Study: QR Codes Not Too Cool on Campus

Scanning QR Code Amy Goodman Art

QR codes, epic fail?

Not good news for the matrix barcode on campus. In a survey of more than 500 U.S. college students across the U.S.,  marketing agency Archrival came to a shockingly bad conclusion about usage of the technology among its most likely users: QR codes are pretty unpopular.

While more than 80 percent of those polled said they had a smartphone, only 21.5 percent reported successfully scanning a sample QR code. The remaining respondents either had no idea that an app was needed to do the scan, didn’t want to download such apps, complained that it took too long, or gave up after an unsuccessful scan.

Further, three out of four respondents said that it was unlikely or very unlikely for them to scan a QR code when they see one. Ouch!

And why should they want to? What do they get for pulling the phone out of their pocket, firing up the barcode-scanning app, carefully aligning the camera to the code, and patiently waiting for the process to be done?

Even more advertisements! A Flash site that their phone won’t support anyway! A link to your company’s homepage with no relevant content but the latest press release? Yeah, um, thanks.

There’s a reason why AdBlock plugins for Web browsers are so popular. People hate advertisements, especially lousy ones. And it’s silly to assume they will scan your little QR code to get more of your advertisements.

I suspect codes with an accompanying line that says “Scan for free pancakes” will perform much better than the curious ones sitting at the corner of a poster all alone. The latter can be intimidating.

QR Code Infographic by Archrival

Photo: Scott Blake