How to learn to love QR codes now

Category: Digital


For a while it looked like they would be no more than an episode in the book of media tangles. But now they are everywhere again: on packaging, on posters, in magazines, even integrated into the social network of your choice. QR codes have become the basic inventory of marketing. It just depends on the context of use whether it works for you or not. 

Actually, one should be able to assume that an online retail giant with around 2.8 billion visits per month can be reasonably sure that it does not necessarily need offline media channels. But just before Christmas 2018, Amazon showed that the essence of disruption does not have to lie solely in the breathless adaptation of new technologies, but rather in the field of action between technology, customers and their presumptive behavioural patterns. In November 2018, Amazon sent a printed catalogue of toys to millions of US households. Prices were not to be found in it - they change online too often - but a QR code was printed for each product, which led directly to the product page in the Amazon app and, of course, to the one-click button for buying Marvel figures or Disney princesses. The fact that Amazon took the opportunity to rename the QR code "Smilecode" was not a problem.


QR codes are the Flixbus of mobile marketing: the opposite of fancy, ubiquitous, cheap and easy to use, and pretty reliable for getting where you want to go. Since Apple, with the release of iOS 11, equipped the iPhone camera with the ability to read QR codes without having to use another app, the circle of potential users has expanded enormously: around 800 million people can now use their iPhones to bridge the gap between offline and online.

The use of QR codes has increased in Europe. doubled between the years 2015 and 2018. - and this is thanks to social networks in particular: LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram have now integrated QR codes into their apps for networking with other users. The codes have thus become a natural part of our digital-social behaviour.

Other companies have meanwhile recognised that the aesthetically unpretentious squares with their functional depth can be real hidden champions of dialogue marketingNetflix, for example, promoted its Gilmore Girls with Snap codes on 10,000 coffee mugs. This led to one million visits to a special mobile site where users could have fun with photo filters. The car manufacturer Porsche let visitors to a trade fair configure a Cayenne Turbo via a QR code on a digital poster.


The examples show: the success of QR codes depends enormously on the consumer's expectation of benefits. Those who merely enrich their advertisements with QR codes that lead to the start page of their own website will disappoint users and should not expect any results other than a few website hits. After all, a QR code is supposed to be the shortest possible link between the printed and the digital, without sending the user on a virtual scavenger hunt on his smartphone. Those who use QR codes without even having a responsive website are guaranteed to annoy users.

On the other hand, the codes are ideal for leading to tutorial videos or to mobile landing pages that can be used to download apps. The most important thing here is to understand the landing page as a simple and clear content hub that provides brief explanations of what may follow - whether it is a video or an app.

Digital Genius

The QR code is now more established in the logistics sector than in other industries - after all, that's where it comes from. This has prompted us to publish "Digital Genial", a special issue of our logistics magazine "dispo"which our clients can use as a printed gateway to their videos or apps. In doing so, we not only create a QR code for the advertisement, but branded mobile landing pages on which several videos can be shown, apps for both the Apple Store and Google Play can be presented and links to one's own website or social channels can be set - of course with all social sharing options. The landing pages can then unfold their effect as a media bridge for a whole year: every customer can use the corresponding QR codes in their own marketing materials until the end of 2020.

The magazine will be published on 29 November 2019.

Download the media data for "Digital Genial".
Certainly also in your social network: QR codes are now well established.

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