2012 Review of Quick Response Codes

As we enter the new year, statistics from 2012 begin to surface.  One of these studies from the Direct Mail Association show that Quick Response codes, or QR codes, not only increased in usage, but they also saw an increase in response rates from consumers.  Additionally, QR codes used in magazine ads actually had a higher scanning rate than QR codes that were included on direct mail pieces; direct mail having the second-highest scanning rate for QR codes.

The prevalence of QR codes doubled last year in magazine ads.  From only about 5 percent of advertisers including a QR code to about 10 percent of ads containing a 2D barcode.  Magazines had an average scan rate of 6.4 percent.  Whereas direct mail, coming in a close second, had an average scan rate of 5.9 percent.

Some of the theories as to why magazine and catalogue scan rates were higher was because of the engagement a person has with a printed magazine.  With the average person spending about 46 minutes with every magazine they read, it’s a reasonable assumption that the people scanning the codes are slightly more engaged and therefore, more likely to take the time to scan an ad’s code to read the mobile content.

Quick Response codes offer consumers the ability to be easily connected from a brand’s printed message to its digital counterparts.  By using a combination of both print and digital touch points in your marketing mix, you ensure that your audience receives your brand’s message.  By combining the two communication methods you’re able to increase your brand’s reach and frequency — ultimately seeing higher return on investments.

In 2012, both response rates and QR codes usage among brands have increased.  What are your predictions for 2013?  Do you plan to use QR codes in your marketing mix?

Timothy Freeman


Print & Graphic Communications Association


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