How to Create QR Codes for Mobile Apps

Smartphone Cameras and Contactless Commerce Renew Interest in QR Codes

QR codes were first invented in 1994 by Toyota to assist in the car manufacturing process. The first QR codes were used to track vehicles and auto parts more efficiently. Today, all types of companies use QR codes to engage consumers in different ways. Companies are using them to open social app content or to do business in messenger apps like WhatsApp. From the smallest to the biggest brands, QR codes are now an important marketing tool to attract and creatively engage with audiences. No longer just for product information, ecommerce retailers including Walmart and Amazon have even taken them a step further by enabling shopper-oriented activities like looking up inventory and product information from print catalogs.

At the outset, the primary barrier to consumer adoption was the inability of mobile cameras on iOS and Android devices to scan QR codes. That meant consumers had to download a special QR code scanning app. Now consumers just need to open their camera, point and click. This new capability combined with trends in contactless commerce is speeding up the adoption of QR code scanning among consumers.

Pro Tip: Check out our free QR Experience Playbook and QR Strategy Guide to learn everything you need to know about getting them right including density, scanning distance and how to brand and customize your QR codes. Avoid the most common QR code fails!

QR Code Scanning and Mobile App Deep Linking

QR codes can be a convenient way to increase downloads and engagement of your app. The technology behind the QR code that opens your app to a specific page is called deep linking. Deep linking platforms like URLgenius are designed for marketers and agencies and allow you to easily create QR codes to any mobile app. Unlike platforms designed for application developers, there is nothing to install and no development or SDK needed. The QR code will open the Android or iOS app depending on what type of device does the scanning.

Consider this QR code example for the Coca-Cola Instagram profile. If you have an iOS mobile device just open your camera to scan. If you have an earlier version of iOS or an Android phone open your QR code scanning app to scan.

QR Codes and Mobile App Deep Linking Example
QR Codes and Mobile App Deep Linking Example

This QR code was created with the URLgenius platform. This is the link associated with the QR code:

When clicked from a mobile device, this link will also open the Instagram mobile app if it is installed. If the app is not installed the user will be sent to the Instagram mobile website. QR codes provide your visitors with a quicker and easier way to get to a specific page or feature within your app. They can also be used online or offline in printed materials or anywhere your user is likely engage with your brand.

QR Codes and Fallback URL Settings

An important consideration for your QR code is the URL fall back setting. If your visitor does not have your app installed, should they be taken to your mobile website or to the app store? IT may depend on the goals of your campaign. If the objective is to increase app installs, you may want to set the fallback to the app store. If you think your visitor is unlikely to install your app at that moment, setting the fall URL to your mobile website may be the best option.

Platforms like URLgenius allow marketers and agencies to control the fallback. Simply by opening the settings page for the link, you can change the fallback by platform and device. You can change the fallback setting even while the link is in production.

QR Codes and App Deep Linking

QR Codes and Mobile App Deep Linking Step-by-Step

In the following example, we will create a QR code to a product page in the Amazon app. This may be helpful for any advertiser that is promoting products in the Amazon marketplace.

These same steps can apply to your brand app. Just contact a deep linking platform like URLgenius and ask them to add your app to their platform. There is is typically no fee to add your app to the deep linking platform for testing.

URLgenius users can follow these steps to create a QR code:

Where to Use Your URLgenius QR Codes

URLgenius QR Codes Deep Linking Metrics

You can login to URLgenius anytime to understand how much engagement your QR codes are driving to your brand app and social profiles.

You can use similar steps to create deep links and QR codes in the same way for your social profiles including Messenger, Telegram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Linkedin and even Amazon and other shopping apps.

Contact us at about adding your your app to the URLgenius platform to create create codes.

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