Let's play a game. Step 1: Locate a popular consumer magazine or local daily newspaper. Step 2: Find an advertisement in the publication that displays or features a QR Code or Microsoft Tag. Step 3: Scan the code. Step 4: Experience the journey between the print world and the digital world. Step 5: Set the advertisement and your mobile phone to the side and please continue to read on.
Without my seeing the advertisement you chose or experiencing its scan resolve content, I will wager that, if I were to remake the advertisement, mine would be much better and more effective than the original. Here's why.
Reason #1: Descriptive/Instructional Copy
My advertisement would include copy along side the QR Code or Microsoft Tag, which informs the consumer of the following: type of code shown, where/how to download a code reader app, scan call-to-action, non-smartphone details (i.e., text/short code or URL address information), and where/what the code will resolve to. Does your advertisement have any and/or all of that information?
Reason #2: Mobile Optimized Content
The code in my advertisement would resolve to content (e.g., home page, product page, video, audio, etc.) that is optimized for a mobile platform, not a desktop platform. Does your advertisement link to a mobile site or mobile content?
Reason #3: Mobile Device Detection
When the code in my advertisement resolves, it auto detects the consumer's mobile device and optimizes the scan resolve content for perfect viewing. Did the content in your advertisement's scan resolve appear as best it could on your device?
Reason #4: Value Statement/Offer
As indicated in the call-to-action, my advertisement would offer some form of value or incentive to the consumer for 1) making the effort to scan the code and/or 2) expressing an interest to purchase the product/service. What value or incentive was offered via your advertisement?
Reason #5: Overall User Experience
My advertisement would ensure a highly satisfactory and seamless user experience from end to end, because the advertisement would be developed from the consumer's perspective, not my own. Did your advertisement deliver such a consumer-focused experience?
Reason #6: Social Sharing
Because the power of social networking can never be underestimated, I placed social sharing widgets in my code's scan resolve content. Did your advertisement make it easy for you to share the scan resolve content with your social network?
So, how did the advertisement you selected fair against mine? Better or worse? If better, great, please send it along, I would love to see it. If worse, it doesn't surprise me, just take a look at the 2D Barcode Litmus Test Scorecard on this website and take note of the Pass/Fail ratio.
Although 2D barcodes are still relatively new in the U.S. market, we are far enough along to know that there are a number of marketing and technology related best practices, such as the ones listed above, which should be deployed when implementing a 2D campaign. Of course, not every best practice will be applicable to each and every advertising situation or strategy but, as with most any other discipline that has a set of best practices, the more practices that can be implemented the greater the chance of success. And, the last I checked, I believe this is a goal for which most marketers/businesses strive to achieve.