Quick Response (QR) codes have been slow to catch on in this side of the world but are quickly gaining popularity among smartphone users and the traditional media. Now advertisers, and to a lesser extent print media, are embracing the trend by placing it in their campaigns in some shape or form.
The survey, conducted by Nellymoser and reported by MediaPost, showed that the number of QR codes found in the top 100 magazines in the U.S. by circulation rose by over 476 per cent in the first nine months this year from 88 in January to 507 in September. On a quarterly basis, the number of QR codes in magazines grew from 252 in Q1 to 1155 in Q3 (up 358 per cent).
Also advertisers have taken to using the codes for marketing purposes as 482 of the 507 codes in September were found in adverts, while only 25 were used to enhance editorial material. Interestingly, the highest number of QR codes could be found in women's fashion, beauty and celebrity books such as Glamour, InStyle and Us Weekly.
- Increase of QR code use in magazines: via www.MediaPost.com
What advertisers and publications felt was the best use for these QR codes differed greatly, highlighting the difficulty in making them an engaging experience. The majority felt that video was most important with 47 per cent of the QR codes in Q3 reflecting this.
Other uses included sweepstakes entries and easy subscription opt-ins which accounted for 34 per cent, social media prompts to share links made up 24 per cent while 16 per cent prompted people to buy something via their phones and 12 per cent offered coupons when their code was scanned. This not only implies that advertising will be the main function of QR codes, but that the most effective way to use them in engaging with their target audience has yet to be found.