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QR Codes: Do You Care Anymore?

According to a study of college students, the answer is no

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QR Codes: Do You Care Anymore?
[ Technology]

Say you’re walking down the street and you see the unmistakable black and white pattern of a Quick Response code, what is your immediate reaction? Do you have the uncontrollable urge to find out what kind of secrets are contained in its design? Do you quickly fumble to find your smartphone, hoping that activating the code will lead you to a secret website – maybe a special deal?

Or do you just walk by, unable to burden yourself with one more thing to do in your busy day?

According to some research by QR skeptic youth marketing agency Archrival, there is at least one important group of the population that’s failing to muster any excitement for QR codes.

They asked over 500 students across 24 different U.S. college campuses about the technology and found that although recognition of the codes was pretty high, interaction was just the opposite.

Students were shown a picture of a QR code and then asked questions like: Can you identify what this is? Do you know how to use it? How likely are you to engage with these in the future?

Here are just a few of our findings:

  • 81% of students owned a smartphone
  • 80% of students had previously seen a QR code
  • 21% of students successfully scanned our QR code example.
  • 75% of students said they are “Not Likely” to scan a QR code in the future.

Apparently, these college kids know all about QR codes and have the smartphones they need to interact with them, but really have no desire to investigate further when they encounter one.

It looks like one of the big problems is actually a lack of comprehensive understanding of the process. Some of the students thought that their smartphone camera in some way included a native QR code reader, and had no idea that a 3rd party app was necessary to read the code. Many just thought the whole thing took too long and abandoned the process before completion. Either way, that 75% figure of students who said that don’t plan to scan a QR code in the future is an interesting one to marketers and promoters.

QR codes can be used effectively for viral marketing – for instance when a team constructing an underground art show sticks QR stickers all over town, and scanning them leads directly to the show’s website. Still, even this interesting promotional concept requires curiosity from the public.

And of course QR codes have simple data storage purposes, which are very practical in daily life. Take for instance airlines that use them for electronic boarding passes. Some entering the work force have also taken to putting QR codes on their resumes, providing employers with a way to access more information. Hospitals are even using the codes to help women schedule mammograms.

But as far as college kids are concerned, Archrival has some advice for those wanting to use QR codes for marketing purposes: “Unless QR codes become easier, more nimble, and can provide content that engenders a more meaningful connection to the brand or product, students will continue to shower them with apathy.”

Check out the infographic below and let us know your feelings about QR code marketing and promotion in the comments.

[Lead Image courtesy Wikipedia]

QR Codes: Do You Care Anymore?
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  • http://ejesconsulting.wordpress.com ejes

    I find that QR codes are frequently faulty and do not load correct pages. I also noticed that QR codes don’t specifically specify what they’re going to do, call someone? go to a web page? text?

    I think that most people don’t want to just “see” what happens.

    • http://scanvee.com Tony

      Once again the QR Code is blamed for the poor effort put forth by those who created it. The QR Code should always aim to simplify the process you are asking the consumer to partake in. If that process wasn’t worth their time in the first place than don’t blame the hyperlink that led you to it, rather blame the marketer behind the concept. The code is simply a button to get to the content, it’s not meant to be a surprise: “ooh I wonder what’s behind this code”. The novelty of is wearing off and I hope this leads to marketers actually having a strategy behind the code. Here is my 2 cents on the topic: http://blog.scanvee.com/post/11874250091/why-did-the-chicken-scan-the-qr-code

  • Lee

    QR code campaigns are very challenging to pull off, but when done correctly can be very effective. Many are already writing them off in favor of NFC, but NFC will have the same problems as QR in terms of user experience in the initial stages.

    NFC will also have an interesting synergy with QR–for example having NFC automatically launch a QR scanning app when you walk into a store or restaurant.

    QRs are a ‘pull’ phenomenon, whereas NFC is more ‘push’. I think people will find it useful when they can select when and where to be pushed so they can pull.

    In the interim, QR will struggle, as it is too much of a hassle to scan them, and marketers haven’t done a good job with QR campaigns, which consequently causes people to ignore them. But there are others that will use them creatively, and I think people will take a second look.

  • http://qr-codeworld.com Al

    This shows that we have a ways to go before qr codes really take off. We added a link to this survey page on our blog, qr-codeworld.com. Thanks for putting all this together.

  • ugg

    You know thus considerably in relation to this topic, produced me for my part consider it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved until it’s something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. At all times take care of it up!

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