Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weighing up QR codes

QR (Quick Response) codes

As a novelty, and stand out difference, with competitive marketing activities, QR codes have been around for a little while now.

I really don't consider that QR codes are substantially any improvement over the use of URLs, and in particular shortened URLs such as bit.ly. Basically a QR code is yet another means of communicating and driving a consumer from their point of interest into the online space where more detail can be provided in relation to a very precise ID associated with a product, an advertisement, or a business.

To be honest, the uptake on QR codes has been limited, and the vast majority of average consumers haven't a clue what they actually are. Maybe this is the fault of a suitable education process to inform the consumers to then drive an uptake.

However, unlike QR codes, a URL doesn't require locating an app, downloading it, installing it, and using it to photograph the code graphic. For consumers who don't have smartphones or have yet to download the appropriate app, a URL (and again I revert back to specifically convenient shortened URLs) will work better.

URLs have wider recognition and I see as preferable to using QR codes in print ads.
After an initial push from Google in an attempt to get businesses to adopt the codes and use them as decals at their places of business, Google dropped QR code support. Therefore if this had been seriously working affectively for local consumers, Google wouldn't have pulled the pin.

Similar options: Microsoft Tag Reader, Google Goggles