SnapTag Gets It Wrong, Again

Kudos to Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, and the public relations team behind the company’s 2D barcode product called SnapTag. Over the past couple of months, the company/product has garnered a lot of press for itself, but what’s unfortunate is that much of the information being reported about QR Codes, in comparison to SnapTags, is either downright incorrect or extremely biased. So, instead of making it easier for advertisers and agencies to understand the fundamental differences, advantages and disadvantages, between these two code types, just the opposite is happening and the process has become that much more difficult.

One of the latest SnapTag articles to appear (QR Codes and SnapTags: What’s the Difference?) was written by Erin Thayer and published in The Barcode News. The article showcases the differences between QR Codes and SnapTags via a new infographic, which SpyderLynk recently published (see below). Here are my comments, questions and feedback on Ms. Thayer’s article, as well as the infographic itself. 

Ms. Thayer: “SpyderLink recently published a new infographic that compares and contrasts QR Codes and SnapTags, two popular forms of 2D bar codes that are used in marketing campaigns.”

2DBS: Ms. Thayer, how can SnapTags be referred to as “popular” when the term doesn’t even appear in a Google Trend report with any great or meaningful significance? Also, what I find even more surprising is how SpyderLynk uses the term “QR Code” in its own marketing. Below is the result when the term “snaptag” is searched on:

SnapTag – A Mobile Marketing QR Code With a Code Ring
A SnapTag is the secret to successful mobile marketing. It’s a custom QR code that combines your company logo with a unique code ring. Learn more about…

Are you serious? A “mobile marketing QR Code With a Code Ring.” How can the company possibly make reference to a QR Code and their product in the same sentence? Does SpyderLynk themselves not even know the difference? Talk about confusing the audience. (Not to digress, but I suppose the company has to make use of the term QR Codes for SEO purposes or else no one would ever find them.)  

Infographic: The SnapTag in the chart is shown with supporting copy, which informs the consumer/user of the following: “Snap and Send to 95871 AT&T/Verizon. All others send to promo@ Android and iPhone reader app available. SnapTag by SpyderLynk.” The QR Code has no supporting copy.

2DBS: Although the QR Code is not shown with supporting copy there is no reason why it can’t. All an advertiser has to do is determine what supporting copy they wish to provide and insert it in the advertisement along side the code. Also, although the SnapTag appears with a logo in the code, their own, a QR Code can easily include a logo. So, not a very fair, or honest, comparison from the start.

Infographic: “SnapTags and QR Codes are a new channel of marketing that enable consumers to access interactive brand information, content and marketing engagements with their mobile phone.”

2DBS: SnapTags, QR Codes and 2D barcodes in general are not new channels of marketing. The new channel of marketing is mobile. As I recently wrote, mobile is the strategy (channel), 2D barcodes are merely a tactical component/element/mechanism of the strategy (channel).

Infographic: Under the category of “Widely accessible” there is a comparison between mobile phones with a camera and the downloading of a QR Code reader app.

2DBS: Questions to Ms. Skogg: 1) how is this making any argument for what’s “widely accessible” and, 2) what’s the percentage of people that have downloaded the SnapTag reader app, and how many scans have come through it? Maybe once we know those SnapTag numbers it won’t matter as much as to how many, or few, people have downloaded a QR Code reader app.

Infographic: Under the category of ” Works without mobile web access,” there is an indication that SnapTags are able to operate without mobile web access while QR Codes cannot.

2DBS: First, just how does a SnapTag work without web access? Second, QR Codes can work without mobile web access. Is it ideal, no, but a user can scan a code and save it in their code reader app. Once in a location with web access, the reader app can be launched and the code scan resolve can be retrieved from the app’s history file.

Infographic: Under the category of “Marketing functionality” it indicates that SnapTag enables “a robust multi-channel marketing platform that enables campaigns with varying functionality and sophistication.” QR Codes can “trigger a single action, primarily connecting users to a URL.”

2DBS: Really, Ms. Skogg? Let’s call a spade a spade. Marketing functionality all depends on the creative genius of the team designing the 2D-based campaign, not the code itself. QR Codes can easily point to many other functions beyond a simple URL.

Infographic: Under the category of “Cost” Ms. Skogg and her team would like advertisers to believe that with SnapTag costs are bundled and with QR Codes costs are more a la carte (i.e., more expensive).

2DBS: Bundled or a la carte, if working with a code provider, agency, etc., there is a cost to code generation, management and analytics, it’s just a matter of where these costs might be hidden in the overall price. If a mobile website is needed there will be a cost as well. I’m not aware of any provider building a mobile site for free.

Infographic: Under the category of “Featured branding” it states that with QR Codes there is limited space to insert a logo.

2DBS: Gee, last I looked, there was limited space for a logo in a SnapTag too, because the logo needs to fit within the circle. With both code types there is limited space, as the logo needs to fit on/in the code symbol.

Infographic: Under the “SnapTag Features” section, six categories are shown, which include: dynamic responses, easy-to-update, database building, complex analytics, reusable and enable social sharing. From one to the next, the reader is lead to believe that QR Codes don’t match up.

2DBS: Depending on the provider’s platform, a QR Code can deliver on all six features. The key here is provider platform, of which SnapTag is one.

I could continue making comments in regard to the last section of the infographic, but I believe my point has been made. As agnostic as I try to be with respect to code formats, I don’t believe SpyderLynk does anyone (advertiser or agency) any favors when all they report, present and engage in are one-sided, biased arguments.


4 thoughts on “SnapTag Gets It Wrong, Again

  1. A good chunk of what you said above was in my original reply on the article, until I was scuppered by their 'short reply' policy. You've included some excellent points I missed though. My post would probably have been seen as biased, even though I have always pushed for accuracy in this area.Good stuff as usual Roger.

  2. "QR Codes can easily point to many other functions beyond a simple URL."Can you elaborate? I have not seen any applications of QR Codes in marketing besides directing a user to an encoded URL or perhaps providing a discount code to use for a purchase. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous:Although most advertisers use a QR Code for a URL or discount here are some other uses:Bookmark a websiteMake a phone callSend an SMSSend an emailCreate a vCardCreate a meCardTweet on TwitterCreate a vCalender eventFree formatted textGoogle mapBing map, etc…This list comes courtesy of Kerem Erkan (

  4. Oh, I understand now. For example, I can encode a phone number, scan the code, and it's bring up the phone function on my mobile device with the phone number already loaded.Using Kerem's website, I was able to do this using NeoReader on my phone, but I had issues sending an SMS and an email.I guess I was confused by the language. QR codes, which simply encode characters, don't actually "make a phone call" or anything else. They simply encode the necessary data to activate a program on your mobile device and transmit data to the program.

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