This full-page Jeep ad that appeared in newspapers this week is a great example of ‘Best Practices’ to follow when using a 2D barcode in advertising. A recent poll from AskingCanadians revealed that 58% of smartphone owners who scan 2D barcodes are scanning them from newspapers (just like this one) and magazines.
Once scanned the QR code resolves quickly to a mobile friendly page. Three simple drop down menus help the user to select region, brand (you could also select Chrysler, Dodge or Ram deals), and model. The selected vehicle page loaded quickly and featured a photo, price, features and detailed description. A button labelled ‘Get This Deal Now’ could be tapped to find a dealer near you, besides the prompt by the page to ‘Use Your Location’, dealers could be found by inputting a postal code. The dealers are listed with contact information clickable phone number (it is a phone after all), map location, and a link to a mobile friendly email contact form.
1. The ad uses a QR Code.
The term QR code refers to Quick Response codes. These are an open source type of 2D barcode that was created in the mid 90s by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave as an efficient way to track auto parts. It can be read by the largest number of 2D barcode reader apps. Most 2d barcode providers include QR codes as an option.
2. The QR code is a readable size.
An optimal size for a QR code is around 1 inch. This allows it to be clearly read by most smartphone cameras. A ratio of 10:1 is a good practice to follow when considering how big to make your QR code. A QR code in a print ad, where a reader’s camera phone would be used at a close distance of 10-15cm should be an inch or 2cm.
If you are considering using a QR code on wall poster where most readers will be approximately a metre away from, then a 10cm square code would be appropriate. Angle of surface, lighting conditions are other important factors to consider. Other types of 2D barcodes such as ScanLife’s EZcodes and Microsoft’s Tag have a simpler structure and can be made a bit smaller. However they require a specific type of 2D barcode reader apps.
3. Set expectations
There in a clear call to action to motivate the reader. The copy reads “Scan Here for More Great Offers”, which fits in well with the theme of the ad. The usage of the QR code makes perfect sense as a way to connect the user to relevant content at that moment.
4. Provide a mobile friendly destination
The mobile landing page loads quickly and feels like a natural extension of the print ad allowing me to quickly find an offer on the vehicle I am interested in.
5. Provide value
When scanned the QR code resolves to a mobile page where a reader can fine additional offers on Jeep & Chrysler vehicles of their choice, as well as a contact information for a local dealer.
The only parts of the execution I can critique are the absence of an alternative URL and instructions on how to use the QR code. While 86% of smartphone users recognize what a 2D barcode is (according to a recent AskingCanadians poll), the majority of people still may not understand how to find a 2d barcode scanning app or what to do with it.