QR code platform wars
Just like the VHS vs. BetaMax wars in the early days of video,
several platforms are vying for QR-code dominance. Each has its own
unique twist and challenges.
The QR codes on the garbage trucks require people to download a
program that will scan a photo of the code and use the data it
contains to lead users to the campaign's videos.
However, QR codes that require nothing more than sending a text
message are also vying for adoption.
I'm betting that text-message-based 2-D codes, which require no
download, will win and become the standard way to deliver mobile QR
- U.S. mobile montent market: 68.7 million text users
- 86% of the US owns a mobile phone
- 265 million mobile phones users
- 240-plus million text-enabled handsets
- 65 million text- and web-enabled phones Source: CTIA
How app-based QR codes work
Application-based QR codes require the user to download an app to
their phone, take a picture of the code on an ad, product, website
To read the QR code, a user simply launches a reader application
on their mobile device and takes a picture of the image.
The reader software will then trigger the appropriate response,
which can include anything from launching a URL in the phone's
browser to streaming a video or MP3.
The app scans the photo and directs the user to a server, which
can deliver content download, a message or link, a video, a coupon,
a registration form, a mobile payment, or a multimedia combination
Leaders include Microsoft TAG, ScanLife, Nokia Reader and
StickyBits, among others.
How SMS-based QR codes work
Text-based (SMS) 2-D codes perform all the same functions, but do
not require the consumer to download an application prior to
Using SMS, 2-D codes deliver video, audio, images and text to
both smartphones (25% of mobile users) and standard phones (75% of
mobile users). Leaders include JagTag, whose recent
promotion for Sports Illustrated generated 120,000 responses --
with 24% of requests coming from smartphones, a response share much
higher than the 17% of mobile phones in the U.S. in that
Integration is key
Like any tool in the social media toolbox, QR codes are most
effective when placed throughout an integrated campaign which
includes print ads, in-store displays, direct mail, websites and
even iPad ads.
Among those experimenting with QR codes in their marketing are
JC Penney, Allure Magazine, Kidrobot, Northwest Airlines, Calvin
Klein Jeans, Pet Shop Boys, movie producers and many more.