools, but use them wisely.
Great article! Lots of good points here.
SocialQRCode.com.SocialQRCode.com2011 is definitely going to be the launch point for QR Codes!
Businesses have numerous ways to utilize QR Codes as a marketing tool, but none are better than http://www.SocialQRCode.com. Social QR Code allows its users to set up a mobile landing page for their QR Code with social features such as a Facebook “Like” button or a Twitter “Follow” button. Businesses can also create coupons that are sharable on Facebook and Twitter. Give http://www.SocialQRCode.com a try!
youtube.comHey I used the QR Codes in an interactive music video…
I don’t know you might like this 🙂
Well, I have to disagree.
Just because it’s possible to use it for something other than encoding URLs doesn’t mean it’s not useful for sending you to a site, or shouldn’t be used for that.
Just because it should be/is easy(ier) to remember a short URL does not mean you shouldn’t use QR as an alternative for the keyboard (which is what I was looking for when testing three different QR scanners for Windows Mobile just now – all with the ability to send the URL to a browser).
The length of the URL is irrelevant – that really hasn’t anything to do with this.
Offline-to-online doesn’t happen easily. It hardly ever happens on my ads, and I’ve tried various ways. There are better ways to spend my cash so I’ve basically given up advertising that way.
In my opinion, a QR is a type of call2action button. Because of its “novelty” people are likely to “click” it – for now. It probably helps that most people are curious.
But that, too, will pass.
Next to trying to use it for my old documentation program that scans barcodes, I’m planning an offline game locally here in the city, and I can think of using it for giving hints.
Perhaps you can give me some more good ideas what it would be useful for (but I really don’t see how the length of the message is important in any way).
Hey, we are living the future, the day of technology. I think these QR codes are absolutly awesome. We all should and probably will very soon , have one (just like a cell/smart phone). As an individual, one would be all we need, as a business, multiples may be needed, just watch it and don’t put to much personal stuff accessable to the code. URL’s are good, but a code is a bit faster and in this fast paced world we live in we need it to continue and be effective. Use you imagination on what you/we can do……………………anything!!
it isnt like qr codes are a rare material item that can only be used x amount of times for any given purpose. if people want to make a qr code for stupid simple things, let them. theyre useful, theyre helpful, and if nothing else its an easy way to save a website or someones contact information for later