A Quick Introduction to QR Codes

A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional code that can be scanned by smartphone cameras using QR code reader applications to automatically pull up text, photos, videos, music and URLs.  QR codes are being increasingly utilized in marketing campaigns, giveaways, rewards, and informational uses such as in museums.  Ultimately, the QR code is the shortest distance between curiosity and information retrieval.

The great thing about QR codes is that they are an open-source and freely licensed standard.  There is no cost in adding them to printed materials and can be scanned by free readers on all smartphones and even half-way smart phones.  To find a QR code reader application, simply enter “QR code scanner” or “barcode reader” into the search field of your app store.

Some QR scanner options available for the iPhone are QuickMark ($.99),  Optiscan ($1.99), NeoReader, BarcodeScanLife, and for the Android there is Barcode Scanner, QuickMark among a variety of others.

There are many QR code generators available. Kaywa, iCandy, StickybitsZxing Project, dlivr, QR Stuff, Maestro, QReat Buzz, and My QR.

Each service has it’s limitations and features – some commercial and not.  Explore and see what fits your project.  It’s important to understand the strategy behind QR codes and articulate the purpose to your clients.  QR codes should ultimately provide some kind of value to the scanner.  You make think it’s a good idea to direct QR code scanners to your website, but is that really the most engaging place to send your audience?  Once a QR code is scanned, the resulting view should be thumb-interactive, easy to read, and purpose-driven.

There have also been strides in the art of creation of QR codes, The mathematical qualities of a QR code and the impact of a clever design can truly elevate a QR code to the point where the code becomes the central artwork of a piece of marketing collateral.  See the QR code for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire below.

There are also services like JumpScan, which provides an complete profile QR code to link your digital persona.  JumpScan lets users create customized QR codes with all their contact information, including social media profiles, for on the go sharing and can be placed on business cards.

Are you curious as to who’s actually scanning these QR codes? And on what devices?  Here’s an info-graphic by JumpScan on QR code consumption.  Visit our blog again to learn new developments and a more in-depth look at how you can use QR codes in your marketing campaigns.

Image courtesy of JumpScan.

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