12 min to read

QR Codes: How can you use them for your digital marketing campaign?

Have you ever seen this type of square?

QR Codes are a standard mobile marketing tool businesses, and marketers use today, but why did they become popular?

According to Scanova Blog, the main reason is that global smartphone penetration has grown significantly in the late years and went from 59.01% in 2017 to 78.05% in 2020. Access to high-speed internet also augmented from 48.8% in 2014 to 62.5% in 2022, and mobile device ownership grew by 92.1%. You could work with us CodeDesign, the leading digital marketing agency.

A report from 2018 to 2020 on QR Code usage from Blue Bite shows us that:

  • Interactions with each code raised by 98%
  • There is a 94% surge in their interactions
  •  QR Code Reach grew by 96%

With all this valuable data, you may wonder how to use these codes for your digital campaign, and we'll give you all the answers. But first, we must clarify...

Source: Unsplash.

What is a QR Code, and how does it work?

A QR Code - abbreviation for Quick Response code - is a scannable barcode that stores data.

Depending on their design and functionality, these codes fall into two categories:

  • Static QR code: These cannot modify the data they store; any mistake you could make would require creating a new one. Regardless, its benefit is that it doesn't expire, so you have it forever once you finish it. They are an excellent option for storing confidential info like passwords, access codes, or IDs.
  • Dynamic QR code: These codes allow you to change the information whenever you want because the data isn't integrated into the code. Instead, this type will enable you to direct customers to a specific URL. Usually, restaurants tend to use dynamic codes to display their menus. But maybe, its top benefit is that it allows you to gather scanning metrics like the location, time, and device customers used to scam. 

Similar to barcodes, QR Codes store information of interest in the form of boxes and points. Once scanned with your smartphone, they show you information of interest. The latest system updates like IoS or Android allow users to scan with their cameras. However, if yours can't do it, try any of these apps:

Source: YouTube.

A quick story on QR Codes and why they are so popular in 2023.

In the '90s, working with barcodes was a laborious task as machines could only read 20 numbers at a time, and to convey what was inside the boxes, workers had to scan too many. It wasn't until Masahiro Hara, a Japanese engineer working with barcode reading machines, that he decided to solve this problem by creating a two-dimensional box that could hold more information. Interestingly, its first use was to provide cars with a tracking system.

So, when did we get to use them in marketing?

Well, the Quick Response codes weren't relevant until the arrival of smartphones; however, in early 2011, most users had to download applications to be able to scan them, so their moment to shine had not yet come. In 2017 Apple included the scanning function within its camera, and although marketers acted quickly to respond to this new modality, the flame went out again.

So how did they become relevant? Well, everything has to do with the arrival of COVID-19.

When contact between people was forbidden, QR codes offered many businesses an effective way to communicate touchless. Food sectors and even the hotel industry implemented these codes to show users all their options; this modality prevails today. Read this guide on how to improve website traffic and get relevant customers.

In pandemic times, QR codes increased from 9 million in 2018 to 11 million by 2020, according to information from Statista.

In the same way, as the industries above, marketers saw a golden opportunity with these codes since they are a communication channel that allows us to manage both online and offline.

Today many companies are still using QR Codes, and Millenials have adopted them as an excellent choice for consumption.

We will mention here some of the best uses for these codes within digital marketing!

Best uses of QR Codes in Digital Marketing

Redirect customers to your landing page or Social media pages

It's valuable for an excellent start to the customer journey if you can shorten the process to access your landing page. 

With the help of a QR code, new users can access a single scam, which is excellent for a fast-consuming society like ours. Ensure that your URL code is unique and matches it to measure it correctly. Read how meme marketing is used to grasp the audience's attention.

And in case you want them to go to your social media pages, these codes can help you too. So, if any customer loves your product, you can use a Facebook QR code on its packaging for them to follow your brand and never miss an update.

Source: Pixabay.

Use Qr Codes for generating leads.

If your email marketing strategies haven't worked well within your website, using a QR code to create a list is an excellent option. 

Sometimes customers can be unsure about subscribing to your newsletter or email list. It would be best to offer a particular "reward" that makes users want to scan, a slight discount, a freestyle guide, or a free trial to convince them finally. With an attractive call to action like "Scan and win a free trial," it will be perfect to increase your number of leads!

Create digital business cards to upgrade networking.

If you want to keep your company afloat, business commitments like investments, mergers and collaborations are crucial. To your advantage, you can use QR codes on business cards to create new ways of business delivery.

In business, looks are a great part, and rather than delivering an outdated or a newbie PowerPoint presentation, you can create instead an elegant business card that let your customers know you are a top-quality business. These digital business cards can help you create strong alliances and exchange corporate ideas with them.

Besides, with QR codes, you can save more space and not waste your receiver's time reading small print words on the card.

This is a comfortable and interactive way to promote yourself and your company.

Drive customers to your business location.

If you want to drive more traffic to your business - literally - an excellent idea is to offer a scannable map within your website. Don't let them think about things too much or waste time guessing your location. When scanned, add a QR Code that leads directly to the GPS location through Google Maps.

Source: YouTube.

Get users to download your app.

With QR codes, your brand can install its app on your audience's smartphones faster and easier than through the App Store. In their time, platforms like Instagram or games like Angry birds applied these strategies to increase their subscribers. When you have an app for your business, you receive countless opportunities to grow because you can evaluate consumers' patterns and offer personalized products. 

Include QR Codes on Billboards or banners.

A Beaconstact article informs us that 71% of users find a digital billboard more attractive than an ad. The results will benefit us if we combine this with a QR code encouraging them to call the business or visit our location.

However, we must point out that these QR codes can be even more successful on an outdoor billboard. Even though almost everything is digital today, street ads affect any audience. 

An excellent example of this was X Collective's campaign with SQKII in Singapore, where the brand hosted an SG$ 100,000 treasure hunt. The campaign encouraged consumers to get the clues by scanning the QR codes left on billboards around the city to get the money's location, which was done through the X Collective app. According to Jeslyn Tan, senior general manager of media and digital business of the company:

"Complementing their out-of-home advertising buy with our app allows them to engage the everyday Singaporean through online-offline integration and positions XCO to be at the forefront of delivering campaigns with maximum impact."

If you want information and want to learn  about this, read "Digital Space in Singapore: Everything you need to know in 2022."

Utilize them to track sales and potential market locations.

When you use these codes in your marketing products or for searching potential marketing locations, you can lessen the burden of conducting in-person surveys. With these digital codes, you can track and monitor your product sales. For example, a dynamic QR code can plot your subsequent marketing strategy without experimenting or spending a lot of resources on it, which means that it can help you save money and materials using a trusted QR code generator, which you can usually find online.

Another great use of QR Codes is to implement them to submit any sales report to your office and let these do the work for you.

Source: YouTube.

Use them to run Multilingual Campaigns.

If you want to reach out to customers from different demographics or with other languages, you can use multilingual QR codes to make their experience more pleasant.

Any digital media source from your product ads, web pages, e-books or digital billboards can have a multilingual QR Code. When scamming, customers can check out the complete information in their preferred language. To set up this, you have to choose a multilingual QR code and direct it to all the wording of your target audience. Once a user scam, they will go to a landing page based on their smartphone's language preference.

Add them to your products to educate about your business.

Including codes in your products can help you expand the product experience and even educate your customers more about your brand.

For example: suppose you sell technological products; instead of just offering a manual with too many words, you can submit a video in code that takes your buyers to a product page where they'll find all the instructions.

These QR codes can help cross-sell by recommending additional products to the ones they already have, maximizing their product experience. If they bought an HDTV, offer a deal on home theatre sound with a code and keep them tied to your brand experience.

Use QR code coupons in your E-commerce.

The use of QR codes has become quite popular within e-commerce platforms. Among its most common services are to show more detailed information about your products, but there are more ingenious ways to use them.

Frequent customers have earned a special place within our businesses, and rewarding them for their loyalty is an excellent strategy for continuing to prefer us over the competition. This way, you can offer them discount coupons or any special offer for any new product you want to promote, and they will be grateful for it.

Source: YouTube.

It helps you reduce the time of your transactions. 

Do you remember when the pizza deliveries left you the order utterly free if it arrived after thirty minutes? This is a clear business lesson that shows us that the duration of our transactions is essential, and fortunately, these codes can help you reduce it. 

By implementing them, you will be able to lower the transaction time of your procedures, and in this way, you will be able to serve many more clients. Immediate customer attention can give you many advantages over those competitors who are not using it.

Even today, we see how cashless payments are one of the most comfortable ways for customers to pay.

It can be eco-friendly and help you save money.

This is a use that at the same time is a great benefit for an environmentally friendly future that all businesses should aim for.

And it is that an intelligent mind knows how to get multiple uses out of the new resources, and fortunately, QR Codes can help us to save both our natural and economic resources.

Until not long ago, we needed to carry business documents on paper, but just by saving them in a QR Code, we hold the use of these. Papers not only harm trees but also, in the long run, buying paper reams is often quite expensive, and when you add to that having to spend on printers and their ink, the costs add up a lot.

So use your resources well, and you will see how it helps you and your environment.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is the possibility of combining the real world with the digital one through videos, images, and even games. With the announcements of what the Metaverse will be and further advances, it is good to start updating ourselves within these developments.

For good luck, QR Codes can help us to access this reality more quickly; in fact, many companies already use them to their advantage.

Scanova Blog says the Augmented Reality market will be approximately worth USD 75 billion by 2023. The Snap Consumer AR Global Report 2021 reports that by 2025, 75% of the global population will be frequent users of AR. The same report informs customer conversion rates are augmented by 94% thanks to this immersive technology.

So, thanks to its technology and capabilities of running these programs more effectively, QR Codes will increase their use in the future.

Now that we discussed its best uses, let's watch some of the best campaigns using QR Codes.

Source: YouTube.

Tips for creating your QR Codes.

Now that we know some benefits and how to use this encrypted technology, we must know what factors to consider when creating yours. So pay close attention.

Make your QR Codes visually appealing.

We like things that look good, and it is for everything: people, art, food and, of course, QR Codes.

While this last item may be off your radar for good-looking things, the reality is that if yours are more appealing to the eyes, this can increase your scannability by 30%, according to a QR Code Tiger article.

f you do not have good notions of design, the ideal would be to hire a graphic designer who knows how to tell you which colors would go best with your brand and which design looks most striking without overloading. In design, we must remember that sometimes less is more and that the most important thing is that the message is evident beyond the colours, their mixtures and the designs.

Add your logo and call to action (CTA)

Whether your goal is brand awareness or not, your logo must be on the design, as it makes your QR Code look more professional, and people will trust more on it.

After this, in the previous recommendation, we talked about the message of your QR Code, and of course, this goal comes in hand with your call to action. The idea is to write a quick persuasive message that leads your customers into what action they have to take if they want to find out more about the offer or know more about your company's offer.

QR Codes Design.

Choose the correct placement.

When you make your QR Code campaign, ensure your poster placement is in the right place to get more scans.

The placement is so essential that many QR Code design experts tip users to put them in an area where customers can see it better.

Most professionals in this area suggest that for a better scanning experience, you should place these digital codes at eye level. Another tip from professionals is to put them on flat surfaces as it fastens the scanning duration while avoiding rescanning attempts.

Consider the proper sizing.

For a better scanning experience, experts recommend that your QR codes be 2 cm x 2cm (0.8 in x 0.8) for a print paper like posters, brochures, and flyers. 

Best QR Code marketing campaigns

Amazon Go 

Can you imagine going to the market and doing your groceries without waiting in long lines? You walk in, grab what you want, and go!

No, this isn't stealing. It is one of the most efficient ways to go to a supermarket. Thanks to the technology of the Qr Code, Jeff Bezos's company has managed to use these to give a smooth experience. Once you pick up all your food, the application will examine the items you choose, and when you leave the store, it will pay instantly from your associated card. Take a look at this wonder!

Source: YouTube.

Burger King VMA Whooper

In times of COVID, pop culture had to reinvent itself to stay relevant, and Burger King, along with rapper Lil Yachty managed to do it most authentically.

Due to biosecurity measures, the MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards) had to be held without an audience. However, Burger King offered an unforgettable campaign to keep viewers updated. Through small advertising spots, QR Codes of the brand would appear, and if you managed to scan them at the time, you had a chance to win a Whooper with free delivery or a giveaway with tickets for the 2021 VMAs.

Let's take a look at this campaign!

Source: YouTube.

Shanghai's Drone Show for the anniversary of the game "Princess Connect! Re: Dive"

This is perhaps the most impressive campaign of all, and it's not so much about the amount of revenue it achieved but about the feat they did!

On the anniversary of "Princess Connect! Re: Dive", a mobile game, the Bilibili company used 1,500 drones to show a futuristic and surreal show. The drones began to form images of the characters, but the most impressive came at the end. At one point, the 1,500 drones started a giant QR Code that could be scanned, and once done, viewers would go to the page to download the game.

A whole new level of marketing!

Source: YouTube.

Final Thoughts

Comfort and speed are factors that all users seek, and with the help of QR Codes, you can have these two in a simple way and without the need to spend so much money.

QR Codes are becoming more popular worldwide, so you should not be left behind in this trend and should start applying them to your business. If you need advice from experts in digital marketing, contact us at Codedesign, and let's renew your entire strategy to increase your sales and take your brand to a new level.

See you in the following article!


1. Do QR Codes work on digital ads?

QR Codes work perfectly with your mobile, social media, website or email ad.

2. Do QR Codes help with SEO?

QR Codes have a massive arsenal of benefits for your SEO strategy. Some of them are:

  • Providing direct access to your website, campaign, information or video you want to promote.
  • Redirect mobile visitors to your website.
  • It can set you apart from competitors that don't use them.
  • They are inexpensive
  • A significant age group is using it, from people 22 to 50.

3. Will QR codes expire?

No, QR codes don't expire, and this is because they have a quick link that makes them work. As long as your quick link is active and you don't delete it, your QR Code will be still functional.

4. How much information can QR Codes hold?

You can store in QR codes everything from website URLs, phone numbers and even up to 4,000 characters of text. You can also use them to:

  • Download an app
  • Verify login details
  • Authenticate online accounts

5. How can you protect a QR Code?

If you want to protect your QR Code from duplication, you can restrict users from accessing its content or website by simply enabling the password feature in your QR code. Then, if you want to disable this feature, you can release it when the content is ready for the public.


About Bruno Gavino

Bruno Gavino is the CEO and partner of Codedesign, a digital marketing agency with a strong international presence. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, with offices in Boston, Singapore, and Manchester (UK) Codedesign has been recognized as one of the top interactive agencies and eCommerce agencies. Awarded Top B2B Company in Europe and Top B2C company in retail, Codedesign aims to foster personal relationships with clients and create a positive work environment for its team.  

He emphasizes the need for digital agencies to focus on data optimization and performance to meet the increasingly results-driven demands of clients. His experience in digital marketing, combined with a unique background that includes engineering and data, contributes to his effective and multifaceted leadership style.

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About Codedesign

Codedesign is a digital marketing agency with a strong multicultural and international presence, offering expert services in digital marketing. Our digital agency in Lisbon, Boston, and Manchester enables us to provide market-ready strategies that suit a wide range of clients across the globe (both B2B and B2C). We specialize in creating impactful online experiences, focusing on making your digital presence strong and efficient. Our approach is straightforward and effective, ensuring that every client receives a personalized service that truly meets their needs.

Our digital agency is committed to using the latest data and technology to help your business stand out. Whether you're looking to increase your online visibility, connect better with your audience, get more leads, or grow your online sales. For more information, read our Digital Strategy Blog or to start your journey with us, please feel free to contact us.

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