Easy Way to Track QR Code Performance

I get a lot of questions about whether or not anyone is actually scanning a QR codes, and if they are a worthwhile piece of the marketing puzzle. So are people scanning them?

Yes and… No.

Like so much else in life, it is about how they are being used, where they are placed, what the promise is for the link, and who is seeing the pitch. In other words it depends. Truthfully your situation is unique from mine, and it would be foolish for me to tell you I know the best use of QR Codes for you. What I do know is that they do work in certain circumstances and can be an invaluable way to transfer a printed media’s audience into a digital audience. What you need to do to know if your QR Codes are working is monitor them, and test various uses for them. I suggest you use google’s url shortener to create your QR code images, it is fast and easy and it also has a very easy to use dashboard which will track the clicks for your QR Codes. Here is a screenshot of the dashboard:

google qr tool

From here you can track the ways you use them, and what kind of traffic you get with them. Above the first two were never used outside fo teaching my staff what the codes looked like and how to explain them to guests. The third was used in a print ad, and it got 33 people to scan it to presumably make a reservation. Not bad actually. The fourth one was used on our menu to highlight a blog post about the blue cheese stuffed olives in our Dirty Blue Martini at Evenfall. That one worked well too…

What defines Successful Implementation?

The most clicks do not mean the most success. In fact it is clear that the 33 clicks on the reservations were a larger success that the 78 on the blog post. Why? Well for one, the 33 were people who were not already at the restaurant, they scanned it to make a reservation, and that feedback can help gauge the effectiveness and worth of a print ad campaign. The 78 clicks were from people who already had a menu in their hand, which means they were already going to buy something most likely. Still its great to have a chance to explain a menu item in my words directly to a customer who is interested in it. Giving them the chance to read and see that we stuff our own olives, with the highest quality blue cheese froma local farm. So they were both a success, and the number of clicks is not the biggest factor in that. If I had to choose I would take the 33 over the 78.

How do you use QR codes and track them?

  1. Choose the web address you would like to link to with the QR code.
  2. Navigate to http://goo.gl
  3. Type or Paste the long URL into the shorten box as seen above.
  4. Press CNTRL-C to copy the code that is generated.
  5. Paste it into the address box of your browser and put a .qr at the end of it.
  6. This will generate a qr code image for you. Save it and use where you like.
  7. Visit http://goo.gl to see the hit count of each of the links that you create.

I just made this one:
qr example

Now get creative, and test them out.

All you have to do is create individual links for each different way you want to use the Qr codes, and then give them a little time to get seen. Once you have done that you can go back to the dashboard and see which ones worked, and which ones didn’t.

Let me know if you think this was helpful or how I could make it a better explanation in the comments.

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9 responses to “Easy Way to Track QR Code Performance”

  1. Tony Mariani Avatar
    Tony Mariani

    I find that QR codes are being used because its the new “black”.  It would be fair to say that most I have clicked take me to the company’s website.   What a wasted opportunity.  Have a call to action with a code. That is your best chance to convert a new customer.

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      There is certainly a good amount of use that is like shooting in the
      dark, we agree on that.

  2. Rachael Geiger Avatar

    Is there a good way to use QR codes on Newsprint? we keep finding that they are less effective b/c of the lack of defined black/white (the grey of the paper gives many code readers an issue).

    We use QR for something totally different. As an Economic Development organization we’re using it to market our housing market to people relocating from the Coasts (mostly West Coast) to the OKC metro area. We set up a landing page specifically for the QR code, that you can only reach with the code, in order to track our usage. Our ad talks about housing/relocation to our community and the landing page – as promised – has community information, an opportunity to sign up for a weekly blog about the area, links to homebuilders, school info etc. Though our numbers started out astronomically high, (72 unique visits in a week, with an average time on landing page of 4:33) we believe it was the newness of the QR code (in the Midwest) that captured peoples attention (our campaign runs in OKC metro as well as in Long Beach area). They were scanning to scan. But as we’ve continued to run the ads, we’ve noticed that though we have gotten fewer unique visits per month (12) the time they are spending on the landing page has grown to an outstanding 10:32 minutes!! I’m wondering, and maybe this is more Midwest specific, if they will gain effectiveness as people realize “the point” and begin to scan things that interest them, instead of anything they can scan b/c they have this new cool app. 

    Additionally, I suppose I would ask, if you’re advertising “community information” then connect them with your company website, or a specific landing page within, do you still think that’s a wasted opportunity? If so, what suggestions do you have for something more interactive? 

    Also, might you address “What NOT to do?” Have you seen common misuse of the QR codes? (ie: We had local realtors generating them, then adding them to their realtor webpage..) I’ll be speaking to a group of entrepreneurs in a few weeks about QR code usage, and though we see a lot more than we used to in the Midwest, those are still mostly National companies, with large pr departments, in other words, we aren’t seeing a lot of local misuse simply because locals have not yet embraced the idea fully – I’d like to be able to head some of those off at the pass. Would you have an issue with my referencing your site as an excellent learning tool?

    Thanks for your help, I really enjoy your blog..  

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      Thanks for reading and the comment/questions. As far as newsprint and QR codes, it may be the actual paper that is the issue because my local paper uses them quite effectively. More likely the problem may just be the size of the QR code you are printing, I would try a slightly larger one and test that out.

      I think having your QR point to a specific landing page that is relative to the content that is printed around it is the best use. A general website page is kind of a waste of the opportunity. What is always best is to imagine what is motivating the reader to scan and then give them that.

      Don’t Do?

      Don’t put QR codes them everywhere, consider it a special case use.
      Don’t put QR codes on websites, they are for offline to online links.
      Don’t just use QR codes with no explanation along with them during your initial implementations.
      Don’t Expect them to revolutionize, expect them to be an aid in what you already do.

      Please feel free to refer to my blog, it is here to help.

  3. Michael Maine Avatar

    Great stuff. QR codes can be very effective when used—well—effectively. There are several poor implementations of them right now because it’s the “in” thing to do. However, as with any other marketing tool, it’s just that—a tool. Their use should be carefully planned as part of an overall strategy.

    We should be asking questions such as:

    • How is this going to help my target communities better communicate with me?
    • How is this going to help me better communicate with my target communities?
    • How does this fit into the overall strategy?
    • How is this going to be more effective than any other tool I have at my disposal?
    • How will I be able to measure it’s effectiveness.

    I don’t think QR codes are necessarily “offline → online”. I think they are more “source → mobile.” Almost all QR codes are being scanned with a mobile device, so I do believe  they can be used on the web as long as that use makes sense. For example, I have my contact information as a downloadable vCard and as a QR code on my website. That way, if someone is using a public computer or manages their contacts completely online (e.g., Google Contacts, Yahoo, MobileMe), they can scan my vCard into their mobile device and automatically sync it with their contact services.

  4. Oscar Bravo Avatar

    I’m using http://getsharesquare.com/ to generate and track
    QR codes.
    It allows you create a simple mobile landing page where your visitors can take different
    actions. (Pictures, Video, Bio, Share, Like, etc)
    First 5 codes are free.