Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mobile Marketing: QR and Snap Tag

My new favorite online marketing resource is iMedia Connection. It comes to my inbox with a list of very relevant articles and the community has a lot of active discussions. It's almost as good as chatting with the #UsGuys on Twitter.

Yesterday, I read Sean X Cumming's piece: Why the QR code is failing.

An excerpt:
In my informal "on the street" survey of 300 people last month, I held up a sign with a QR code on it and the phrase: "Free gift if you can tell me what this is."I was not asking them to decipher it, just tell me what it actually was. Here are the results:
  • 11 percent correctly answered QR code or quick response code
  • 29 percent responded with "Some barcode thingy"
  • Seven percent guessed some variant of "Those things you stare at that get 3D when you cross your eyes. What picture is it? I can't seem to get it"
  • The remaining 53 percent tried everything from a secret military code, Korean (uh really?), to an aerial street map of San Francisco
My survey was conducted in San Francisco, the veritable Mecca of the planet for tech, so it only goes downhill from here.

A lot of this echoed my own dislike of QR codes: they're ugly. They're not intuitive. They break up good visual design. They DO look like secret codes, not something designed to bring you helpful information.

So today, iMedia delivered this piece by Jeff Hayzlett: TrendWatch: Why SnapTags are replacing QR codes.

SnapTags are 2-D barcodes that include a brand's logo (or a Facebook logo) in a notched circle design. Contrasted with the familiar QR code, the result seems minimalist and polished. But it's not just a new design. The interactivity and analytics are updated, as well.

Here's a quick visual for you:


QR code

Which one of these images makes you want to engage with it?

There's still the general point that neither is effective unless the person looking at it has a smart phone, and an application to scan the code, and knows what the expected outcome will be. However, I'm glad someone has come up with a solution to the visual problem posed by QR codes.

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