Make your QR Codes work smarter! Generate positive ROI with QR Code campaigns. Compare the current QR performance with industry benchmarks and understand how to improve them.
Last Updated:  April 13, 2021
If you plan to add a QR Code on your packaging or launch a QR Code campaign for safe menus, you are a part of the 28 Million-Club that has already done that. If you do it the way 95% of them do it, the chances of ending up with a sub-optimal QR campaign are high.
This article will cover QR tips and inspirations from the other 5% that nail QR Code campaigns. But before we proceed with that, let’s look at QR campaign benchmarks by industry.
QR Code campaign benchmarks
The average scan-through rate of QR Code campaigns for all industries we analyzed is 12.8%
What is “scan-through rate (STR)” of QR Code campaigns?
Scan through rate is the number of scans your QR Codes get divided by the number of eyeballs it got. It is the best way to tell if your QR Code campaign is working or not. It’s a counterpart of click-through rate (CTR) in online campaigns.
QR Code campaigns vs. other digital marketing campaigns
When you run email marketing campaigns or Instagram ads, you have enough benchmark references. But, with QR Code campaigns, there aren’t as many numbers to look up to.
First, let’s compare the average scan-through rate of QR Code campaigns with the most popular marketing channels.
The primary use case of food and beverage brands is adding a QR Code on the packaging to deliver detailed information about the product. They have an average STR of 14.9%, but the well-implemented ones witness STRs as high as 25-30%
How to improve QR Code performance/scans
A low performing QR Code generally indicates four things –
The user doesn’t see any incentive in scanning the QR Code
The QR Code doesn’t stand out
The user isn’t sure if it is safe to scan the QR Code
The user doesn’t know how to scan a QR Code
If you agree to these, let’s quickly jump to discussing how you can fix the above-stated issues.
1. Give users a reason to scan the QR Code
You have been there with email marketing. Unless the subject line is not promising, users do not open emails. Similarly, if the incentive to scan the QR Code is not strong enough, users go blind to it.
This incentive is not monetary all the time. It could be emotional, thought-provoking, or personal.
Use the call-to-action frame to communicate the incentive
It’s important to highlight the benefit of scanning the QR Code right below. I have personally seen multiple instances where the CTA frame reads “Scan me.” This generic text doesn’t do the job.
I have picked up a few good examples to help you optimize the CTA –
Free home try-on 👓
Refer & get $10
Support mental health
Book a skin session
Know your skin
From us to you 👋
Thank your farmer
Dinner recipes for tonight
🚫 touch | Stay safe 😷
Deliver real value – every time
On-going engagement is a product of a good first-time experience. If the first-time experience of scanning your QR Code was rewarding, the user will be tempted to scan again. But scanning to see the same content again would be boring. 🙁
Instead, you should use a dynamic QR Code that switches campaigns linked to it. Think of updating the QR Code with your latest YouTube video – automatically. Wondering how to do that? A Beaconstac-Zapier-Youtube integration will do the job. The best part, no coding is required 🙂
If you sell dairy products, imagine switching campaigns to show the most trending recipe using your product e.g., the Dalgona coffee that took the internet by the storm or the nice-cream trend.
2. To garner more scans, the QR Code should stand out
This is more of a design challenge that’s easy to fix. While placing a QR Code, you should keep two things in mind:
The position of the QR Code
The appearance of the QR Code
Where to place your QR Code? It’s science, I promise!
Treat your QR Code like a call-to-action button on your website. To be fair, they mirror a CTA button in the physical world.
First, just like above-the-fold in the placement of choice for buttons, you should place QR Codes in the first half of the packaging or marketing collateral. This is because users start to read from the top and any action that you want them to take subconsciously registers in the brain in the first 10 secs.
Second, avoid placing your QR Code in a busy or cluttered area. This automatically develops blindness towards the area.
Third, if required, use directional cues that point towards the QR Codes. You could use a combination of text and arrow or select a subject that looks towards your QR Code. Psychologically, we tend to look at things as the subject is.
Adding color to the QR Code is the easiest way to make it lively. If your QR Code sits amid a busy area, use contrasting colors
Use unique QR Code edges to give your QR Code a character
Have your QR Code big enough to attract eyeballs. While the minimum limit for scanning is 2cm x 2cm, let your QR Code occupy 1/8th of the total size as a rule of thumb.
3. Users should know that your QR Codes are safe-to-scan
Users often refrain from scanning a QR Code because of some unfortunate experiences in the past. Or because they’ve heard about QR scams in the news.
The only way to gain confidence is why adding your brand logo on the face of the QR Code. The confidence they have in your brand translates into trust.
4. Share instructions about scanning QR Codes
Apps like Snapchat, Amazon, Google Pay, and Instagram indeed made QR Code scan a natural habit.. But this is not true across generations.
The older generation might still struggle with QR Codes. There are also instances where users are confused about whether they need apps to scan the QR Code.
To handle all such situations, it’s advisable to add a short instruction below the QR Code. Something as straightforward as “Point your phone camera to …..” does the job.
While this is a small change, it has a significant impact on the scan rates.
Bonus tip: Build a user journey after the scan
The role of an Instagram ad is not just to drive one-time traffic to your website. You also retarget them on Facebook and YouTube to remind them what they loved about your product.
The same is true with QR Codes. While QR Code is a way to capture one-time interest, a user’s journey should not end there. The ROI of a QR Code campaign doubles when you retarget users who scanned them on various social media platforms.
How does retargeting work?
When a user scans a Beaconstac QR Code, they are redirected to a mobile-optimized landing page. This webpage stores a cookie on the browser. Later you can use the same cookie to build retargeting lists for Facebook and Google Ads.
To wrap up,
Just as any other digital marketing channel, QR Codes require fine-tuning and testing. Brands that nail their QR Code campaigns unlock a high-conversion way of connecting their physical-to-digital worlds.
Drop a comment if you have any specific queries about improving the performance of QR Code campaigns.
I am fascinated by tech-driven marketing. Love to read & write about entrepreneurship and tech-driven business strategies for B2B and B2C companies. Have b(e)acon and eggs for breakfast and always up for doughnuts!
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