Should I Use QR Codes for My Marketing Campaign?

No.

I hate QR codes and rail against them whenever they come up, because no one scans QR codes. And yet we want to augment physical experiences with digital information.

Apparently my flat “no” isn’t nuanced enough for some, so here are a few thoughts I’ve developed over years of begging people not to create them:

  1. If you must use them, point them to a URL you can control, like example.com/qr/destination and redirect that link to whatever landing page or 3rd-party site you use for the content. Then when the contract expires and you no longer want to pay for it (true story), you can redirect it to a sensible location. I would do this even if you are redirecting to a landing page you own. It gives you flexibility.
  2. Use short URLs instead. example.com/keyword is just as likely to get typed in as a QR code is to get scanned…at least in the U.S., which leads me to:
  3. Asia-Pacific. There is a very different set of expectations here. Smartphone use is extremely high, and popular apps like WeChat include QR code scanners. At a recent C-level event in Hong Kong, nearly everyone used their phones to either scan QR codes or to connect to Bluetooth iBeacons for more info (partially due to this functionality being a part of the popular WeChat platform).

So now my advice is “run away” except for maybe in AP, where I am only able to share 2nd-hand experience. I’d look into the bluetooth beacons first though.