How Not to Use a QR Code

Posted January 26, 2012 - 10:39 am. By Ryan Feyer. comments

QR codes are great. It’s like putting hyperlinks in real life. There are so many great and creative uses for QR codes and they can be, at times, quite brilliant.

However, there are plenty of uses for QR codes that don’t make sense. And we’ve seen some pretty crazy uses. Here are a few ways NOT to use a QR code.

1. On a billboard

Seriously? People are driving 70 miles per hour and you want them to whip out their phone, open their favorite QR reading app, line up the code on their camera and visit a website? Please don’t encourage this behavior. Enough said.

2. In a 30-second commercial

Especially if you just show it in the last few seconds. It takes time to open a QR reading app and line up the code with your camera. Sometimes longer than 30 seconds. So don’t assume people are standing 6 inches from their TV with a QR app open waiting to snap a picture of your code.

3. In a preview at the movie theatre

Using your phone in a movie theatre is generally frowned upon. Not only are people unlikely to research your brand or product during the previews before a movie, it may also annoy others in the theatre if their neighbor starts filing their taxes during the movie using an H&R Block app because they saw a QR code during the previews.

4. In an e-mail

Or anything digital for that matter. If they’re already on a computer or smart phone, there’s no reason to add a layer of complexity by using a QR code. Just put in a link. It’s a lot easier to click a link than to get your smart phone out and take a picture of your computer screen. It’s even harder to take a picture of your smart phone screen with your smart phone (it involves 3-4 mirrors, a dual-screen multi-tasking smart phone, and is pretty much impossible).

5. When you don’t have a mobile-friendly website

Don’t encourage people to visit your website using their smart phone if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Talk about a bounce rate!

6. When you don’t use a landing page

If I scan a QR code that says “learn more about our hamburgers” I expect to go to a web page that is specifically about your hamburgers, not your companies home page. You can fit quite a lot of characters in a QR code (sometimes up to 4000!), so don’t be afraid of using a long URL.

7. In a radio ad spot

Just kidding. But seriously

8. In an advertisement posted in a restroom

Not only does it promote bad hygiene but it also raises some privacy issues when you ask someone to take out their cell phone and take a picture inside a restroom. Stay away from this if at all possible.

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