Use of QR Codes in Marketing Campaigns to Grow

One of the newest ways to market via mobile phones is to place QR codes in visible places. These codes have been popping up in store windows, in magazines and on product packages. When consumers scan these codes with their phones, they are typically directed to a website which may contain coupons or other promotional materials. Code scanning saves consumers the work of searching for a site promoted in an ad. But how well are these codes working?

As with any new technology, consumers with mobile and technical know-​how are the most likely to explore the QR codes. The most recent data from comScore MobiLens shows that 6.2% of the mobile audience, or about 14 million people, have scanned these special bar-​codes.  For now, the demographics of QR code users are very specific:

  •  Male: 60.5%
  • Ages 18–34: 53%
  • Household income exceeding $100K: 36.1%

While the numbers indicate that upper-​income, younger men are the sweet spot for marketers who use QR codes, younger consumers are also more likely than average to scan codes. Teens and young adults between the ages of 18–24 index higher than most other groups for this activity. This tendency suggests that marketers may find success with QR codes as these consumer groups grow older.

Consumers also take out their phones to scan QR codes that appear in a variety of ad formats:

  •  Printed newspaper/​magazine: 49.4%
  • Product package: 35.3%
  • Website on PC: 27.4%
  • Poster/​flyer/​kiosk: 23.5%
  • Business card/​brochure: 13.4%
  • Storefront: 12.8%
  • TV: 11.7%

As marketers deploy QR codes, they’ll want to know where consumers are mostly likely to scan for more information. In this survey, well over half, 58%, scanned codes at home. This behavior suggests that mobile phone marketing isn’t always about reaching consumers when they are away from home.  The other top locations included retail stores (39.4%) and grocery stores (24.5%).

[Source: 14 Million Americans Scanned QR Codes on Their Mobile Phones in June 2011. Comscore​.com. 12 Aug. 2011. Web. 31 Aug. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.