Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Download the Playbook
Fill out the form to get your playbook
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Close
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Read the Playbook
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Are QR codes making a comeback in 2020?

By Iris Hearn

Iris Hearn also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022.

Are QR codes making a comeback in 2020?

Anyone remember QR codes?

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

If you don’t recall the name, here’s something to jog your memory.

Remember these?

QR or“Quick Response” codes are scannable 2D codes that prompt a specific action. These can include website visits, app downloads, and social media profiles, among others.  

When I think of QR codes I think back to circa 2011 when smartphones were first gaining traction. You’d see these little squares virtually everywhere – but then they started to disappear.

And there are a few key reasons why. The codes were riddled with issues, they were difficult to use, and slow smartphone internet speeds prevented successful execution.

I feel like no one (at least that I knew) fully understood how to use them. This confusion seemed to extend to marketers as well, because when the codes did work, you were often brought to an irrelevant web page, or it prompted an action that didn’t drive value.

This lack of understanding was only strengthened by the fact that the iPhone camera did not support QR code scanning, requiring users to download a third-party app. So, as the iPhone took over as the top smartphone, brands stopped seeing the potential in QR codes.

However, over the past year or so, we’ve seen a new emergence. You may not have even noticed because they fit in so seamlessly with our day-to-day interactions that we don’t think of it as the same “outdated” format from 2011.

QR codes in 2020

While you might not realize it, QR codes are in more places than you may think nowadays.

For example, if you’ve bought a movie, concert, or plane ticket recently, you’ve likely enjoyed the convenience of not having to print out your documents. Instead, a QR code is sent to your phone.

QR code examples
Another familiar example is SnapCodes. If you want to add a friend on SnapChat, you can simply scan their user profile image on the app’s camera and add them instantly.

snapcode-qr-example
As you can see, QR codes never fully left, but the ways they’re being implemented are much different.

Rather than being a buggy, confusing barcode, they’re now being used in a way that can drive value to the users.

The Value of QR Codes For Marketers  

QR codes are making a comeback in the marketing world as well.

As of Apple’s 2017 iOS 11 update, the iPhone camera can now scan QR codes with no third-party app required.

This opened up possibilities for brands to debut all-new campaigns featuring QR codes in their marketing.

Because QR codes are so dynamic, they can be incorporated into ad creative to fulfill a variety of objectives, including:

  • Link to a website or landing page
  • Send a text message or email
  • Direct users to leave a review on Yelp, Clutch, etc.
  • View message or access special offer
  • View Google maps location
  • Direct to the social media profile

Marketers can then apply these codes to any offline ad creative that drives users to the next step in the process. Some examples include:

  • Event posters, brochures, or flyers
  • Product packaging
  • Business cards
  • Conference displays
  • Postcards or other mail

Additionally, marketers don’t have to sacrifice their ad’s creative appeal for the sake of incorporating a QR code anymore. Now, there are several ways to keep the barcode scannable while still keeping it visually interesting.


qr-code-design
For companies that do a lot of offline marketing, QR codes can be a huge advantage because they offer a way to bridge your online and offline advertising efforts. It provides more in-depth analytics and an overall more cohesive campaign. This can help you track how someone found you, and what real-world interactions contributed to a purchase decision.  

Should You Start Using QR Codes?

Clearly, QR codes are quietly making a comeback — but marketers shouldn’t hop on the bandwagon for the sake of a new trend.

QR codes can be a helpful tool to better engage with your audience, but not if it isn’t driving value.

If your brand is using QR codes, make sure they’re enhancing the user experience above all else. They should be easily assessable, well-optimized for the user’s current needs, and relevant to what they’re looking for.

So, keep an eye out for QR codes in advertising as this trend continues to grow. If you’re interested in adding one to an upcoming campaign, there are tons of free online QR code generators to help you get started.

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Read the Playbook
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Topics:

News
Published on December 23, 2019

Recent Articles

INBOUND 2021 Recap: Takeaways, Speakers, and Lessons Learned
October 25, 2021 • 7 min read
Drift report on pandemic fallout reveals seismic shift in marketing strategy
September 9, 2021 • 3 min read
Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience
August 12, 2021 • 3 min read
Google: Website Content Quality More Important Than Quantity
August 10, 2021 • 3 min read
New HubSpot CMS Hub Starter Tier Released for Growing Businesses
August 6, 2021 • 4 min read
Why most marketing 'news' doesn't matter to inbound marketers
August 3, 2021 • 4 min read
Gartner: Slashed 2021 marketing budgets increases in-house ownership
July 30, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021 • 6 min read
How to Optimize Videos On Your Business Website for Search
July 23, 2021 • 4 min read
Data: 'Funny' seniors imagery is not only demeaning, it's inaccurate
July 21, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 19, 2021
July 19, 2021 • 6 min read
Google: 'Here's how to prepare for the future private web'
July 16, 2021 • 4 min read
How Facebook's news feed algorithm works and prioritizes content
July 14, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 12, 2021
July 12, 2021 • 5 min read
Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure
July 9, 2021 • 5 min read
Data: Facebook is No. 1 in revenue value for publishers, Twitter is a bust
July 7, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 6, 2021
July 6, 2021 • 5 min read
Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks
July 2, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 28, 2021
June 28, 2021 • 6 min read
Google punts third-party cookie ban to 2023 for 'responsible planning'
June 25, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021 • 5 min read
Finally, Google page experience core update is rolling out
June 18, 2021 • 3 min read
Apple Mail privacy news spooks email marketers, newsletter creators
June 16, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 7, 2021
June 7, 2021 • 6 min read