At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas recently, WPP chief executive, Martin Sorrell, told a packed audience that mobile advertising has become the most important trend in the industry, thanks to the exponential growth of internet-enabled mobile phones which are key to the industry’s future.
This statement, from one of today’s greatest advertising minds, reinforces the need for those in the offline advertising markets to consider their future business models and evaluate how best to engage with the change in the populations use of mobile technology.
Those in the offline advertising arena are being challenged to come up with creative means for adding another dimension to the once one dimensional media of print. Whilst printed media will always have a role to play in advertising, consumers are demanding content that engages with their online lifestyles. There are 5,000,000,000 Mobile handsets in the world today[i] of which 39% are internet enabled[ii].. This figure is predicted to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next few years, as churn of standard mobile phones is replaced by today’s modern smartphone.
The tech-savvy Japanese market are way ahead of the curve with this challenge and have been using 2 dimensional barcodes on printed media for a number of years. You will see 2d Barcodes all over Japan, anywhere from food packaging, newspapers, T-Shirts to 48 sheet billboards. They have even appeared on building facades. These barcodes are read/scanned using any internet enabled mobile phone with an on-board camera and once scanned; launch the handsets web browser to deliver media rich online content. Here lies another dimension for print media…
As the US and European markets catch up with mobile handset technology with advent of smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, which are now replacing the standard handset in these areas, we too can now bring printed media to life and deliver the immense mass of online content to the mobile consumer.
Imagine, being able to link online content to a piece of POS, or a Press Ad.. What about personalised Direct Mail? All of these examples are now possible by simply adding a 2d barcode to your print media and delivering media rich, up to the minute content instantaneously to the consumers’ channel of choice – Mobile.
The most popular form of 2d barcode being used in this emerging market is the Quick Response Code, or QR Code as it is better known. Originally developed for tracking car parts around the Toyota manufacturing operations in Japan in 1994, the QR code is now being used by global advertising brands to deliver mobile content from offline media. Whilst the technology is not new, the delivery points are and are destined to become common place in today’s mobile market.
QR Codes can be encoded to contain vCards, VEvents, SMS Messages, Geo Location data, Email messages, Text based content and of course URLs. As the technology has grown from within the underworld Open Source community, we are now starting to see new and innovative ways in which these amazing barcodes are starting to be used. In recent months, we have witnessed QR Codes being used for interactions like; Instant Charitable donation giving, Social Media Check-in’s and connection exchanges. Most recently, pURLs have been embedded within QR Codes for the ultra-personalised mobile experience. We have even seen them appearing on clothing and toilet rolls…
We are not from the stable that believes printed media is on the way out – in fact far from it. But, Print Media does need that 2nd dimension to really engage with today’s tech-savvy consumer and QR Codes may well be the means to achieve this.
Another major feature of QR Code marketing is the ability to track and analyse consumer engagement with your print media advertising. Free online services like QRtag provide you with the ability to not only generate your own QR Codes, but also track scan interactions, along with providing you with an amazing array of scan analytics on location, handset and media usage. Totally aligned to today’s world of measureable advertising, QR Codes will stand up and be counted as part of advertising’s ROI measurement!
To join the QR Code revolution, simply download a QR Code reader app to your Mobile – Text the word i-nigma to: 07797882325. You will receive back an SMS containing a link to the i-nigma software download site – the rest is simple. I-Nigma is just one of literally hundreds of free mobile bar code scanning apps available across, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian app marketplaces. If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry, i-nigma will work on any mobile phone that has a camera and web browser installed.
Here are a few examples for you to play with.. Simply scan the QRazyCodes below and see where the QR journey takes you:
There is a wealth of additional content available online about QR Codes – why not start with checking out the links below. The authors of this article regularly publish information rich content via Social Media platforms – a great place to gain knowledge from today’s online world:
Author: Martin Rides, CEO, QRazystuff.com & QRt.ag
QR Code Consultants