Sat on the tube this morning an advert for British Airways (I think) caught my eye. Not the content, but the fact the fact it had a QR code as the call to action. This seemed a little odd to me, given tube trains spend most of their life underground where there isn’t currently access to the Internet.
A similar thought occurred to me walking past a hotel currently being built in Moorgate. On the side of the building works, about 50ft above street level, is a massive banner featuring a QR code. The code must be at least a metre square in size. You can of course pick up an Internet connection outside in Central London, but how would you scan a code at that height and of that size?
Then of course there are the QR codes you see on some television shows. The BBC trialled this recently on a cookery show, where you were invited to scan the code on your television screen to get to the recipe. The few seconds available didn’t even give me time to reach my phone, let alone start up the scanner app.
These to me are all good examples of when not to use a QR code.
When then should you use a QR code?
Here’s a simple checklist to work with. If you can satisfy each of these points then you could think about using a QR code in your campaign:
- Your target audience is tech savvy and likely to have a smartphone
- You have a landing page optimised to work on a mobile phone
- Your call to action does not require downloading a large file, completing a long subscribe form, or doing anything that will eat up a lot of bandwidth
- Your QR code will be in a position where it is easy to scan and where there will be an internet connection
- You have an offer or call to action based on real value for your target audience
QR codes are quick, easy, convenient and trackable, but ultimately not worth the ink if you don’t meet these criteria. Perhaps a more simple vanity URL would be a better option for your campaign.
Please let us know if you have used QR codes succesfully. We would love to give some examples of best practice case studies here on the blog.