QR (quick response) codes aren’t new (they’ve been used for years to track car parts in the auto industry), but they’re relatively new to most of us and their use is evolving quickly. After engineers realized that smartphones can serve as barcode readers, they encouraged marketers to rethink the phone as a means of instant entree to a brand’s website or social media site. Proven to increase conversion rates, QR codes, which look like pixelated black and white square mazes, are now integrated in print and TV ads, on storefronts, and on flyers everywhere.
Beloved by marketers because they’re so versatile, QR codes link to sites that can be updated frequently and can entice consumers with “scan to win” scenarios. And here’s the best part: They’re working. In June of 2011, 14 million Americans scanned a QR code; 33 percent of Americans report interacting with a QR code via their TV. And the technology is being applied far beyond the marketing world; an Indiana tombstone company is installing the codes on some grave sites as a way for loved ones to grieve on a shared memorial site; an English police force has included them on billboards to encourage passersby to review a list of “wanted” people; and real estate companies use them to share information and photos about a property.
Though QR codes are touted for their small stature, the world’s largest QR code—10,000 square feet—was just installed on a roof in North Carolina in order to be visible from Google Earth and Google Maps. We wonder: Might this also qualify for a world record regarding the lengths people will go to drive up Web traffic?
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