The 5 Most Common QR Code Fails Marketers Make

ThinkHow and Why QR Code Marketing Can Easily Go Wrong about this. You’re passing the time flipping through a magazine. You happen to see an eye-catching ad from one of your favorite stores for the perfect ceramic planter for your new -- ahem, make that tenth -- new house plant you’ve purchased during the pandemic (well done).

The design and the price is perfect and you really WANT this planter. The ad has a QR code that you can simply scan to buy, however, instead of opening the app you're met with that pesky login screen on the store's mobile web site. What’s your password again? Don’t even get started on trying to remember your username.

You don’t need it that much (sorry plant). A few frustrating login attempts later and you’ll likely give up. Maybe next time.

OK, all jokes aside, as a consumer you’d leave with a bad taste in your mouth, right? Don't let that negativity seep into your marketing strategy or your client's campaigns. The new contactless world we all live in presents a big opportunity for brands to deliver and delight customers with QR experiences that work every time.

The challenge for marketers and agencies is to understand what factors can affect QR code behavior making them easy, difficult or impossible to scan. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes marketers make with QR codes that can turn potentially great QR experiences into embarrasing QR code fails.

1. Your QR Density is Wrong

QR code density refers to the number of pixels in your QR code. Lower density might be needed for long distance scanning or small display sizes. A higher density may be required for closer range scanning on product packaging or on campaigns with larger logo and branding requirements. The key is to choose a QR solution that lets have some control over the density of your code. Beware of free bulk QR code generators which will choose the density for you or not let you have control over it. That means your QR code will be made with with a lot of guesswork and assumptions about your use case. This sets you up for a big QR code fail. Platforms like URLgenius let you control the density of your code so you can get each code right the first time.

2. Your Plans Change, Your QR Can't

Marketers might think that creating a QR code can be the last step in the launch process of a campaign when in fact, getting your QR code right requires careful planning from the get-go. When the destination of your QR code is uncertain at the time of printing or there's a strong possibility it will change, there are ways to implement a QR strategy that can accomodate either forseen or unforseen changes. It makes no difference if your QR code opens an app or a website, make sure it's dynamic and your marketing team can update the destination in real time without having to change the actual QR code which is likely already printed on that poster, retail display or product package.

3.QR Codes Can Easily Go Wrong Don Too Many QR Code Tracking Tags

For marketers, measurement is everything. You want to be able to prove to your boss you're a QR campaign rock-star. So you append some tracking tags to the link and then enter it into a free dynamic bulk QR code generator and you've got your QR tracking right? Wrong. First, those tracking tags are going to change the behavior of your QR code so it may not even scan - so you won't be tracking anything. Second, be aware of what your QR solution is tracking and how that information is being used. Is the QR code dropping a pixel and running afowl of today's privacy trends? Your QR solution should track QR scans separately from clicks and show that to you in reporting. Also, to get a QR code that works great, you don't need to let it follow your customers around the internet for retargeting. Talk to your QR solution provider and tell then what you want and need for tracking and make sure the solution can deliver without sacrificing usability.

4. Testing QR Codes Out of Context

So you want to create a customized, branded QR code. You have the URL and you enter it into a free online QR code generator and upload your logo and change the color and you love it! You generate the QR code and scan it on the screen with your mobile device. It works like a charm so you're all set right? Not quite. Not unless your customer or prospect will also be scanning it on a similar screen in the same size from the same distance. If you plan on sending that QR code to a printer to place on packaging or another type of marketing material it may not work. Or if you plan to use that QR code on a TV commercial - your customer will be sitting on a sofa trying to scan it and that is very different from scanning it on a computer. QR context matters when you're testing the code. If it's not possible to test the code in context, talk to your QR solution provider and explain your use case and if they can't advise you on how to create the perfect experience for your use case, find another QR provider.

5. Your QR Code Can't Open Your App

If you're an avid app user, you know how annoying it is when retailers and other services send you back to the mobile website from different marketing channels and you need to login to purchase. You have the app on your phone but it just doesn't open. This friction in the customer's journey kills your conversion and hurts app re-enagement. Think of your QR code as another marketing channel. Just like search marketing, display advertising and other channels, your QR code strategy should accomodate app users and web users. Whether your code is designed to open a social app or a brand app, don't send high value app users to mobile website logins. With platforms like URLgenius, you don't need SDKs or technical resources to create QR codes that deep link into the the app when it's installed or the website if the app is not installed.

So what have we learned? Your QR code strategy should delight your audience not disappoint. You don't want to be that agency or that marketer responsible for creating an epic QR code fail. But wait, there's much more you need to know! That's why we created this QR Experience Playbook to help you create a winning strategy. It contains everything you need to get started.

Download it today and contact us for your free QR strategy session.

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