QR Barcoding Gaining Traction In Mobile Marketing

thumb-gotomedia_qr_code.pngQR, or Quick Response codes have been around for a while now, though they haven’t made an impact in the US and Europe as they have in Japan and Korea. They’re simple graphics that can be scanned with mobile phones to hyperlink to a variety of digital content.

Phones can either read the barcodes via an included application, or a simple app downloaded from the web. The barcodes can then reveal a wealth of information once scanned, from simple links to WAP sites, to photos, videos, and Mp3s. Most phones produced for countries like Japan and Korea have the requisite barcode scanners installed from the factory, so mainstream use is much more prevalent. In fact, 41.7% of Japanese say they regularly engage with QR code advertising. Here in the US and Europe, however, user’s have to download the required software to be able to read the barcodes, and adding the extra step turns most user’s off the idea completely. Also, since SMS & MMS work in a similar way and are much more accepted on a global scale, some user’s don’t see the benefit.

There’s been a number of different types of mobile barcode formats developed recently, with QR being the most widely used by far at this point. The latest re-incarnation of the QR code is known as the Moseycode, which can hold much more information than any of its predecessors. When recognizing a moseycode, mobile phones can reveal information such as 3D pictures and locations, and even enable users to add their own media to the repository/portal they’ve accessed. The moseycode system was developed solely for the Android platform, so it’ll be a while before it hits the market, but Google is already offering QR codes in it’s Print Ads Program. It will be interesting to see what developers come up with using moseycodes and Android.

The mobile marketing uses for barcoding in general are apparent. As QR-enabled phones and applications become more prolific and sophisticated, we’ll begin to see barcodes on posters, flyers, ads, magazines and newspapers that create a quick link to more digital content, much like text-in keywords. Whether they’ll become assimilated into society as much as in Japan is the main question. If mobile phones start to incorporate the necessary software pre-installed, and the user has to do nothing more than snap a quick photo of the barcode to retrieve the content, I think it will. But, like I said before, adding the extra step of downloading a special application, and having to launch that application every time you want to read a barcode is going to be too much for some users. Texting in to shortcodes is a very simple process, and every mobile phone produced today anywhere in the world already has the capability installed. If scanning and reading a barcode becomes as easy, it might have a chance.

What do you think, would you scan a QR barcode on an advertisement rather than using an SMS shortcode?