Barcodes to be read by mobile devices are popping-up everywhere – theme parks, “For Sale” signs on houses, DVDs, cereal boxes, and pretty much every other flat (or slightly curved) surface! Although, there is not a standard 2D barcode platform dominating the mobile tagging market, two types have gained recognition in the consumer market place: Microsoft Tags (made of triangles) and Quick Response (QR) Codes (made of squares). Have you seen a version of either of these two types of mobile barcodes?
Microsoft Tags have been used by companies around the world on their products and in their marketing campaigns. A few examples of companies using Microsoft Tags are Conde Nast Traveler, Dominos, Dr. Pepper, Ford, Fox Entertainment (for the movie Avatar), General Mills, Kraft, Porsche, Whole Foods and many more. QR Codes have been used by a variety of companies as well. For example, the QR Code maker ScanLife has worked with Target, Gap, UPS, Verizon, and Heineken.
Additional styles of codes that can be scanned include, but are not limited to, Universal Product Codes (used primarily in stores to track products), DataMatrix, EZcode, JagTag, SnapTag, Cool-Data-Matrix, Aztec, UPCODE, Trillcode, Quickmark, Shotcode (shaped like a bullseye), mCode, and Beetagg (made up of hexagons). Each of these barcodes has their own pros and cons. Readers (barcode scanners) are able to read some codes but not others. Microsoft Tags must be read by Microsoft Tag Reader. Some codes are free and some have an extra fee associated with customization or analytics.
Now that you are familiar with the variations in barcodes, you are probably curious as to what kind of information a barcode can share with those who scan it. Scanned barcodes can respond with various types information. Microsoft Tags can show a website, plain text, contact information, or result in a dialed number. ScanLife’s barcodes can respond with those options or additional responses such as sending a calendar entry, sending an instant win notice, displaying a menu of options, sending an email, or sending a tweet.
The first step for businesses is to choose which barcode you would like to create. The second step is to create the barcode. MoreVisibility has created barcodes for a number of clients and offers the service through our Mobile division. The third step is to publish the barcode electronically or physically print it on marketing materials. A barcode could also be printed on a sticker or insert to be mailed or included with a product. The last step, and possibly most important, is measuring the campaign through analytics.
Although QR Codes have been around since 1994 (and Microsoft Tags since 2006), the explosion of the smartphone marketplace has had a significant impact on mobile tagging technology. Companies small and large are testing putting barcodes on their products and marketing materials. We have many ideas for our clients on how to integrate barcodes with their marketing strategy and look forward to seeing this area grow.