QR Codes – The Best and The Worst

September 10, 2012 · 11 comments

in Marketing Ideas, Tips, Tools

QR codes have been gaining in popularity in Europe & the US over the past years. Commonly used throughout Eastern Asia – including Japan and China – their uptake in the Western world has been a little slower. However, with everyone starting to jump on the band wagon, we look at a few examples of where businesses got it right, and wrong.

The Big Mistakes

1. Sending people to a Flash site

Seems obvious right… Yea, some of the worst throughout QR codes are ones that go to flash sites (I’ve seen this with plenty of alcohol brands who look to look great but they’ve just lost the iPhone/iPad audience).

2. Sending people to a site you can barely use on a mobile

Kind of the same as above but a bad mobile experience is as bad (or potentially worst) than just a blank screen.

3. Ugly, ugly QR codes

These things can be designed people, stop chucking ugly black QR codes on your beautifully designed packaging!

4. Putting a QR code on your website

Duh. They’re already online – just link like a normal person. Unless it’s a link to a mobile app – then that’s good, and clever – well done.

5. Putting a QR code in a place with no mobile reception

In the subway, no-one can hear you scan a QR code. And you can’t connect to the internet. Don’t bother!

The Good….

Real Estate

A really good use of QR codes is in real estate – you drive past a house and want more details. Your normal option is to write it down and check it out later, or try and search for the property on your smartphone. Much easier to just scan and be taken directly to the property.

At Events

So you’ve invested that marketing budget in your event – you’re going to want to make the most of it. Get some QR codes out there – link to your whitepapers, get people to enter your competition, link to your social profiles (it saves the hassle of people typing it in). Don’t take it too far though (otherwise you’ll be I the Ugly category!)

For Mobile Apps

While putting a link to another page on your site is stupid, linking to your mobile apps is clever… very clever. Only link to things that work on a mobile – even better if they are made for mobile. Check out Monitor.Us for a great example of this! Mobile Monitoring app.

The Bad…

Woodland Cemetery

This, in my opinion, is not the way to use a QR code. Scan to read obituary… I’m just really not sure this is good!

Over urinals

You know, this is not the time I think about getting my phone out… Picture this – you go into the toilet, get on with business, notice the QR code and grab your phone out – 2 seconds later (while you’re playing with the camera) someone else comes in to relieve themselves – now you look like you’ve been using the camera for something quite wrong. Cue embarrassment. And just think how bad it would be if you got the camera out while the place was busy…

The Ugly…

Seems our friends at the Guardian in the UK have started this for us already! Check out www.wtfqrcodes.com for some great examples of how (and when) to NOT use QR codes.

Personally the worst I’ve seen is on packaging that clearly cost a lot to design then someone has just slapped a lazy QR code on the back… Marketers – think before you jump on the band wagon!

Things to remember when using QR codes

  • Plan – All the way through from QR code to what you want the user to do. Don’t land people on the home page if you want them to do something specific
  • Design – Don’t just do a crappy black and white (unless it fits brand) – design it and test
  • Optimize – Make sure your site is mobile optimized
  • Track – Add tracking code so you can tell how many people actually used it
  • Test – Test on different platforms, carriers. Is the code big enough to be recognized from where it will be situated?

About

Ben is a marketing consultant working for a variety of B2B & B2C clients. He writes across a variety of different topics and is a frequent speaker at digital marketing events. This article was written for Monitor.Us who provide top notch free website monitoring services.

Contact the author

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

@blogengage September 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

QR Codes – The Best and The Worst http://t.co/fIS13Vdl @PrintRunner

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@bbrian017 September 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

QR Codes – The Best and The Worst http://t.co/JCk7cETw @PrintRunner

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@Tips4Startups September 11, 2012 at 12:12 am

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@christopherjanb September 11, 2012 at 12:50 am

QR Codes – The Best and The Worst — http://t.co/oVxtdKgt via @printrunner

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@hollowman2013 September 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

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@sarewriter September 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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@zaqoseo September 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

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@jimohib September 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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@FrontDirectory September 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

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@LeroyBrown19 September 20, 2012 at 4:35 am

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@n_uryanto September 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

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