When's the last time you scanned a QR code?
I'm guessing that for many of you, it's probably been at least a few
months. For many marketers, advertisers, and PR pros, QR codes were (and
in some cases
still are) the shiny object that was supposed to bridge the offline and
online worlds. It sounds perfect.
For example, your ad agency creates an ad outside a local mall. Then,
people scan this little bar code. They are whisked away to your store's
(ideally, it's mobile-friendly), where they instantly receive a
promotional code or coupon. Sounds peachy, right?
What's not to love about a way to find new ways to reach and engage with
your customers and potential customers? However, QR codes have been
around for a
while now, and the initial buzz has fizzled. The QR code never went
1. No clear calls to action
Most marketers slap a QR code on their ads willy-nilly, with no clear
call to action. A good chunk of people don't know what to do with a QR
less want to scan it without a reason. You have to provide an incentive
or reason for people to scan it.
Placing a QR code on an ad with no clear call to action is like placing a
Facebook or Twitter icon on a TV ad with no URL. It's the push-and-pray
and that doesn't usually end well.
2. Poor execution
Another pitfall is that many marketers are not thinking about the most
(or least) conducive environments to scan a QR code. Mobile behavior is
different from desktop PC behavior. Users don't have 24 inches of screen
real estate (unless you have the freakishly large Samsung Galaxy Note).
probably on the go and multitasking. It's a lot harder to get a mobile
audience to stop all they are doing and spend 30 precious seconds to
scan a code.
That marketers are placing QR codes in some of the worst places
ever—such as on highway billboards, subway stations/trains, and, yes,
even in public
Why would you put a QR code in a place that has no or limited WiFi, like
a subway station—or, worse, on a highway billboard? It's bad enough
put on makeup, eat lunch, and text while driving. It's scary to think
someone is holding up their phone and trying to scan a QR code while
driving 70 mph
on the interstate.
3. QR code flawed technology
Even with the worst execution errors, the technology behind QR codes
never got it quite right. It was another app for people to download on
smartphones. Then even if you had a QR Code app, it could be clunky to
use and required a solid 3G/4G signal or WiFi. In the minute it took to
you could have easily just queued up the website or gone to the
company's social media page.
Do you think QR codes are dead?
Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer and an avid Gen Y blogger.
This article first appeared on
Jessica Malnik's blog.