QR Code Metrics [Data]

How to Track QR Code Results

QR codes continue to gain attention as shown by Google Trends. Roughly one out five Fortune 50 companies use QR Codes although this usage is mainly to extend information distributed in advertising based on Burson Marsteller’s research. While QR code usage may be limited to large and/or geeky-oriented companies at this point, shouldn’t you at least test their effectiveness for your business?

Source: Google Trends- QR Codes in U.S. through March 17, 2011

3 Challenges to analyzing QR code results

While QR codes can contain embedded information that aids usage tracking, there are three significant challenges to expanding QR code usage short-term.

  1. Give users the magic wand. QR Codes require a smartphone with a QR code reader installed. This hinders usage since only about 30% of all U.S. mobile phone users have smartphones. While newer smartphones come with QR code readers installed, older devices require users to download a reader, adding another step to the process.
  2. Teach smartphone owners new habits. Consumers need to learn new how to use QR code functionality. As a novelty item added to advertising, print and other offline products, QR codes are more functional than their op-art design suggests. Since QR code behavior is new, marketers may need to educate prospects and customers regarding the benefits.
  3. Coax users with rewards. Give customers a reason to use your QR codes. Remember customers think “What’s in it for me?” Therefore, don’t overlook the need for a call-to-action, a related purchase code, and a benefit for clicking through.

5 Basic QR code metrics

Like any marketing program, it’s important to track your QR code results. Their op-art presentation obfuscates the information behind them. This can help lure prospects to snap a shot of the QR code to see where the link leads. Once printed, the code and the related URL remain constant, but you you can freely change the information on the landing page. Therefore you can update information on surfaces with long shelf lives, like product packaging and billboards.

From a metrics perspective, bear in mind that using QR codes are like putting your URL on an ad or other surface. Unlike a URL they may remember, consumers can’t tell what the QR code means without taking a snapshot of it. Here are five basic QR code metrics to monitor.

  1. Impressions. This is the number of times the QR code is viewed in its original context or surface. This is usually the same as the number of impressions the ad, in which the QR code appears, gets.
  2. Snaps. This is the number of people who snap a shot of the QR code and are linked to the landing page or other content. Make sure the landing page is mobile friendly because users capture this information on a smartphone. Since U.S. smartphone penetration is roughly 30% and additional action is needed, snaps will be low relative to the impressions.
  3. Snap-through rate. Calculate the percentage of people who take this next action by dividing the number of snaps by the number of impressions. Expect this to be a very small percentage.
  4. Actions. This is the number of people who ultimately buy or take the next step. This should be in line with marketing goals.
  5. Conversion rate. Calculate the percentage of people who convert from those who snap-through on your QR code or actions divided by snaps.

When it comes to QR code usage, the bottom line is that they’re far from mainstream. That said, using them can extend the information you share with consumers, connecting offline display surfaces and printed pages with online information. QR codes show that your firm is up with the latest technology. While your results will be low initially, it’s a good idea to start tracking them to get these metrics integrated into your on-going marketing analytics.

Have you started tracking QR code use? If so, what are your results?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: Mallox via Flickr

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  • http://www.twirp.ca Anita Hovey

    Great article. I put a QRCode on the back of my business card–it links to my website. Not the best use of one, but it’s a start…and I did it purely to show that I am “keeping up with the latest technology”. I will be suggesting them to lots of clients and I do hope they become more mainstream. What I need to know is how those clicks will show up on my analytics page…if they are differentiated at all.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Anita–Thank you! Adding a QR code to your business card is a great idea. It’s on the list for my next batch. It’s a good way to extend the information that you share with others in real life. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://andrefloyd.com Andre Floyd

    A thought for trade show marketers: as pointed out in the article, not everyone has a QRcode reader on their smartphone, yet. In your booth signage, offer to help visitors get a code reader app on their phone. This will get you the chance to (A) help a potential customer, and (B) engage in a conversation with a potential customer that might have kept walking. It is then up to you to make the sale!

  • http://www.o2mktcomm.com Bob Duerr

    We are utilizing QR coupons into a OTC program template that integrates direct mail, a program landing page, and coupon redirection via QR and also physical coupons to make up the difference for the consumer market thats does not have, or understand QR applications. The client has been historically conservative in using “old school” methodologies including BRC cards and retail coupons both of which offer limited ROI metrics. We have had a hard time convincing the client of embracing the emergent technologies as any hard data is unimpressive and as stated, 30% usage is low unless you area aiming at a young demographic. We are covering a target market of women, 18 to 50. Hence the reason for “hard and soft” coupons as a CTA. Gotta mix it up on this one.

  • Beth

    I like the idea of stores putting them on a window so when they are closed and you walk by and “simply must have” an item…just scan and buy. I’ve noticed companies starting to use them on coupons but not explaining what they are. I think they need to do that still. Many folks don’t know.

  • http://qrcode.good-survey.com/ Avivo

    It is to early to make predictions about QR Code usage. People will definitely scan it if there is some value for them and people are very curious and they even decode images through website as they don’t have smart phone or QR reader yet. It is a trend that is going up.

    We are dealing with the subject daily at http://qrcode.good-survey.com/ and you can do free test drive with QR tracking feature.

  • Gordon Parkin

    Hello Heidi,
    I enjoyed your article but I have one point I would like to raise. You keep referring to “Smart Phone” users when in actual fact a QR code can be read from “Feature Phones” very successfully as long as the user has access to WAP and a phone camera. We have been doing this for over a year now and have had great success in South Africa. Our process is: 1. If you don’t have a QR Code Reader SMS “CODE” to xxxxx and download the free NeoReader App. 2. Open the App and use your phone camera to scan the QR code. 3. You will then be directed to the brand Mobisite or featured content.
    If the handset is incompatible, then a return SMS is sent with a click thru link to the site destination.

    Kind regards – Gordon

  • http://www.strategicdriven.com Joseph Ruiz

    We are using QR codes on our business card too. So far it is more of a conversation starter.

    Gordon thanks for sharing your experience with Feature Phones very innovative since education is part of the QR process you have engineered an elegant solution.
    Best
    Joe

  • http://www.businessrefinery.com/products/barcode_net/barcodes/net-code-128.html Barcode_Generator

    Excellent example of one of the many uses for QR Codes. Well done.