ComScore, a company that follows and measures the digital world, released a study that shows QR code®* users are skewed heavily to young, affluent men.
ComScore’s research showed that in June 2011, more than 14 million U.S. mobile users scanned QR codes. Altogether, these mobile users make up 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience. Of these 14 million, 60.5 percent were male, 53.4 percent were between 18 and 34, and 36.1 percent made $100,000 or more annually.
What does this mean to your efforts? That QR Codes are far from mainstream. If you determine they make sense for your business then they need to be integrated into your multi-channel marketing with an understanding that those who do scan are more like to be affluent men.
ComScore’s study also revealed that the most popular source of a scanned QR code was a printed magazine or newspaper (50%); followed closely by product packaging (35.3%) and websites of PCs (27.4%). So until QR Code engagement in the U.S. increases from 6.2 % of the total mobile audience, your marketing planning should probably take into account a higher success rate with QR codes placed in magazine or print advertising targeted at young men.
But even more important than using that intelligence as a conversion edge, the most important factor in QR Code success is having something extremely valuable at the end of the QR scan for your customer to indulge in – a buy one get one free coupon, a invaluable piece of information that only a select few gain access. No longer will a link to your opt-in page work, or a link to your web page. You must have a plan to encourages the user to give up information so that you can continue to stay engaged.
More Data on who is Scanning QR Codes in Magazines
Four percent of magazine readers who saw ads with 2-D barcodes actually scanned something at least once, according to research conducted by GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research in 2011. The research showed that 15% of people they surveyed who noticed any magazine ad in the first half of the year took action by going to the advertiser’s site via their address bar. The research also revealed that:
- QR Codes got a better response with men: 6% of men who noticed ads with codes scanned at least one ad, while 4% of women did the same.
- Younger people were more likely to swipe the QR Codes than older people: 6% of readers between 18 to 34 years old who noted ads with the codes followed the code, compared with 3% of people age 35 and up.
Now for the fun stuff, which ad(s) outperformed the others? A Porsche ad in Men’s Journal, a Microsoft Office ad in Working Mother (see add below) and a bedding ad in Hemispheres (an airline magazine) made the top performing ad list by earning up to 17% QR Code scans off their print ads.
Perhaps the Microsoft Office ad pulled well because it targeted women with a “senior executive attitude” of running their home office like that of a big corporation. What’s your takeaway?
* QR Code® is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.