QR Codes: Do You Care Anymore?

    November 29, 2011
    Josh Wolford

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]


Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf