In the June 16th issue of The Economist, an article was posted about QR Codes titled, “Square deal – After many false starts, QR codes are finally taking off.” While the article does a fine job defining QR Codes and explaining how they are becoming more and more popular among advertisers, the second to last sentence in the article (“The success of a [QR Code] campaign is easy to measure by the number of scans.”) just does not sit right.
If you are a reader of this blog, you will know that the success of a QR Code campaign, or any print to mobile technology-based campaign for that matter, is based on whether or not the campaign, as a whole, is able to achieve the strategic and/or tactical goals and objectives that were set for it. QR Code scan rates by themselves should not be considered as the only factor to determine success. Factors of success for a QR Code-based campaign can be the same as most any other campaign, such as the number of leads generated, number of products sold, number of requests for additional information, number of social shares, amount of time spent on certain web pages, the speed of response, the geographic location of a response, number of downloads made, number of coupons redeemed, etc., etc.
Compare a QR Code campaign to a direct mail campaign, where the code scan rate equals the the number of direct mail letters that are opened, and it’s easy to see how little scan rate really means in relation to the overall success of a campaign. Consumers can open up hundreds of direct mail letters, but maybe only a dozen take any real or meaningful action. Same with codes. Hundreds of codes can be scanned (i.e., opened), but maybe only a handful of consumers really act on and respond to the message or offer being communicated.
Bottom line, QR Code scan rates are a “nice to know,” but they should not be considered as the sole determinant of overall campaign success.