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Over the last few years, QR codes have been consistently gaining popularity in terms of marketer and customer usage, with ClickZ reporting a 400% rise in code scanning between 2011 and 2012, and an average of 120 scans per minute and four million first-time scanners in 2012. Given these statistics, it is interesting to look into the demographics and usage patterns of QR codes in some more detail, to understand how the travel industry can further benefit from their implementation.

Who’s scanning QR codes?

With regard to national QR code usage, Pitney Bowes found that amongst USA, UK, France and Germany-based consumers surveyed, around 15% had previously scanned a code. The sample also reflected a much greater adoption of the codes in America as compared to Europe, with one fifth of respondents engaging in QR code scanning. In terms of the age bracket using the codes, 18 to 34 year olds were found to have a high level of usage in each country.

Where are they best placed?

As mentioned by iMedia, just because the placement options for QR codes is limitless, doesn’t mean they should be placed just anywhere.  Studies have identified patterns for the most effective locations for the codes to encourage that they are scanned; Pitney Bowes’ results finding that the highest rates of QR code interaction were found from magazines, posters and mail (15%, 13% and 13% respectively). The codes thus bridge the gap between offline and online media, taking users between the two and allowing marketers to directly track the success of their different media outlets.

Incorporating QR codes into strategy

With the information QR code usage tracking can provide, and an understanding of the demographics interacting with them, businesses can use the codes in implementing targeted marketing campaigns. They also tie in perfectly with the fast-rising use of the mobile web and mobile commerce on the go. When implementing QR codes into digital strategy however it is absolutely crucial to ensure that the corresponding links are to mobile-optimised content. A great example of the utilisation of this tool by a destination is Rio de Janeiro’s integration of the codes into their sidewalks; embedding links to tourist information and maps into mosaic tile QR codes around the city to aid visitors.

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