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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