2D Barcode Metrics Twitter Chat Transcript

Below is a transcript of the Twitter Chat (#TagChat) I had with Nick Martin of Microsoft Tag. The chat was pretty straightforward and there were no real questions to be had from the audience. Should you have any questions or comments, by all means, fire away.

(Note: I omitted a few lines of the introduction and grouped some lines to make it easier to read.)

Nick: Hello all! I’m excited to welcome Roger Marquis of 2d-barcodestrategy.com as our first guest on #TagChat.

Nick: Let’s get started! I’m going to be asking @r_marquis a few questions about the 2D barcode space and metrics for success.

Nick: First let’s start with a couple high level questions: What are the most common mistakes you see made with 2D barcodes?

Roger: Nick, thank you for the introduction. Glad to participate.

Roger: The most common mistakes with 2D barcode campaigns, in no particular order, include: No call-to-action in regard to code, no information to help understand code and how to scan it, no value being delivered via code scan resolve, no alternative for feature phone users and no testing to verify code works correctly. These would be the most common mistakes.

Nick: What does the 2D barcode space need the most to really spur adoption?

Roger: To spur adoption, people often look only towards consumers and scan rates, but there’s more to it than that. The issue is three-sided between consumers, advertisers and code providers.

On the consumer side, as the number of smartphones keeps increasing, so too will the number of consumers who are capable of scanning a code. Consumers must be repeatedly exposed to 2D campaigns that work and work well. Campaigns that fail to deliver become one more hurdle to quicker and more wide-spread adoption. For first time users, there must be an easy way to locate, download and make use of a code reader app.

On the advertiser side, while not a requirement, advertisers should help to educate consumers about 2D codes. By educate, I am referring to stating which type of code that is being displayed (Tag, QR, etc.), where to locate/download a code reader app, what to do with the code and where the code will link to and what benefit will be derived from scanning the code. Also, as mentioned above, meaningful, beneficial and relevant campaigns are needed, repeatedly, to help spur adoption. Beyond all of that, advertisers need to adhere to best practices to ensure a well-received, seamless 2D code/mobile experience from end to end.

On the code provider side, the providers need to help advertisers better understand the advantages and disadvantages of the major code types (e.g., open source vs. proprietary) and the technology in general. Yes, some of the major providers share basic information like quarterly scan rates and percentages, but additional information could be useful to an advertiser. For example, if an advertiser knew how many Tag reader apps were installed vs. QR Code reader apps this might help in the decision making process. Another example, if providers were able to collect blind data from their clients, aggregate and report the data this too might help in the decision making process, as well as the overall adoption of codes by advertisers. Instead, advertisers are left to their own devices to figure out what’s best or what’s considered a success and this can play a role in slowing down, not spurring, adoption. 

Nick: What is your advice for brands/agencies trying to determine metrics for a 2D barcode implementation?
Roger: Before trying to determine metrics, companies need to determine and understand their own goals and objectives. Too often, I’ll see a campaign and have absolutely no idea as to what the advertiser’s goal or objective is. Because a 2D barcode gets placed in the ad does not mean that goals and objectives are any less important. Once the goals and objectives are set, it should be relatively easy to then define the metrics. 

Nick: What approach do you take to define metrics for a campaign? 

Roger: Once goals and objectives are known it then becomes easy to set metrics. For example, the metric could be number of scans. Or the metric could be time on a website, or download of content, or sign-ups, or redemption of coupons. Or the metric could be did the ‘A’ version of the campaign pull better than the ‘B’ version. What’s also important with regard to metrics is the building of historical benchmarks. From one campaign to the next, benchmarks can be constructed and it is from these historical benchmarks that new metrics can be judged. 

Nick: What implementation would you consider the best to date & why? 

Roger: One of the best implementations I have seen is a campaign by FirstBank in Colorado, which was done last year. This campaign was purely service and value-add driven, as the bank looked to sell nothing via the campaign. The campaign consisted of 2D barcode billboards that were placed in the terminals at Denver International Airport. When codes were scanned, travelers link to crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, works of literature, all at no cost. Over time, the codes would link to different puzzles and stories, so as to keep the campaign fresh. The campaign was a great success and I was told that it was extended several months past the original end date. 

Nick: What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone considering using 2D barcodes? 

Roger: The best advice I can give people is the following:

  • Learn the technology
  • Learn both technology and marketing best practices
  • 2D campaigns should not be one time only
  • Test and experiment from one campaign to the next
  • Dedicate people/team to manage and be responsible for the use of 2D
  • Develop a campaign from consumer’s perspective and ask what’s in it for them
  • Campaign must be mobile optimized from end to end, don’t force desktop content on to a phone
  • Through the code provide value, meaning, relevance, benefit, etc.
  • Determine what makes the most sense, generate and manage codes in house or through a provider

Nick: Roger, thank you for being our first guest on #TagChat. 

Roger: Thank you and to those that participated.


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