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To QR or Not to QR… How and Why?
By David Dutt
March 2013 - Technology has allowed companies to get closer to their customers more than ever in history and Quick Response codes are one way to make this happen. QR codes are slick and hip and there is little downside to sticking a QR code in your print collateral. 
Quick Response codes were introduced originally from Japan in 1994 as a way to track vehicles and industrial components and allowing for the storage of much more information. Other industries took interest and eventually, in 2010, a QR scanner app was created for Smartphones as a marketing tool. Today, the QR scanner apps are used to direct users to a web site via a URL that is decoded from the QR code.
Create Your Own Code
1.      Find Free QR Code Generators - Query a search engine for “QR generator”. is one of the popular ones we have found.
2.      Enter your URL, like, and a button on the web site will generate the code.
Google Analytics Tracking
One of the benefits of a QR code over traditional marketing methods is that you can electronically track a user, who clicks on the code. We use Google Analytics for this tracking for some of our customers… We recommend that you view this link, but here are the steps to get you started:
1.      Sign up with Google ( – After signup, add your web site as an account. Your web site will be assigned a unique code
2.      Add Scripting to your web page to setup Google Tracking. See sample below with unique Google Tracking code in yellow.
 var _gaq = _gaq || []; 
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']); 
 (function() { 
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; 
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + ''; 
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); 
3. Create a Campaign – Google Analytics will automatically classify your campaigns based on parameters that you add to the URL. No other configuration is required. You can use the URL builder from Google or manually add one of the five allowable parameters to your URL. These parameters provide labels for the graphs and other tools within Google Analytics, so be descriptive in how you name them. See sample below:
Click on the URL with your parameters and within 48 hours, you should start to see new entries within Google Analytics. 
4. View the Results – From the Standard Reports side bar menu, select Traffic Sources, Sources and Campaigns. 

Tips and Tricks

1.      Smaller URLs – While QR codes can store a lot of detail, QR code readers will recognize smaller length codes quicker and with less “fiddling” or zooming in/out by the phone user.  There are several shorteners available. is the Google version.

2.      Google Analytics Tracking Delays – Expect one to two days, before you see results within Google Analytics. 

3.      Enticement – Like any other marketing tool, you will be more successful by providing a powerful enticement to click on the QR code.  Do not expect the user to click on a QR code, just because it’s a cool code.  Most users will need something of interest or benefit.

4.      User Retention – Since Google Analytics is tracking the user, you do not need much here, except a reason for the user to stay or to come back.

QR Code Effectiveness

1.      QR Code Demographics – According to a July 2012 report by Scanlife (a global QR Scanner App developer), about fifty percent of United States QR Code scanner users are 25 to 44 year old males with half as many females using the technology. 

2.      Medium – While QR codes can be scanned from both electronic and print media, including billboards, users need to be close enough to fit the code into their scanner window and the QR code cannot be too small for the reader.  It is difficult to scan a code, while moving.  I have seen a QR code on the back of a bus, which was nearly impossible to scan while driving.

3.      QR Scanners – Users need to be aware that they can download QR scanner apps, but not all QR scanner apps are made equal.  Some will redirect you to the local browser on your phone, while others will try to keep you browsing within their app.  Users may have to be persistent in their search for a scanner they like.

The younger generation, especially males, think QR codes are cool.  If this fits your marketing plan and you can provide an enticement, then why not do it.  If you can get it to work for you, it is powerful way to track leads and conversions.  The cost is the printed space that QR codes occupy - DD.

Comments (3)
thanks - good advice and clear steps!
Posted By KC
02:30 AM, 04 Sep 2013
Thanks for providing the tips, especially the URL shortener for QR codes.
Posted By Marc
06:12 PM, 22 Apr 2013
Love it
Posted By Traci Aardsma
06:10 PM, 22 Apr 2013