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The Unlikely Rise of the QR Code in 2021

May 18, 2021

qr code glass ball reflection

In the span of one year, COVID-19 reshaped American business. Some products and services, once in high demand, have become obsolete, such as public touch screens, reusable menus, in-person voting, and the ubiquitous birthday candle. And then, there are the 2020 success stories. Many companies gained momentum and saw their services sky-rocket in popularity; think video conferencing programs, home fitness equipment, and jigsaw puzzles.

But no pandemic success story is quite as compelling or unexpected as the unlikely rise of the QR Code.
After sinking into obscurity, the QR Code has had a resurgence in popularity and is rapidly becoming a go-to for marketing services and businesses alike. In fact, in 2020 almost 11 million US households used a QR code, an increase of more than one million uses up from 2018 according to a recent survey by Statista.

qr code mobile phone scanner

Why QR Codes are Having a Resurgence in 2021

QR (Quick Response) Codes have been around since 1994 but their popularity declined, becoming almost obsolete…until now. QR Codes found a new life in 2020 when the pandemic revived the need for touch-free solutions.

How a QR Code Works

A QR Code is a matrix barcode that is targeted toward smartphone users, which is pretty much everyone these days. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code will take you directly to a specific webpage, menu, payment screen, app, or offer specific information unique to the code.

The Popularity of QR Codes in 2021

There are several reasons QR Codes are regaining popularity, but perhaps the most obvious reason is that they are contactless, touchless, and easy-to-use; All must-have attributes in a post-pandemic world. Additionally, QR Codes are becoming more popular because QR readers are now native to smartphone cameras, so users no longer need to download a separate app to scan a code.

These days, consumers are all about ease and frictionless experiences. One of the major User Experience (UX) benefits of the QR Code is that users can whip out their mobile phone and seamlessly scan one without the headache of a download. Because of this, QR Codes have become an intrinsic way of conducting business and marketing during and post-pandemic.

What QR Codes are Being Used For in 2021

Now, QR Codes are finally having their day in the limelight as more marketers and businesses utilize them in their services. Here are some innovative ways that QR Codes have been utilized in 2021:

  • Directing traffic to resumes or LinkedIn profiles
  • Business cards and brochures to direct customers to a website
  • Taking people to a page with more detailed information that wouldn’t easily fit in a print ad
  • Providing a coupon or discount for a product or services
  • Sharing a digital menu for a restaurant or catering companya

How You Can Use QR Codes for Marketing

Now that QR Codes are back on the scene, they’re likely here to stay. Contactless and easy-to-use, we expect to see them on the forefront of marketing techniques for years to come. There are plenty of ways you can bring QR Codes into your marketing strategy to make the most of the resurgence. Here are 5 innovative ways to use QR Codes for marketing:

  1. Link to your portfolio or work.

Show off your chops and attract new opportunities by using a QR code on a business card or in printed media. At Noble Studios, we recently began using QR Codes in printed responses to RFPs so that we could link to multimedia such as video. This way our clients can see the full breadth of our digital marketing services easily through their phones.

  1. Drive traffic to your website

This is perhaps the most popular use of QR Codes – driving traffic from print media to the brand’s website. Or any other relevant content for that matter. Quick and easy, interested customers have the option of visiting your website if they are intrigued by your marketing message.

  1. Increase your social media following

This is another commonly used QR Code marketing technique – acquiring a social media following from print media. To make the most of this strategy, simply add a QR Code that leads your potential customers to your social media pages. That way they have an option to immediately Like your Facebook page or Follow you on Instagram and Twitter.

  1. Distribute coupons on print advertisements

Stimulate more conversions by using QR Codes to activate a discount or to act as a coupon to your website. If a target customer lands on a print ad that has a QR Code leading directly to your website, the person is much more likely to pull the trigger.

This is a great way to reach millennial and Gen X consumers. In fact, a recent survey by Socratic Technologies found that 24% of Millenials and 18% of Gen Xers prefer to scan a QR Code to redeem an offer.

  1. Create a Personally Relevant Experience

Now that social distancing is the norm, QR Codes can be used to offer an immersive experience without having to be in person. Virtual tours, for example, have become a popular way of using QR Codes to connect users with a place, historic site, or work of art.

Consider using QR Codes as an innovative way to create a personally relevant experience for your consumer. For instance, users could tour your business location from the comfort of their homes, or if you work in real estate, you could implement a QR code as a direct means of routing traffic to a virtual online tour of a property. The opportunities are endless.

With these techniques, you can utilize QR Codes and capitalize on the growing trend. To learn how Noble Studios can help you gain momentum in your marketing goals, reach out! We are a Creative Digital Performance Agency that can take your marketing strategy to the next level (QR Codes included).

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