Using QR codes for data collection is key in 2023

Using QR codes for data collection is key in 2023

QR codes, once considered a dying fad, have experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years. Originally invented in 1994 to streamline automotive production, QR codes are now being embraced by brands and marketers as a powerful tool for data collection and consumer engagement. With their ability to store large amounts of information and seamless integration with smartphones, QR codes are revolutionizing the way businesses interact with their customers. In this article, we will explore the various applications and advantages of QR codes, as well as the potential challenges and future possibilities they hold.

What Are QR Codes?

A QR code, short for “quick response” code, is a type of barcode that can be scanned by machines such as scanners, cell phones, or iPads. It consists of a square grid of pixels that store information, such as website links, social media profiles, menus, and more. When a QR code is scanned, the unique pixel pattern is analyzed and translated into digital information.

The Benefits of QR Codes

QR codes offer numerous benefits across various industries, making them an attractive option for businesses. Let’s explore some of their key advantages:


QR codes provide a cost-effective solution for industries such as the restaurant industry. By using QR codes, restaurants can easily update their digital menus without the need for printing new ones. Additionally, some QR code menus allow customers to order and pay directly through the website, streamlining the dining experience and improving table turnover.

Tracking Campaign Performance

One of the significant advantages of QR codes is the ability to track their performance. By using QR code platforms compatible with Google Analytics, businesses can gather valuable data on user behavior and demographics. This data can be used to analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

Data Storage

Unlike traditional barcodes, QR codes can store a vast amount of data. While traditional barcodes can only store around 20 digits, a QR code can accommodate approximately 7,000 characters. This flexibility allows QR codes to be used for various purposes, ranging from simple text to hyperlinks and videos.

The Disadvantages of QR Codes

While QR codes offer many advantages, they also come with some drawbacks that businesses should be aware of:

Security Risks

Although QR codes themselves are not inherently dangerous, the information or link attached to a QR code can pose security risks. Hackers can create QR codes that direct users to malicious websites designed to steal passwords or track users’ devices. Users may not always know where a QR code will take them, making it difficult to assess potential risks.

Functional Inefficiencies

Despite the growing popularity of QR codes, some people may still find them unfamiliar or challenging to use. Additionally, the effectiveness of QR codes depends on the availability of Wi-Fi or cellular data. Without an internet connection, QR codes lose their functionality, which may limit their use in certain locations with limited connectivity.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns have been raised regarding the information collected from users through QR codes. As QR codes typically open an internet browser on mobile devices, users may encounter third-party cookies or data collection, which they may not want. Businesses must ensure transparency and user consent when collecting data through QR codes.

How Are Marketers Using QR Codes?

Marketers are increasingly leveraging QR codes to build direct connections with customers, collect first-party data, and enhance traditional advertising channels. While QR codes are currently used primarily for driving website traffic, there is growing anticipation for more creative applications in marketing strategies.

Alex Wan, CEO of Periphery Digital, a digital marketing agency, believes that QR code usage is still relatively basic in North America compared to China. As adoption increases, marketers are exploring innovative ways to utilize QR codes.

QR Code Uses Today

The applications of QR codes have expanded beyond their initial uses. Let’s explore some of the diverse ways QR codes are currently being utilized:

Customized Landing Pages

Dynamic QR codes are gaining popularity as marketers seek to personalize their campaigns. By using the same physical QR code, businesses can direct users to different campaigns based on variables like location, time of day, or day of the week. For example, a restaurant could have a QR code menu that displays breakfast options in the morning, lunch options in the afternoon, and happy hour specials in the evening. QR codes can also direct users to geographically tailored landing pages, providing a personalized experience.

Payment Platforms

QR codes are widely used in payment platforms such as Venmo and CashApp. Scanning a vendor’s personal payment QR code eliminates the need to manually enter payment information. The QR code payment industry was valued at approximately $8 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach around $35 billion by 2030.

Calls-to-Action on Physical Items

As QR code usage grows, their appearance on physical items is evolving. QR codes can be integrated into marketing assets in eye-catching and visually appealing ways. For example, QR codes designed like Disney character faces in Japan subway stations or QR codes displayed in retail store windows with clear indications like “SALE” can attract users’ attention and encourage scanning.

Integration With Search and Social Ads

While QR codes cannot identify individuals on initial scans, they can be used to track specific devices used in specific locations. This data can be integrated into Google and Facebook ads, allowing businesses to target users who have scanned QR codes with relevant advertisements. This integration enables the creation of digital ads based on users’ physical activities in the real world.

Providing Consumers with More Information on Products

QR codes are being used as digital extensions of physical objects, enhancing the consumer experience. Museums have used QR codes for years to provide additional information about artworks. In the e-commerce space, brands are exploring the use of QR codes to offer extra details about products. For example, a clothing brand could attach QR codes to clothing tags, allowing customers to scan them for information on sourcing and authenticity.

The Future of QR Codes

As businesses continue to experiment with QR codes, their potential for innovation and growth is vast. The education phase is still ongoing, with brands figuring out how to best utilize QR codes to enhance customer experiences and improve marketing strategies. With advancements in technology and creative thinking, QR codes have the potential to become even more consumer-friendly and versatile.

In conclusion, QR codes have come a long way since their inception in the automotive industry. They have evolved into powerful tools for data collection, marketing, and enhancing customer experiences. While QR codes offer numerous benefits, businesses must remain mindful of potential security risks and privacy concerns. As marketers continue to explore innovative uses for QR codes, their future looks promising, and they are likely to play a significant role in revolutionizing data collection and consumer engagement in 2023 and beyond.

MINIMA’s team loves QR codes and believes they are the future of outdoor link advertising. With their ability to seamlessly connect physical and digital experiences, QR codes hold immense potential for brands to engage with their target audience in unique and exciting ways. Embrace the power of QR codes and unlock a world of possibilities for your business.