QR Code Scanning

Photo of a QR Code on a Dunn Bros coffee

Photo courtesy David Erickson



In Q2 2010, ScanLife processed 10 scans per minute through their scanning apps.

By Q2 2011, that number had risen to one scan per second.

THOUGHT: That’s quite an increase.

I think we’re still in the novelty phase of adoption. Scanning QR codes is, after all, one of the cool things you can do with your smart phone and it is one of the things you can do to show off the capabilities of your smart phone to your dumb phone friends. 

I think consumer education will be pretty easy. Once someone points out QR codes and explain what they are, you tend to start seeing them everywhere. I was at a Saint Paul Saints game recently and practically every poster I saw there sported a QR code. 

Then there’s the simple curiosity factor: What’s on the other side of that QR code? What will it lead me to? 

Unfortunately, we are also in the early-adoption phase for marketers as well. 

What tends to happen during this phase is people implement QR code campaigns simply because they think they need a QR code campaign. They don’t think through why they would want to do such a campaign or what they’d hope to accomplish with one. So you get a lot of QR codes that lead the scanner to the home page of their website, leaving the scanner to figure out what they’re supposed to do, if anything. 

You also get a lot of campaigns that haven’t had a lot of thought put into them.

QR codes on television commercials: By the time I realize there’s a QR code there and get my app launched and ready to scan, the commercial will have ended. If I happen to have a chance to scan, there may not be enough light in the room for the scan to properly register.

QR codes on the outside of vehicles: Seriously? Are people driving in their cars going to bother to use their phone to scan a passing vehicle, assuming they’d have enough time to do so?

Inside public transit = Good. 
On bus wraps = Bad.

Karl Pearson-Carter hashtagged examples on Twitter yesterday using #QRCodeCrazy.

The list, unfortunately, does go on.

Think long and hard about the context within which your target audience will likely be doing the scanning.  


KEYWORD WEDNESDAY: Americans first started searching for QR Codes in 2006 and the volume of those searches remained relatively low until last year when such searches began to spike. This year they’ve gone through the roof.  57% of the searches for QR Code are performed by men, compared to 43% for women, according to Yahoo! Clues.


Thank you for interactive books.




The e-Strategy Academy covers all aspects of digital marketing including search optimization & marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing & public relations.