Day 18 of the bigmouthmedia SEO Advent Calendar – and today’s daily treat is more about QR-Codes – what are they and how to optimise them. You can read day 17 here.
QR Codes and Snaptags
QR-Codes (short for Quick Response Codes) are two dimensional barcodes that were originally created by car manufacturer Toyota subsidiary, Denso-Wave to increase the data capacity that the manufacturer could hold about a part. Although QR codes were initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturers, they now have a much broader use.
QR-Codes are different to barcodes, as they can hold substantially higher amounts of data (7,089 characters). This allows developers to encode all sorts of information.
Depending on the QR-code, once scanned you’ll either be redirected to a web page, call a phone number, see a message, or other action. You can imagine what all sorts got up to with this innovation!
Note: that your phone will need to have a QR code reader. A great source to get this is from Kaywa.
Sadly, Santa can’t bring you already made QR-Codes; you will again need to visit a website provider. Kaywa does provide this service for you in a few simple clicks.
Once you have your QR-Code generated why not make it more customisable to stand out from the crowd?
Well, you can do this two ways, firstly:
Create the QR-Code as normal and save it as a .png. Once you have this done open it up in any picture editing software and place a logo in the middle of the QR-Code. This way it will not disrupt its function.
There is an easier option which would be to generate the QR-Code with the picture inserted within it. Beqrious allow you to do so by clicking on the “Graphical” tab and generating. Remember the image will have to be 50px/50px in order for this to work.
So what’s next for QR-Codes
Well according to one of America`s leading telephone companies:
“A new survey of more than 500 marketers commissioned by AT&T, 88% plan to increase their mobile marketing programs over the next year, with mobile apps (those appearing on smartphones) and mobile barcodes topping the list of strategies they’re interested in deploying. The main driver among marketers to adopt QR codes into their mobile strategy is consumer engagement.”
However, in recent days if you are a fan of Glamour magazine and live in the States you would have noticed a circular barcode that included a Facebook logo in the centre of it? These are called SnapTags!
What is a SnapTag I hear you ask? They are the new, slightly younger, sexier version of QR-Codes. Take a look at them here.
My general view of both types for now is, both code types can live in harmony side-by-side. However, it does depend on your different needs and goals of your campaign, which would work better in the long run. Visually Snaptags are more appealing but QR-codes are more recognisable to the masses.
Whichever type of codes you intend to use, there are many beneficial elements that is brought to your site, whether it is inbound traffic, bridging a gap between offline and online media or even using them for many different types of call to actions.
In order to utilise these types of codes for benefiting your site, remember these key considerations:
- Content - the codes should bring the user to targeted content that justifies the printed material where the codes are located. Pointing the codes to your website’s homepage is not likely to convert into action that often.
- Call to Action - It may be helpful if you provide some information about what the user can expect to find after scanning any of the codes (Example “scan this code for a special discount…”).
- Mobile Landing Page - people who scan these codes will be on a handheld device. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you direct all users to a mobile-friendly landing pages for the best experience. By making sure you have a fully optimised mobile version of the site you will entice users to either use these codes again or better yet, come back to your site.
It all boils down to which one you prefer? The new go-getter or the old reliable although maybe Simon Heyes post on why QR codes won’t be around in the next 12 months might just give food for thought.
Hopefully this has given you some insight about both types of code. Check back tomorrow for our next Advent blog post.