QR (Quick Response) codes were once thought to be obsolete throughout the 2000s and the 2010s, but they’ve made a surprising comeback as the value of hands-free technologies increased during the pandemic. Insider Intelligence reports how QR code scanning is expected to increase by 10% in 2022, following a 25% jump in 2022; eMarketer estimates that 38% of smartphone users (83 million people) will scan a QR code this year. QR codes are effective because users can scan these using their mobile devices, then get redirected to a useful link.
More importantly for brands, QR codes can help uncover first-party data. Unlike third-party cookies that are often blocked by users and about to be phased out, QR codes offer an alternative data infrastructure so you can pull information from users’ device IDs, because they willingly scan these codes. Moreover, QR codes are simple and low-cost to develop a data gathering strategy around. Here are three reasons to incorporate QR codes for data collection:
QR codes allow for more data touchpoints
Our post called “6 Big Data Will Change Your Life in the Future” discussed data and how data creation has grown exponentially with modern use of technology, giving us plenty of insights into human movement. Of course, we can best tap into this rich data through different touchpoints for collection. QR codes are great for this because most users find it intriguing to use, transforming how we interact with everyday objects. Rather than relying on a static ad banner, for instance, having a QR touchpoint provides you data on who was engaged and the context in which they engaged.
For instance, Lil Nas X included QR codes on billboards for his album “Montero” – which redirected users to a URL with a pre-save link and other Lil Nas X videos. This bridged physical and digital touchpoints, with a built-in way to measure if the campaign was successful. Other campaigns offer rewards so you’d be enticed to scan a QR code, like receiving a discount on your bill after filling out a feedback form.
QR codes can ensure data is properly stored
Most data needs to be collected, cleaned (for improper formatting or incorrect/corrupted input), and organized before it can be of any use to us. QR codes can be used to streamline the process so no information falls through the cracks. Case in point, Doorway shows how digital business cards – which utilize QR codes – allow people to save contact details instantly when networking, even without an app or internet connection. Considering how 88% of paper business cards are thrown away without the details on them being saved, Doorway’s technology helps users deftly manage and store information.
Of course, you can always have customers fill out surveys in a traditional way, but you’d have to encode everything manually. There’s also a risk of losing or damaging the hard copies. With a QR code, you can simply link users to a digital form that automatically records and tabulates their responses on one platform.
QR codes let you study user engagement in-depth
When QR codes are scanned by a user, they can be redirected to a website that tracks their usage habits. One tool you can combine QR code analytics with is website heat mapping. Heatmaps can display the most and least popular elements of your webpage using colored visuals. Here, you can understand how users interact with the page they were sent after scanning the QR, including what they click on and how far down they scroll.
Microsoft Clarity illustrates the versatility of heatmaps by letting you “play back” user sessions and analyzing their paths through a site. Microsoft also created an Insights dashboard using machine learning so you can see sessions or events that matter most. Restaurants, for example, can see trends on which parts of the menu people pay most attention to after they scan its QR code.
AnalyticsNXT highlights the role of data in our increasingly high-tech world. However, data analytics, machine learning, and other techniques are only applicable when you have rich sources of data – such as QR codes – to be truly effective and valuable.