Q&A on Creating QR Codes, PURLs, Apps and Short Codes
Making its virtual show debut, a how-to workshop about technology drew hundreds of attendees on Aug. 23 at InterACT! Virtual Conference & Expo. Not surprisingly, it also drew many questions from those conferees
The "Hands-on Workshop—Create your Own QR Code, PURL, App and Short Code" (which will be available on-demand for the next three months) took delegates step-by-step through the process of assembling these building blocks of current integrated marketing campaigns. But workshop presenters couldn't get to all the questions that came in through the virtual show platform during the information-packed, 45-minute workshop. So they did so after the show.
Below are some of the questions from workshop attendees and the answers provided by presenters from Seattle-based marketing software provider Optify. Anthony Joseph, vice president of marketing and customer experience, answered questions jointly with Digital Solutions Manager Jennifer Wong. The unedited version of this Q&A is on the Optify site.
Q: I am interested in developing [paid] apps specifically for people who want to purchase mobile app versions of my cookbooks and children's books. What is the best way/service … to [sell] my apps?
A: … [We] would recommend that you start with building an app for a platform that is popular. The AppMkr tool that we demonstrated supports development for both iPhone and Android platforms. The process for publishing your iPhone vs. Android app is similar. But note that, generally, it is easier and faster to get your Android application reviewed and approved for distribution. Look at the guidelines for each platform. There are unique specifications for building apps for, and publishing on, each platform.
Q: Please further explain settings and how to decide tolerance for error, margin, scale. How small can [a QR Code] be and work?
A: Most of the QR Code creator apps that we've used have some form of settings/controls which allow you to customize your QR Code, including making cosmetic alterations. As we discussed, each of these settings (color, margin, scale, size, etc.) has a tradeoff on the accuracy performance of your generated QR Code when being read. As such, we encourage you to determine what your goal is, what is most important (function vs. form), and how important an accurate read is. Remember, pixel density and color have the most impact on [a] reader's ability to accurately scan, so test various settings to determine that you are producing the most optimal QR Code for your intended use.
Q: Can we track QR Code responses?
A: Yes. Most QR Code generators have basic analytics, such as number of scans, shares and clickthroughs. If you intend to create a QR code with a link to URL function, you will want to track additional metrics such as clicks, visits, conversions and engagement. …
Q: If we use a short code rather than a QR Code, [can] the user be directed to the same mobile site as the QR Code? Can QR Codes and short codes be used together?
A: It is possible—it depends on what you decide to code-in as the destination URL. That said, generally, short codes and QR Codes can be used independently (as we demonstrated) or combined. We believe this is a good practice and can help marketers achieve some of the best practices we spoke about in the presentation (give users [a] clear indication of where they will go/land or what they will get), and do so without inundating them with too much information. It is a best practice to use these two marketing elements together, as users can send the SMS to the short code if they don't have the capability to successfully scan the QR Code.
Q: Do you have examples [of] how QR Codes have been used on envelopes? [I'm] interested in [the] placement/design/style of QR Codes.
A: … GEICO … [has] used QR Codes on envelopes very effectively ("Scan [this code to get] a free quote"). This has allowed GEICO to improve their mailer response rates, as recipients can scan (before discarding the perceived "junk mail") without opening the envelope. Additionally, the online connection is a higher value connection and a more entrenched touch which you can track and measure, which gives the marketer extremely valuable information. With respect to optimal placement, it is a best practice to place the QR Code prominently on the side of the envelope where the recipient reads the "sender" information (i.e., your brand and return address, etc.).