Creating smart QR Codes
June 14, 2011
…An example of QR codes & my column
QR codes seem to be the media’s most recent marketing darling. You’ll find lots of articles talking about how to use them, including a couple I’ve written (read here and here). And in March, I shared Central Park’s incredible QR campaign to inspire you to give this technology a try.
Along with the various online places where you can find my marketing thoughts, I am a weekly columnist for Iowa’s business journal, the Business Record. A few months ago, we started adding a QR code feature to my columns — to share extra resources and to demonstrate how QR codes can work. (the screen capture is of one of my columns that has migrated from their print product to their website)
When we decided to add this feature, I decided I wanted a QR code creator that was a bit more robust than some of the free sites I’d been using. We weren’t ready for custom shapes (check out these designs) — but I did want to know how many scans each code had and if there was a pattern to when the scans were occurring.
After reviewing many options, I am down to two choices. The “must haves” for me were:
- Could create a high resolution QR code (need it for the print publication and for some of our client’s work)
- Reporting/tracking capabilities
- Good customer support if we had questions
The first contender is QReate & Track by InterlinkONE. They do offer a free membership/option but I opted for the $19/month version so I could get the reporting. That reporting includes:
- Number of scans
- Scans by day, time and month, year etc.
Really, for most local businesses, that’s plenty unless you’re going to do some serious number crunching. In terms of easy access for support, they have a forum, a blog and you can e-mail them your question. They’re also here in the states so for me, that’s a time zone advantage.
The second contender is PushQR.com from the UK. They too offer a free option but I went for the 6.99 GBP($11 something/month) because I needed to create more than 3 campaigns a month. The big difference between the two is in the reporting. With pushqr.com, I can track:
- Realtime # of scans
- Bounce rate
- Unique scans
- Time on page
- What barcode reader was used
- What type of mobile device was used
- The geography of the scanner (down to the city)
Clearly a more robust reporting menu. One of the other cool features to this site is the ability to set a goal. For example, my QR code could lead you to a landing page where I offered something for sale. The goal URL could be the thank you page that you’d go to after making a purchase. Now the reporting shows me not only how many hit the landing site and where else they went — but how many did what I wanted them to do — buy something.
As for support — they have a very simple online manual to answer the most basic of questions and I can open a ticket and submit a question/request to their team.
I haven’t quite landed on the best option for us at McLellan Marketing Group yet — but both of these providers have served our purposes for now but it’s hard to argue with PushQR’s in depth reporting and lower price.
How about you? Are you creating QR codes? How are you using them? Do you have a favorite tool?