The QR code is still a young enough technology its future remains uncertain, but research from comScore shows placement of QR codes in magazines and newspapers is the most effective vehicle of engagement, with product packaging coming in second. In an era when customers are increasingly getting their news from a computing device thinner than your average daily, this is a rare win for print media.
Businesses have been seeking to cleverly employ QR codes to interact with customers and prospects for years. In addition to our print consumption, QR codes turn up in advertising displays, emails, Web deliverables, art projects, and even baked goods and plates.
While the data from comScore gives us a glimpse of the QR code's reach, there's a reasonable amount of common sense at play here. Sometimes we're just cramming QR codes where they don't belong. Consider the image to the right, taken while some of us at General Data were out on a recent lunch break. Would you have even spotted this QR code, let alone squatted down in the middle of the restaurant to scan it?
Print applications have likely proven more successful placements of QR codes because of the situation in which they're presented: Reading the Sunday paper in the comfort of your home, smartphone in reach; entering a contest you spotted on the side of your cereal box in the morning; scanning a couple business card contacts into your phone when you get back to the office from a trade show. There's no audience to make you feel like the lone geek in the room, and because of this, print applications of QR codes command a majority of the actual engagement taking place.
With the plethora of QR code generators out there, QR codes can be a cheap, convenient way to engage your prospective customers with an instantly-recognizable call to action, but when building your marketing strategy, a bit of common sense goes a long way — Make it easy! If prospective customers have to crawl on the floor to interact with your brand, you're doing it wrong.