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Blog Post | May 09, 2023

QR Codes Are Back and More Useful Than Ever

Though first popularized in the early 2000s, QR codes never quite reached widespread usage. COVID-19 saw a revival of the technology that continues to adapt to the needs of industry and consumers. In this article we provide an overview of the tool, its recent popularization and benefits.

Topics: Signage, Website

QR Codes
Though they had a brief heyday in the early 2000s, quick response (QR) codes never fully caught on with the public. From an inconsistent rollout to the need for special apps and limited interest or understanding from consumers, QR codes never really made the leap to becoming a must-have marketing tool.

Fortunately for users and brands, the pandemic was a game-changer for the 2D technology. Consider these data points:
  • More than 11 million U.S. households will scan a QR code this year.
  • China will record 1.54 trillion financial QR transactions.
  • Europe will use 10.1 million QR codes.

What are QR codes?
A smart tech tool that easily connects users to an online environment, QR codes are easily generated online. Each QR code is unique, containing encrypted data like numbers, addresses, binary coding, etc. Scannable with a smartphone’s camera, a notification will pop up on the screen. When the user taps the notice, they are directed to the embedded URL or QR code reader.

Different types of QR codes
There are two types of QR codes for use in marketing: status and dynamic. The information embedded in static QR codes is permanent, cannot be edited and cannot be tracked. Dynamic QR codes include tracking, can be edited and the number of scans can be tracked.

The QR code resurgence
After languishing on the abandoned marketing tool stack, the pandemic brought the technology back to the forefront. QR code usage expanded rapidly in private and public applications for touchless payments, menus, fundraising, contact tracing and more. They remain a popular marketing tool and are being used more than ever in the following ways:
  • Direct customers to a dedicated landing page or website
  • Eliminate steps for downloading a company’s app
  • Serve as virtual business cards
  • Direct users to AR applications
  • Embed a message or email within the coding
  • Access discounts or coupon codes
  • Communicate special incentives to convert prospects into customers

Tracking benefits
The rise of QR codes in marketing also increases the ability of organizations to track, target and analyze captured data. They can communicate information to prospects and clients, but they can also store information about performance. Moreover, the trackability of QR codes allows businesses to build repositories of first-party data for remarketing.

QR codes are one of the bigger success stories coming out of a challenging time. They’ve managed to transform the business habits of countries across the globe. As time goes on and adoption continues, more ways to leverage the technology are likely to come to light.