Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

QR Codes...on Bumblebees?

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by

Often we read about QR codes being used to sell or market goods to consumers, but here is a new use – bumblebee research. Researchers have created a new way to study the buzzing bees – attach QR codes to their backs. Using a special vacuum, the bees are collected and put in a refrigerator to chill thereby rendering them immobilized. Once immobilized, very small, simplified QR codes are superglued to their backs. Previously researchers would stand over colonies, tracking the behavior of individual bees. Its hard to believe they would not confuse the bees as they all look similar. The system, called BEEtag, allows cameras to automatically monitor hundreds of bees at all times, allowing reseachers to learn about their personalities and interactions. Bumblebees may all look alike, but research using QR codes has shown that they actually have lots of personality. Some are more active than others, some forage all day, and other remain more in the nest. With bee populations on the decline recently, this information is certainly important and the implications for other similar research methods are aplenty. For example, it has been suggested that pesticides may have to go through testing with BEEtag before receiving regulatory approval. Assistant Professor Stacey Combes’ research with former Harvard graduate student James Crall on this was recently published in Nature Communications. Great to see people using QR codes to help our insect friends.


wired.com/story/why-these-bumblebees-are-wearing-itty-bitty-qr-codes/ (Image Credit)


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Apple Breathes New Life into QR Codes: Updated iPhones Support Native QR Code Reading

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by

2018 is set to be a huge year for the QR Code world as iPhones updated with iOS11 now fully support QR Code reading natively. For the first time ever, the camera app built in to your smartphone can quickly and easily (and we mean super easily), read QR Codes.

For those in marketing and advertising, this opens up a whole new landscape of possibility. No more having to install a third party app. No more issues with downloading. No more ads, no more dilemmas with readability, no more – in essence – slowing the rebirth of QR Codes!

As it’s the holiday season and you’ve been out and about shopping, you’ll see more and more products boasting their QR Codes. To get details on the specific product, all you’ll have to do is pull out your iOS11 equipped iPhone, open the Camera, and point it at the QR Code. From there, the screen will show a small box in the upper part of the screen with the QR Code type and the action to be performed. The camera will recognize a URL for the product, and the iPhone will suggests opening the product website in the browser.

Beyond your holiday shopping, there are a number of other ways that QR Codes, and this new utility that the iPhone camera presents, including:

– Apple now allows easily connecting to Wi-Fi networks directly through a QR Code.
– Adding a date to your calendar for 2018? With a calendar QR Code, users can encode an event to a QR Code that is added their iPhone’s calendar upon scanning.
– A QR Code with a message encoded can be sent as a SMS message.
– QR Codes with mobile deep links encoded can bring user right into an app.

Apple’s iOS11 built in camera utility is fully supportive of QR Code reading and it’s reliable, quick, and super easy (did we say that already?). No longer needing a third party app to read QR Codes will cause more and more businesses, brands, and marketers to utilize the QR Code. Simply put, the QR Code will take major steps towards being a viable marketing tool in 2018.

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Google and Mobile Marketing in 2013

Posted on February 17th, 2013 by

mobile-screenshots-deckGoogle has launched a campaign for 2013 with the hopes to educate many marketers and advertisers about the importance of mobile and mobile marketing, focusing on how valuable it can be to a company if it is used correctly.

Growth in Mobile Usage

Smartphone ownership is the United States currently stands at roughly 44% and continues to grow rapidly.  This increase in smartphone penetration has lead to a mobile search increase of 5x over the past two years.  These two numbers alone indicate the massive new market that has appeared over the recent past, and also helps to shed light on the markets companies must shift resources into if they wish to keep up with their competition and remain profitable.

This increase in mobile search usage means the most important thing for a company to do is ensure they have a mobile optimized website.  This mobile site must be easy to use, functional and must give the customer exactly what they want when they visit your site.  The key is to dramatically simplify the site from your desktop site.  In fact as Google has found, 57% of users say they will not recommend a business if they have a poorly designed mobile site, and 40% of mobile users have gone to a competitor after a bad experience on a mobile site.

Mobile is Local   

Roughly 1/3 of all mobile searches are of local intent; that is, the customer is looking for some sort of local information like store location, directions, a phone number etc.  In fact 94% of all mobile users have indicated that they have searched for local information.  Of those 94% who have searched 70% called a business after searching, 66% visited in person and 90% of these users acted on this information within 24 hours.

Knowing that many of these searches are local, and figuring out what else customers might be looking for, it is important that you use your well designed mobile site and mobile marketing to give the consumer what they want and provide additional value.  For example Walgreens delivers what their customers want by putting a store locator on their mobile site, as well as the ability to make prescription refills online, allowing mobile shopping, and even providing coupons right on their smartphone.

Mobile-analyticsMobile Website Analytics

Many marketers may already be using mobile to some degree, but Google has found that many of these marketers and advertisers are not using, or not fully taking advantage of, their mobile analytics.  It is vitally important that the mobile data is collected and analyzed as this will help lead to a much more efficient mobile marketing effort.  The data should be able to tell you how well your mobile site/app is working and if it is providing the necessary value your customers require, or how and where visitors are using your mobile site, or how many sales leads it’s generating, or if its ease of use, or lack thereof, might be hindering sales in some way.  Continue to watch the data and make changes as often as needed to improve customer experience.

Mobile Advertising

When it comes to mobile advertising Google points out that mobile “is the most imbalanced medium” in regards to “ad spending versus time spent, at 1% compared to 23%.”  This indicates a huge gap that advertisers must close.  One way to efficiently advertise on mobile phones is to create mobile search ads that will pop up when someone is searching for your product.  For example if someone were to search “Bogs boots, Boston MA”, make sure you have an ad in place that will pop up after the search to direct the customer to your website for Bogs boots or related products, or if you are a competitor of Bogs boots make sure your ad will come up in the same search to try and take business away from them.

Quite often customers will be in a store and see a product and then go online to see if they can find it cheaper somewhere else.  For this reason you want to make sure your ads are geared to this type of search and indicate some added value that you may provide in order to get that person to purchase said product on your site or in your store.

Hair club for men is a good example of the benefits of mobile advertising, seeing a “return on investment of 30:1 from their Google mobile search ads.” Hairclub for men found that their mobile advertisements were getting a conversion rate of 17% rather than their desktop conversion rate of 9%, a good indication to any company that perhaps their resources should be realigned.

Connecting the Physical World to the Digital World

Google, in addition to other marketing tools, also advises using things like QR codes to help connect your physical media with your mobile media and provide additional value and interest in your ads by using the QR codes to give your customers free products, downloads or coupons.  This helps people to interact with your brand, drive interest and provide value, all which should help increase sales.

Return on investment however does not come just from increase mobile orders.  Google emphasizes that the full benefit of mobile can only be truly calculated when you find a way to monetize each phone call to your store, each app download or each online store locator search, as many of these such things lead to sales at your physical store and not just on your mobile store.

Mobile is huge and it will only get bigger, but Google, and everyone at Qfuse, think that the time to fully jump in is now.  Mobile done right will only ensure you keep in front of the competition, keep your customers happy and drive sales.  2013 is the year of mobile and it’s time for everyone to get on the bandwagon.

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Apple and Google Will Never Build-In a QR Code Scanner into Smartphones

Posted on September 6th, 2012 by

It’s true!  Google and Apple won’t build-in QR Code scanning functionality unless marketers give consumers a good reason to scan QR Codes, make them easy to scan, and provide a frustration-free experience so consumers will scan again the next time they spot a QR Code.

Integrating QR Code scanning as a core function of the next generation of smartphones could be shot in the foot for companies like Google and Apple.  Why, might you ask?  When the average smartphone user scans a QR Code and has a frustrating experience they’re not going to care why it was a pain and will likely place blame on the phone itself.  In short, Apple and Google will look bad because many marketers have ignored the basics of marketing altogether.  (Check out Easily Avoidable QR Code Mistakes and QR Code Best Practices for more info on how to use QR Codes successfully.)

Many supporters of QR Codes, including the Qfuse team, would love to see Apple and Google include a native QR Code scanner into the next release of their smartphone platforms because of the potential QR Codes have for connecting consumers and supporters to different organizations.  In a recent Tech Crunch article, Brenden Mulligan explained the situation very well: “QR codes simplify {bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds} even more. It’s much easier for me to scan a code and have it take me directly to {an organizations} Twitter page than have to type in their username. Or even better, if I get a reward for taking a digital action, like filling out a survey, it’s easier to get me to the survey with a scanned code than giving me a URL to enter.”  Brenden suggests, “To truly take QR codes to the mainstream, Apple and Google should actually build a scanner into the camera logic.”  We think he’s right!

A few weeks back Glenn Fleishman went as far as to post an article on TidBITS outlining how the QR Code scanning functionality could be built into iPhones.  Glenn, you’re definitely onto something!  Regardless of how this plays out in the next generation of smartphones one thing is for certain: the better marketers get at engaging consumers with QR Codes, the greater the incentive Apple and Google will have to add a built-in native QR Code scanner into their smartphones and ultimately skyrocket the usage of this great technology.

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