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QR Codes : the future of SEO and digital marketing?

Making use of QR Codes with SEO and digital marketing? 

From the realm of the smart phone, QR Codes (quick response code) are now starting to breakthrough into the real world, but what impact is this going to have on the ever changing world of SEO and digital marketing. Like any new tool it’s important to be aware of both the benefits and pitfalls to your company’s digital platforms when making use of these 2D barcodes. Due to QR Codes showing up everywhere from magazines to bus shelters at an alarming rate, now rather than later is the time for businesses to look into getting the most out these tiny black and white boxes.

QRCode (1)

QR Code

The reason why QR Codes are much more useful than the normal barcodes we are so used to seeing is that they can store much more information, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. But the other even more important key feature of QR Codes is that unlike barcodes, instead of needing a specialized hand-held scanner to scan them, almost all smart phones can scan them thereby literally putting your message into the hands of your target audience.

QR Codes are a huge help when marketing to the increasing amount of smart phone users as it gets them to your website without much effort on their part as with one scan, consumers can get access to your landing page or to any other pages with very little time and effort.

Last year, smartphone consumers increased their scanning of QR Codes by 1600%, typically to get discounts, get more information or make a purchase with 70% of QR Code consumers between ages of 25 and 55.


 Tesco conquerors South Korea

One of the best uses of QR Codes was made by Tesco in the South Korean market place. Being a late entry into the grocery market the country, Tesco faced the large problem of a supermarket not having enough brick and mortar stores and seeing as the mission of Tesco South Korea was to become number one without increasing the number of stores then took a very high tech yet novel approach. Tesco implemented the following idea “Let the store come to people” which took its already successful online shopping model and then brought it to the next level. By making use of traditional billboard style advertising on the subways listing the various products they sold, Tesco setup a virtual store which had consumers using their smart-phones to purchase the products they wanted.

Customers just scan the QR code on the billboards with their phones, the product automatically lands on their online checkout account and when the online purchase is done, it gets delivered to the consumer’s door. The result of this campaign was no need for a network of physical stores, conversions of customers waiting on trains to customers shopping online, an increase of online sales of 130% and Tesco becoming the number one online and number two offline supermarket. “QR-code-based shopping allows the customer to shop at more locations, many of which are more convenient than making a trip to the grocery store.” 


 Pitfalls to avoid

With more and more consumers shopping from handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets, just putting your companies QR Codes on everything under the sun is not going to be enough to turn a site visit into a conversion. Websites now more than ever need to be optimised for mobile viewing and not just the landing page. MI5’s recent recruitment campaign dedicated entire outdoor spaces to QR codes. This looked great until users went through the process of using the code and then found themselves on an unnavigable web page not optimised for mobile at all.

Another bad usage of QR codes was made by soft drink manufacturer VK. The QR campaign in question took users of the code to the promotions Facebook page but seeing as most smartphone users tend to use native social media app on their devices, taking them to webpage when they then have to enter log in details defeats the whole purpose of using QR Codes. Even worse, by logging into the social media site that way, it took the consumer straight into their Facebook feed and bypassing VK’s promotion page altogether!

Tips to help ensure a successful digital campaign using QR Codes

Mock up the experience before it goes live. Try it yourself, get other people to test it and test it on different phones. Use short URLs so that QR codes are as simple and machine readable as possible, bearing in mind the image may well be blotchy through newspaper and magazine reproduction. Make sure tracking is included in your URL, so you can demonstrate clearly how much response your QR usage has gained. Remember what we are really trying to do is to make sure that users have an easy way to respond to our advertising.

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