I am always excited to get new magazines in the mail. I like reading them but more importantly, I like looking at the ads to see who is using QR codes. Today it happened to be Popular Photography that came in the mail.
I opened the magazine and started scanning through it. It wasn’t until about 1/3 of the way that I came across the first code. In fact, in the whole magazine I only found 3 QR codes. Three? That’s it? Note to advertisers: The readers of Popular Photography are photographers, many of them with the latest and greatest technology. Why not use technology to reach them better?!?
Back to my point. I have to applaud the advertisers that did use the QR codes, they’re trying. Why do I say trying? Well, all three of the advertisers codes have something in common; all three take the user to a regular website. And only one of them had any type of call to action. Is this a bad thing? YES!
Example 1: Shortrun Posters
This ad has a clean and simple message. It has the potential to be a candidate for a great QR code campaign. It has a call to action, in this case 10% off but it drops the user to a regular size website. It’s not formatted for mobile. The whole point of the QR code is that it’s being used by mobile users, therefore you should deliver them mobile content. FAIL #1.
Example 2: Newegg.com
Again, this is a nice, clean ad (with a complex QR code that some readers may not be able to read) but the code takes the reader to a non-mobile web page. Not only that, the item is not at a particularly great price AND the item is out of stock. FAIL #2.
Example 3: Hoodman
This is going to be the one, right? Wrong! Hoodman fails to see the importance of the QR code and all of it’s possibilities. They could have taken the user to a video showing their products being used, but instead drops their user to a generic page of all of there products AND it’s not formatted for the mobile screen. FAIL #3.
All three ads are great examples of grabbing the attention of their audience and then failing miserably with the follow through.
Attention marketers and advertisers: Know your medium before making your customer jump through hoops. If I was in the market for one of these products I would be sorely disappointed after scanning the QR code only to find out that I can’t see the page very well and there is no clear reason why I am there. Note: On an iPhone this is ok since we can pinch and zoom (but not optimal) but many phone you can’t do that.
In today’s world it’s all about interaction, information delivered on the fly and mobile. If your users can’t get the information they want, in a format that they can see, don’t make them take steps they need not take. All three of these companies could have just as easily left off the QR code and achieved the same results.
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