Why SnapTags Are Replacing QR Codes – A Reply

How many times does it have to be said…QR Codes can be customized with a brand’s logo and/or colors. Why do people such as Jeff Hayzlett, Celebrity CMO and CEO, The Hayzlett Group (whatever ‘Celebrity’ is suppose to mean?), continue to believe that QR Codes can’t be customized with a logo and/or corporate colors?

Recently, Mr. Hayzlett published a Trend Watch article for iMediaConnection titled, “Why SnapTags are Replacing QR Codes” and, in the article, he sites a campaign by Glamour magazine where a SnapTag was used and how it was received by the magazine’s readers. According to Mr. Hayzlett, “…over 100,000 code activations, 50,000 Facebook likes, and 500,000 interactions of some kind including code scans and peer sharing” came as a result of using a SnapTag, which featured a Facebook “like” logo (see bottom right-hand corner of the cover below).

If you are unfamiliar with SnapTags, the idea is that a company’s logo is placed in the center of a notched circle, and the SnapTag can either be read with SnapTag’s proprietary reader app, or a picture of the code can be taken and then sent to a short code. The short code reply email provides the consumer with the intended advertising or promotional information. If this sounds like JAGTAG all over again that’s because it is very similar.

Do SnapTags look cleaner and more simple than a QR Code, as Mr. Hayzlett suggests? That all depends if you are comparing apples to apples. Yes, a SnapTag will look better than a generic black and white QR Code, but a customized QR Code could look just as clean and just as simple as its SnapTag counterpart. And, if done correctly, a customized QR Code can be just as easy to scan and the analytics can be just as deep, as that of a SnapTag.  

Great that Glamour’s SnapTag encountered 500,000 interactions of some kind, but can we be a bit more specific (i.e., how many magazine subscriptions were generated, how many advertiser products were sold, etc., etc.)? One 2D barcode campaign after another reports total number of scans, but few, if any, go beyond that and report what marketers, advertisers, publishers, etc., really want to know, what was the revenue generated as a result of the campaign? Of course, no one will make this claim, so we are left with scan rates that are virtually meaningless and somewhat out of context.

Based on my research, and as agnostic as I try to be in the 2D barcode space, I would say that SnapTags are hardly replacing QR Codes anytime soon and, even if they were, Mr. Hayzlett would need a lot more evidence than this one campaign to support his Trend Watch claim.


12 thoughts on “Why SnapTags Are Replacing QR Codes – A Reply

  1. I also wonder how that works for versioning. Can you have 10 snaptags that look identical and go to different links?

    -Patrick Donnelly

  2. Come on guys you shouldn't objurgate Mr Hayzlett for his lack of knowledge of QR Codes while demonstrating same for his Snap Tags 🙂

    The gaps in the Code Ring provide for versioning.

  3. what you open-source guys have failed to realize is that the QR in the upcoming months will be challenged with privacy and security issues that will all but kill the QR for marketing.
    Apple=proprietary=no virus/ malware
    PC=open source=viruses/ malware

    SnapTag is like Apple as the QR is like a PC.

  4. BTW – you can over 100 million different SnapTags while still using the same image.

    great tool for inventory DOES NOT (necessarily) make it a great tool for marketing.

    QRs are for machines/ computers while SnapTags are for humans.

    You guys want QRs to work soooooo badly that you are losing your humanity by adopting a faceless, lifeless, sterile code meant for inventory.

    Companies spend BILLIONS on supporting their logos…if they weren't important, all u would see are the names of companies and that's it!

    BTWx2 – no matter what u say….an attempt to make a QR look like something is like putting make up on a farm pig. no matter how you tried to make that farm pig pretty…it's still a pig.

  5. Anonymous:

    Thank you for your posts.

    First and foremost, I have no skin in the game…whatever code shows itself as the dominant code in the marketplace more power to it. I merely try to analyze and comment from an agnostic point of view, nothing more, nothing less. The author of the article I mentioned did not say that QR Codes can be customized with a logo, so I was simply trying to point that out. With respect to SnapTags replacing QR Codes, that's all fine and well with me, I really don't care one way or another, but if a comment like that is to be stated, there needs to be more facts involved, not the mentioning of just one campaign.

    Yes, companies do spend a great deal of money on brand management and standards and it is a very real question for a marketer to answer, which code may or may not serve to represent the brand in the best possible light, given the goals and objectives of the 2D campaign? Read that last part again…given the goals and objectives of the 2D campaign. Is it QR, MS Tag, SnapTag or any other? Who knows, but homework needs to be done to research which code type is the most appropriate.

    At the end of the day, it's all about the consumer 2D/mobile experience, not so much about the code itself, and I believe that's what people such as yourself lose sight of in the debate, if there should even be one.

    Lastly, on what do you base the comment regarding QR Code security and privacy? What do you know that few others do? Why not share so we can all be the wiser.

  6. Hey Roger:
    Thanks for the response.  I am very appreciative that you are open to dialogue re: 2D barcodes.
    Here are some good links for you to check out. 

    I look forward to your POV.
    if you dont mind, I would like your (and your active readers') opinion re: QR specific-security since they are the most popular and has the greatest chance for fraud.

    For instance,
    +QR jacking leading a user to a malicious URL; this will be VERY popular for the criminal world especially when it comes to donation (Heinz Wounded Warrior) or sweepstakes.
    Java-script loads
    URL redirects

    +the fact that I  can download an iPhone app without going thru iTunes (done w/o jailbreak ing the phone)… this could go on in the background w/o a user knowing it.
    people fall for Trojan horses and scams all the time.  why would this change for mobile device which have EVERYTHING about you.   the Nigerian email scan still does great business.

    +QR readers being launched in the stores;  aside from like AT&T and red laser ; most readers come from faceless companies who collecting data on YOU Every time you scan an ad or a personal hygiene project that company is collecting that to resell to 3rd parties…they are not giving it away for free….your personal info is the readers currency.

    thanks for the forum roger!  and I value your integrity when you say you have no skin in the game.

  7. @Anonymous

    As one of the team behind the Optiscan QR Code scanner & generator on iPhone, I take exception to your comment, “…faceless companies who collecting data on YOU Every time you scan an ad…to resell to 3rd parties…”. We don't collect ANY data on our users that is useful for third parties and therefore do not sell any on. Why do you use such inflammatory language? What is your stake in 2D codes that you have to appear as anonymous?

    With regards another comment: “…the fact that I can download an iPhone app without going thru iTunes (done w/o jailbreak ing the phone)…”.

    While this is *technically* true, it is ridiculous to believe it is of any use to scammers. You are only able to do it through having an Apple developer account and distributing apps via an enterprise distribution profile. This would not be a very useful method for any spammers or scammers out there to use at all, as it would have a very limited reach and be quickly closed down. There is NO other method of distributing apps to non jailbroken phones. At all.

    There is no security issue with QR Codes. The security issue is with the links from the codes, just as with any URL.

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