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

QR Codes - Growth in Use Across Industries

Posted on April 23rd, 2018 by

Without question, we use today’s mobile devices to access information faster – and more conveniently – than ever before. With over 2 billion of the earth’s population using smartphones (a 2016 number, no doubt we’re above that mark here in 2018), consumers can access apps and programs on their devices in any number of ways and, with that, industries of all kinds have worked to find the best and easiest ways to connect with these individuals. QR Codes – in their rebirth – have started to regain popularity in allowing marketers and advertisers an opportunity to build mobile relationships with customers of past, present, and future.

Real estate agents and brokers were early to adapt QR Codes – they placed them on physical ‘For Sale’ signs and included them on their pamphlets and informational materials. This is a practice that is regaining momentum, both popular and effective as would-be homebuyers are able to quickly and easily access property information right from their QR Code reader built into their smartphones. With a simple scan, the real estate business and the buyer (or seller) can swiftly get the answers to the questions they may have.

The food and beverage industry is one that will continue to see the use of QR Codes. Placement on product packaging can offer a wealth of information – be it a promotional video, nutritional information, a description how the product was made, or even a redirect to recipes that feature their product. Added bonus: companies can provide coupons and other promotions to consumers who scan the QR Code.

The entertainment industry has found a major play in the use of QR Codes. At larger theme parks, such as Disney, QR Codes printed on pamphlets and signage allow guests to conveniently access information about the park right from their smartphones. At museums, visitors can get information by scanning for more details about the exhibits – standing in front of a painting that caught their eye visitors can view presentations, videos, and interactive segments, so they can become even more knowledgeable on the piece.

The tourism industry will also be using more and more mobile engagement tools on their marketing materials. QR Codes can bring guests of the hotel they are staying in to a webpage displaying attractions, restaurants, and activities in and around the surrounding area of the hotel. The QR Code is really all you need in that situation – no more meeting with the concierge to ask your questions or hiring a tour guide to provide information that is easily accessible on your mobile device!

In these and many other arenas, QR codes continue to become a bigger part of not only marketing and advertising, but for connecting with the end consumer. With any questions, we invite you to contact QFuse to inquire about the technology as well as for ways to integrate QR Code engagement into your marketing strategy.

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Instagram to Utilize QR Codes

Posted on April 6th, 2018 by

On March 21, 2018, TechCrunch reported that Instagram may be looking to copy Snapchat’s QR code scanning feature. This belief is based on an analysis of the files buried in the Instagram Android app files. Referred to as “Nametag Scan” in the files, the feature could allow for users to be able to scan QR codes that would then send users to profiles of individuals or businesses.

Interestingly, it was a TechCrunch reader who discovered the files and provided them to the outlet. It is further reported by TechCrunch that the code in the Instagram files appears to allow users to add stickers and selfies to their nametag. The article states: “Text detailing ‘Open this photo in the stories camera to follow’ appears in the code. That means nametags would work just like Snapchat’s QRs, and the shutter image above is likely going to be a Stories camera option like Boomerang or Super Zoom, which all have their own shutter icons. The nametag scanning feature could eventually launch under a different name like Focus did. It would be a boon to businesses and social stars looking to visually promote their accounts both online and in physical print materials. It also could assist users with long or complex usernames by making it easier for friends to follow them.”

Instagram also officially announced on March 21st that the company released an update that introduced two new features to the app: the ability to add hashtags and profile links to a user’s bio. These updates will allow for users to further express themselves within the profile beyond their bio and website link. Instagram stated that “with hashtag and profile links in your bio, you can express yourself and your interests right in your profile. Whether you’re a #guitarlover, into #pencilsketching or have a #makeuptutorial account, now you can link to any hashtag or profile you want.”

We are happy to see these added features to the Instagram app, and we patiently (and anxiously) await a formal announcement regarding the QR codes.

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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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Snapchat and the Resurgence of QR Codes

Posted on November 30th, 2017 by

With its 173 million users, Snapchat is certainly one of the most widely used apps. While the demographic is younger – it’s been predicted that by the end of this year, Snapchat will be bigger than both Facebook and Instagram in the US among 12 to 24-year-olds – the platform is seemingly everywhere. And, with attention like that, it means that businesses are working on how to utilize the platform to market themselves, boosting brand awareness and sales.

QR Codes, on the other hand, were a utility that seemed to fade – like a boxer on the ropes, down but not out. They were on ketchup bottles, real estate flyers, the walls of subway tiles – and all users had to do was point their camera, scan the black-and-white squares, and be redirected to a desired URL. The future in our hands. Except, you had to be sure your phone had a camera that could do QR scanning, download an app, maybe download another app, to finally read the code just to end up on the wrong website or a webpage not suited for mobile. The future, sure. QR Codes were simply ahead of their time.

Not only are QR Codes back and prevalent, but apps like Snapchat (and Facebook) are pushing the future of QR Codes. Sure, they may have different names – Snap Codes and Messenger Codes among others – but the technology and the way people can utilize it have caught up to what QR Codes were always meant to be.

Two years ago, when Snapcodes were rolled out, users were creating their own codes and adding friends using the platform. These were QR Codes in a different form, and with a different utility, from anything that had been seen before. The fact that Snapchat always opened up to its camera was inviting the use of these codes. Fast forward to today, and now using the codes users can unlock filters, get animated lenses, or even discover different channels and content groups with the app. And yes, the most recent development allows users to create a code that links to any website. When users scan the code, they are natively brought to the mobile page while remaining in Snapchat.

With this ease of use, and the potential advertising and marketing barriers being taken down, we are starting to see more businesses looking to start using Snapcodes in their marketing. And, now that Snapcodes have made it into the limelight, many are looking back on the previous renditions of QR Codes and now figuring on how they can be best put to use. Snapcodes got users accustomed to simply scanning with their phone, and since Snapchat’s scanning app supports QR codes along with Snapcodes, it means that anyone with Snapchat can effortlessly scan a QR code as well.

Using the platform in this way is giving businesses and brands a very powerful connection to an audience obsessed with Snapchat. Promoting their product or service through images – and QR Codes – instead of basic URL clicks is more substantial for branding and brand recognition. Leveraging QR Codes, businesses can:

– Easily create a B2C connection. Instead of ‘adding friends’, users could now check out a business, make an online search or purchase, and save or send web links.
– Have greater reach. Snapchat is storytelling with imagery, and with one click of a QR Code businesses could hold a conversation and further tell their story. Businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods are using Snapchat as the portal for their advertising, allowing for special giveaways and features to be ‘unlocked’ when scanning their code.
– Collect payment in a seamless way. Much in the same vein as Apple Pay, users will be able to connect and pay for items with the simple scan of a code.

There is an entire greenfield in today’s world when it comes to utilizing Snapchat for QR Codes, and for as much growth and understanding as we’ve seen in the last year or so, there is still a ton of which is undeveloped and there is still a lot to learn. New technologies, best practices, and more efficient ways to utilize Snapchat for QR Codes in marketing a brand on the platform, are efforts that are only going to increase with time. This much is certain – QR Codes aren’t dead. They are very much alive.

 

References:
https://www.recode.net/2017/8/24/16198632/snapchat-instagram-teens-comscore-study-growth-users
https://www.wired.com/story/the-curious-comeback-of-the-dreaded-qr-code/
http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-expands-qr-code-reach-2017-2
http://mashable.com/2017/05/08/qr-codes-1app-snapchat-facebook/#yf.iO0BFM5qA
http://fortune.com/2016/05/13/snapchat-qr-code-reader/

 

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4 NFC Best Practices

Posted on August 28th, 2013 by

NFC ad1If you plan on using Near Field Communication (NFC) anytime in the near future, before you do so it would be wise to read up on NFC best practices.  Below are the four most important things you must ensure are done to perfection if you want to have a successful NFC campaign.

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

The call-to-action (or CTA) is arguably the most important concept for your entire NFC marketing and advertising campaign.  If you plan on using NFC tags then you are clearly expecting that your target consumer will engage with your marketing and advertising material using their smartphone.  In order to make sure this engagement occurs you must convince the consumer to tap their phone to said NFC enabled advert.  This means making sure the poster or magazine ad tells the consumer exactly what they will get upon doing using the NFC tag on your piece of mobile marketing material.   Creating an enticing visual image, writing out a short explanation or some other creative way of getting your message across are all good calls to action.  Always ask yourself if you would take the time to tap the NFC tag in your own advert if you saw it in public.

Mobile Landing Page

It is infuriating when I tap an NFC tag and am taken to a lousy desktop website, they are hard to navigate on a smartphone and usually I end up quickly exiting.  If you are going to use NFC technology you should also know that anyone who has access to NFC capabilities while on the gos MUST have a smartphone, so why wouldn’t you create a mobile website that is compatible with this NFC technology?  A mobile website will ensure less people leave your page and will likely increase the performance of your site.  The only other option besides a mobile landing page would be if you are trying to get people to download your app, song or video, in which case they should be directed straight to your app download page, iTunes, or YouTube etc.

NFC Analytics

Tracking the data of your NFC tags is vitally important and can greatly enhance your overall campaign productivity if you are using an NFC marketing platform that allows you to track performance down to the individual tag.  The sort of analytics data that should be collected is how many people are taping the tags, what they are doing after they reached your page, what type of person is taping the tag, and which NFC tags are being tapped the most.  This data allows you to first tell if people are actually taping your tags overall, but second, assuming you have a NFC-enabled mobile marketing platform that allows this, you can then see which tags are being tapped the most and learn why this might be so and either make changes to your campaign on the fly, or use the information for future campaigns.

Content Visitors Care About

If the content of your tag is boring then why bother using an NFC tag?  The consumer will simply exit your mobile landing page and probably never tap an NFC tag again.  So make sure you provide your visitors with relevant or interesting content.  This might mean a contest to win a prize, free music download, a fun game, coupons or special deals, or really anything that you yourself would find useful, enjoyable or fun.  Ask yourself if you would use the content you are considering providing.  DON’T simply connect to your desktop (or mobile) website.  That is bound to get a lot of page exits.

Do these four things and your NFC marketing campaign cannot fail.

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