A Better QR Code Mousetrap…Not Really

When consumers see a QR Code in a print advertisement, on a billboard, etc., more often than not they don’t know ahead of time what the code’s scan resolve will be. As a result of this not knowing, scan rates may be lower than they could or should be. Enter Quikkly.

Quikkly is a UK-based company that has created a proprietary 2D bar code platform called Action Tag (see code samples below). Part icon/logo, part 2D bar code, Action Tags give consumers what a generic QR Code can’t, a visual clue, or heads up, as to what the code scan resolve will be. For example, if an advertiser wanted to bring a consumer to their Twitter page via a code, the advertiser would use the Twitter Action Tag (see second row, first code on left below), which features an image of the Twitter logo. Intuitive, yes, but will yet another proprietary code platform really make much headway versus the de facto standard QR Code? I think not. Here’s why.


First, Action Tags look different than QR Codes, so an advertiser may have to spend time and resources educating consumers on the new code format. Most advertisers will probably not go this route so, although intuitive to scan, scan rates might suffer due to the lack of explanation, awareness and understanding. Second, if an advertiser wants to direct a consumer to a certain website or page, etc. there is nothing that precludes them from creating a modified or designer QR Code which incorporates the appropriate icon or logo. And, if the advertiser wanted to save on the expense of a designer code then all they would have to do is add a line of descriptive copy which explains the code and what the scan resolve will be (e.g., Scan the code to visit our Twitter page). Third, because Action Tags require their own code reader app, consumers will need to be educated on this and told that, although they may already have a bar code reader app on their phone, it will not work with Action Tags.

In reading this, do the proprietary platforms from JAGTAG, Microsoft Tag or AT&T ring a bell? None of these platforms are still in existence, and I believe it’s because of the reasons above.

At this point in time, the world doesn’t need a better or different QR Code, the technology works just fine in its generic format and in a designer format. What we do need are QR Code-based campaigns that are seamless, frictionless and rooted in best practice (i.e., the code scan resolve is relevant, meaningful and of value to the consumer), so that the consumer realizes a positive interactive experience with the brand and product.

Best of luck Quikkly.


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