Offline ads are likely to get a refreshing breath of relevance as 2D barcode technology becomes more prevalent in mobile phones. The pixelated images can be added to magazine and billboard ads, for example, and scanned by mobiles phones to pull up various media, such as a product videos or landing pages.
Smartphone users who have the technology or who download and install the software simply have to point their phone’s camera and at one of the barcodes. The software then communicates with a server to send the user to a registration page, video, app download, or whatever the desired media may be.
Although less efficient, feature-phone users can take a picture of a code and send it via MMS to a specified phone number to load the desired media.
“There’s really nothing the end-user needs to know other than how to turn on their camera for this to work,” says Mike Wehrs, CEO, Scanbuy.
Scanbuy creates technology to enable cell phones to read barcodes, and also runs a backend system for renting 2D codes to businesses. Marketers can purchase one or a handful of codes and a set number of “scans,” or impressions. Then it’s as simple as defining what you want a phone to load after scanning a barcode, and adding the code to marketing materials.
“Done appropriately with the right kind of support and end-user prompting, you can get enormous positive results from the inclusion of a barcode,” Wehrs says.
Wehrs cites his team’s work with Verizon. Advertisements in Verizon stores encouraged new Android smartphone owners to scan 2D barcodes to instantly download new apps (samples of the ads). The team achieved 175,000 app downloads in the first month, Wehrs says.
Wehrs can rattle off many marketing opportunities the codes present. The codes, for example, can have the media they load changed over time. Products can have codes permanently applied to them, and when scanned, offer a new piece of media every month, creating on-going customer engagement.
There are many 2D barcode standards. Google has embraced the QR standard, which Scanbuy’s technology supports along with several other popular ones, Wehrs says. Take a look if you think your offline ads could benefit from offering mobile consumers deeper interaction.