New Research Offers Insight on the Effectiveness of QR Codes -- Few marketing trends are currently hotter than QR (Quick Response) codes -- those 2D black and white, square images that can be scanned by smartphones. QR codes have appeared in print advertisements, direct mail, in-store signage, even television and billboards, spanning nearly every industry including retail, healthcare, automotive, building and hospitality. While the popularity of these cryptic glyphs continues to grow, so does the uncertainty of their effectiveness.
What advantages do QR codes bring to the marketing arsenal or are they merely a passing fad?
First, there is a theoretical market for them. With more than 82.2 million smartphone users in the United States, an enabled consumer landscape exists. It is a well-established fact that mobile data traffic has steadily been increasing with the advent of wireless connectivity, high-speed Internet and Internet-enabled mobile phones. Secondly, QR codes are free to generate and use. You can easily get your own QR code and embed it in promotional materials, business cards, company letterheads and merchandise. What’s more, it is easier to deploy QR code strate- gies and measure their effectiveness than some more traditional tactics. Third, unlike in broadcast or print advertising, there are no limits on information in terms of length, size and space. The code delivers the viewer to an online destination that can house whatever is desired.
Strategic marketing firm, Russell Herder, recently conducted an online survey of over 500 United States residents to gain insight into awareness levels of QR codes and attitudes towards their use among consumers.
The results suggest that a substantial number of consumers demonstrate significant lack of understanding as to what QR codes are or how they work. Furthermore, attitudes among respondents indicate that the process of using the marketing device at often times does not elicit a great enough reward for continued engagement.
Carol Russell, CEO of Russell Herder, says the research can help marketers better identify effective applications for QR codes to reach consumers and optimize results. Russell writes :
The mere employment of QR codes is not enough to drive consumer engagement and marketing results ... It is important for marketers to know their audience and how they will react to this tool and, ultimately how to maximize the opportunity.
The study is a natural extension of the agency's commitment to provide research-based, relevant strategies in an increasingly digital environment. Located in Minneapolis, the firm provides such services as online reputation monitoring, brand positioning campaigns and in-depth market research.
Russell writes :
Despite trends in smartphone adoption that might lead one to believe otherwise, a surprising number of consumers demonstrate a significant lack of understanding as to what QR codes are or how they work. Furthermore, attitudes among respondents indicate that the marketing device has a long way to go before it can be considered a wholly legiti- mate vehicle for consumer engagement. Select findings from the online survey we conducted in August 2011 follow here.
Seventy-two percent of consumers say they have seen a QR code, yet nearly three in 10 do not know what it is. Further, nearly one in five people who regularly go online via their mobile phone do not know what a QR code is.
To read the study, click here or visit russellherder.com/research
Founded in 1984, Russell Herder provides integrated strategic solutions to regional and national clients. With offices in Minneapolis and Brainerd, Russell Herder develops strategies that link creative, research, advertising, public relations and digital communications into powerful, results-driven platforms. For more information, visit russellherder.com.