I recently read Andrew Grill's post about being a QR Code Sceptic. I agree with some of his points about crap QR code adverts - I've blogged about many of them - but I believe the fundamental business case for QR codes is still strong.
Many people on the blog and on Twitter have asked for case-studies proving how efficacious QR is.
Case-Study comes from the Latin phrase casum stutitius which literally translates to lies told by marketing drones to get you to buy their product.
Show Me The Numbers
The hallmark of any good study is raw, unvarnished, numbers. Sadly, they are really hard to come across. Understandably, most marketeers don't want their rivals to know how well their adverts are doing.
So, what we're left with is rumours and "industry analysis" - which is a fancy way of saying "guessing".
Guess No More
Recently, Boots gave everyone an all-access pass to the performance statistics of their latest QR advert in the Evening Standard.
By using the popular Bit.ly URL redirection service, they've exposed their scanning stats to all.
Here's the advert.
A close up of the QR code.
The code points to http://bit.ly/dermsource. Bit.ly allows anyone to view the statistics of one of its URLs by appending a + to the end. So, by visiting http://bit.ly/dermsource+ we can see how many times the QR codes has been scanned.
Over the course of a work week, around 800 scans. Over 150 on the days the advert was running.
But Is That Any Good?
How does that measure up in the real world?
@edent it just feels low given the potential marketsize. I still await the campaign that'll send QRs mainstream in UK. Olympics?
— Marc Blank-Settle (@MarcSettle) April 26, 2011
Truth be told, I've no idea.
- How much of a response does a regular advert generate in terms of people calling, emailing, or browsing? Very hard to say.
- How much is due to the demographic? Are the skin-cream users of London representative of the general public?
- What does a full page colour advert cost? Was this a good RoI?
- Would having an explanatory call-to-action helped? "Scan the code to find out more" or "Search for 'QR' in your app store to scan the code."
The fact is, QR codes work. They are being used widely - although not always successfully. They are being scanned by thousands of people in the UK and I fully expect that to grow to millions.
When executed well, they are the perfect way to enhance an advert. And now we have (some) statistics to prove it.