As they’re poised to take the world by storm, what makes a QR Code effective and efficient as a contactless physical-to-digital portal is that they are trackable—meaning you can track QR Code scans and gather other scan-related data.
With trackable QR Codes, you get a stream of high-intent, first-party data that can make your QR Code campaigns precise and robust.
Wondering how you can track QR Code scans with a trackable QR Code? What QR Code tracking entails, how it works, and the kind of data you can collect with a QR Code? This guide covers it all!
Dynamic QR Codes are the only type of trackable QR Codes. Static QR Codes, on the other hand, are not trackable. Why?
To help us understand better, we need to know how information is stored in QR Codes.
A QR Code is nothing but a 2D configuration/pattern of tiny modules that has information encoded within it.
The way that any data is embossed into a QR Code is governed by globally accepted standards that make the scanning process easy and uniform. Different visual elements and the type of information stored are taken into consideration: position, alignment, quiet zone, version information, error correction, and so on.
Why static QR Codes cannot be tracked
In a static QR Code, data is directly embedded into the QR Code. Meaning that the information contained in the module configuration of the QR Code is permanent, and upon scanning, it will always lead to that same piece of data.
In other words—it is extremely difficult and inconvenient to set up a QR Code tracker for a static QR Code. Tracking QR Code scans with static codes is considered to be next to impossible, and for the same reason, they are not recommended for tracking QR Code scans.
Why dynamic QR Codes are trackable
In a dynamic QR Code, data is not directly embedded into the QR Code. Dynamic QR Codes contain a redirect URL that takes users to different digital destinations such as landing pages, dynamic forms, vCards, app stores, and so on.
If the need arises, this final digital destination or content/data can be modified/edited/changed. Only dynamic QR Codes allow you to change the QR Code destination on the backend. This is also what makes a dynamic QR Code a trackable QR Code with scan data like no. of scans, no. of unique visitors, scan location, and so on.
Data that trackable QR Codes allows you to collect
QR Code tracking by no means allows you to live track users who have scanned the code. This is simply a misconception that most have about what trackable QR Codes do. Tracking data is only collected at the scanning touchpoint where the QR Code has been deployed.
Here’s a glimpse of the essential data/metrics that you can collect by using trackable QR Codes:
No. of QR Code scans
No. of unique visitors to the QR Code content
Exact GPS location of a scan
Device OS used to scan
Scans by city
Time of day of scan
If you integrate your QR Code platform with tools like Google Analytics or other website data solutions, you can gain further insights about your audience. These include:
Returning users vs existing users
Level of engagement—time on page, clicks, visit duration, bounce rates, views
Device OS and browser used
Other user interests
Read our guide on QR Code analytics to learn more about the kind of analytics that you can get with a trackable QR Code.
How to create a trackable QR Code
Step 1: Go to the Beaconstac dashboard to create your dynamic QR Code. This is the flow: Dashboard side menu → QR Codes → Create QR Code.
Step 2: Choose the use-case for which you wish to create the trackable dynamic QR Code.
Step 3: Enter relevant information for the QR Code that will be shown upon scanning.
Step 4: Customize the QR Code to your liking.
Step 5: Click on Next to generate the trackable QR Code. Your QR Code is now ready.
Step 6: For looking at overview analytics for all the QR Codes you’ve deployed, go to the Dashboard side menu —> Analytics → QR Codes.
Step 7: For a specific QR Code use this flow: Dashboard side menu → QR Codes → Find your QR Code and click Scan.
How to track QR Code scans with UTM links and Google Analytics
Here’s how you can leverage UTM links and Google Analytics to track QR Code scans:
Step 1: Go to Google Analytics and create a free account for your website.
Step 2: Create UTM links for the web page/landing page/other content that your QR Code links to with Google’s Campaign Builder tool.
Step 3: Attach the generated link with UTM tags to your QR Code.
Step 4: Go to Google Analytics → Acquisition → Campaigns. Select relevant UTM tags and track all traffic coming through the UTM URL.
Tracking QR Code scans becomes easy when you use Beaconstac’s Google Analytics integration
Although the method above can be utilized to track QR Code scans, it can be tedious and inconvenient to create unique QR Code—UTM link pairs for each QR Code that you deploy.
Also, UTMs only allow you to track users who have fully completed the physical-to-digital user journey. That is, if they do not approve the QR Code prompt that takes them to the final content on their smartphone cameras, no data will be collected. This is valuable, high-intent first-party data that you’re missing out on!
A far easier method that also prevents fractional data loss is to leverage Beaconstac’s integration with Google Analytics—where you can view GA metrics on Beaconstac’s dashboard itself. All you have to do is add QR Codes as a first-party data source bringing in traffic to your website.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:
Step 1: Set up or sign in to your Google Analytics account.
Step 2: Go to Accounts → Create Property.
Step 3: Enter the relevant Website URL. It could be a page on your website or landing pages created with Beaconstac.
Step 4: Click on Get Tracking ID and copy it.
Step 5: Go to the Beaconstac dashboard, click on ‘Accounts’, and scroll further down to the ‘Organizations’ section.
Step 6: Enter the GA ID and click Save.
Step 7: All campaign metrics from Google Analytics will be imported and viewable on Beaconstac.
Beaconstac makes enterprise-level QR Code scan tracking simple and robust
If you plan to deploy QR Codes in bulk and are wondering how to track QR Code scans at scale—no worries—Beaconstac has got your back!
At the enterprise level, making sure that QR Code management is smooth and easy is paramount. For the same reason, Beaconstac has an API that allows you to integrate QR Code scan-related data and other metrics into the tool or platform of your choice. We know that having all your QR Code data within your preferred software can make things way more convenient.
In addition, we have other features like bulk QR Code creation and a Google Sheets plugin that enable you to create thousands of trackable QR Codes in one go.
We also have integrations with Zapier and Integromat that allow you to connect Beaconstac with nearly 4000+ applications. No coding knowledge is required whatsoever!
Utilize our in-house QR Code tracker system to send automated QR Code analytics reports to your teams—through weekly emails, daily performance reports, Slack notifications, and more.
We hope this guide helped you get a more complete understanding of what trackable QR Codes are, how QR Code scans are tracked, and the different QR Code tracking options available. If you’re convinced and want to give Beaconstac a shot, start your 14-day trial or sign up for a demo.
Are QR Codes trackable?
Yes—although it depends on the specific QR Code type. Dynamic QR Codes are trackable whereas static QR Codes are not. The former gives you scan metrics like no. of scans, unique visitors, time and location of scan, end user preferences, and more.
Can you track who scans a QR Code?
While it may not be possible to know the exact details of each and every user who has scanned your code, you can get a general idea of the no. of scans, unique visitors, end-user age, gender, preferences, device OS, and browser used. Alternatively, you can pair a QR Code with a dynamic form and incentivize users to provide their details themselves.
How do I make a QR Code trackable?
Only dynamic QR Codes are trackable, and they come with in-built tracking and analytics.
What you can track with a QR Code?
No. of scans received
No. of unique visitors
Time of Scan
Location of Scan
End-user age, gender, language, preferences
Device OS and browser used
How do you check if a QR Code has been scanned?
You can check if a given QR Code has been scanned only with trackable QR Codes, a.k.a, dynamic QR Codes. A dynamic QR Code solution allows you to gather information about the number of scans, unique visitors, device OS and browser, end-user age, gender, language, and more.
Can you track when someone scans a QR Code?
Yes, it is possible to record when and where a QR Code has been scanned. Location and time of scan metrics can only be tracked with dynamic QR Codes.
Can you track how many times a QR Code has been scanned?
Yes—you can track the number of times a given QR Code has been scanned. You can also gather data about the number of unique visitors, location and time of the scan, user age, gender, language, preferences, and so on. Only dynamic QR Codes have this functionality.