Whatever Happened to QR Codes?

    By Jenifer Kramer | Small Business

    You remember them… Those funny (ugly?) little squares that started showing up everywhere with instructions telling you to take a picture with your cell phone for more information. But the question is, did you ever use them???

    Whatever Happened to QR Codes? image QR codeWhatever Happened to QR Codes?

    A few years ago QR codes were all the rage.

    They were in your magazines, on posters, on business cards, even in museum exhibits.

    But they were often very hard to actually activate.

    You needed to have the correct reader app installed on your phone…

    And sometimes even that didn’t work.

    Additionally, quite often the URL that was accessed when the QR code was “read” did not provide enough value to warrant the time and energy spent accessing it.

    Simply put, it was a let-down.

    But now, there are new technologies on the scene that show a great deal of promise…

    First, there is augmented reality (or AR for short).

    A few of the large publishing houses, including Meredith and IPC Media in the UK, are embracing Augmented Reality via provider Blippar and are experiencing tremendous engagement.

    They are using AR to provide additional content to their readers, to offer them a method to purchase product and to allow them to participate in fun activities like games and quizzes.

    And what’s really nice is AR is attractive.

    No more big black and white cubes standing out like an eyesore in the middle of your beautiful layout.

    Augmented Reality simply reads the existing images on the page – your logo, a photograph, whatever you program it to read.

    Like magic!

    Other publishers like Time Inc. are using something similar referred to as “digital watermarks” in their books and magazines.

    Many marketers are embracing these new technologies as well.

    Just check out this video of Will Ferrell’s movie The Campaign that made good use of a regular dollar bill.

    Or this example of truly innovative Volkswagen billboards.

    And all of this is being done in an effort to maximize the opportunity that exists between print and mobile.

    I personally am excited about these new technologies.

    Not only are they fun and interesting, providing a true value to the consumer, but they are trackable and measurable, something invaluable to the marketer.

    They also serve to generate buzz both among viewers and via PR, contributing additional word of mouth exposure.

    So, what are your thoughts on QR codes versus all of these new technologies?

    Have you used the former? How about the latter? Tell us your opinion in the Comments below…

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