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How to jump into QR code mania

By Gaston Rendelstein
QR-to-app: Welcome to QR mania - featured square

20 million hits, one minute. That’s what Coinbase’s Super Bowl ad put up on the scoreboard. That certainly makes the highlight reel of any marketer’s career. And when it’s done with an ingeniously simple QR code gliding across the screens of millions of Super Bowl viewers worldwide, it’s certainly justification for a touchdown celebration dance.

How to jump into QR code mania

Though this may have been the first time that many Super Bowl viewers were exposed to QR codes, they’ve actually been around for almost three decades (yes, the first QR code system was invented in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave). 

More recently, QR codes have made a huge comeback thanks to the pandemic and their widespread adoption in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries, as well as the rise of CTV (connected TV)

Based on AppsFlyer data, the number of apps launching QR-to-app Experiences grew by 25% during the last quarter of 2021 alone. That’s not surprising considering the mindblowing 37% scan-to-install average conversion rates they are achieving. 

As for the future, eMarketer expects QR code usage in the US to increase by nearly 20% in the next three years.

Why is QR technology so special? Well, it brings us marketers back to basics where we can double down on our creativity. Not to mention that it’s the glue that connects fragmented consumer channels. 

Working with the best brands in the world, we’ve witnessed how marketers are innovating, breaking the offline-to-online paradigm by placing QR codes everywhere from pizza boxes to metro ads to TV commercials to even gigantic drone-mounted projections in the sky. 

QR-to-app use cases

Based on these conversion rates and potential for growth, we hope you’re as hyped up on QR-to-app as we, Coinbase, and other leading brands are. 

So let’s get practical by showing you how you can quickly start building and measuring QR-to-app Experiences today. 

Bringing CTV audiences to your mobile app

In the US alone, 70% of Americans use an over-the-top (OTT) service, while connected TV (CTV) ad spend increased by 60% to $14.4 billion in the past year. Although this trend is just getting started, there are many ways you can interact and acquire new users through this channel.

Lending app

A loan provider displays a CTV ad with a QR code encouraging streamers to download its mobile app. By using AppsFlyer’s customer experience and deep linking suite the lending app’s marketing team creates a QR code with a link that includes attribution and deep linking parameters to ensure accurate CTV measurement and deep linking capabilities.

When streamers scan the QR code from their TV screen, they are automatically redirected to the right app store to download the app. When the app is launched, they are taken directly to the loan application page, avoiding any unnecessary touchpoints to increase conversion rates. Users who already have the app installed are taken directly to the relevant in-app content, skipping the app store touchpoint and even the generic app home screen.

QR-to-app: CTV to mobile app

Air hockey game

Contextualization is KING. Aiming to achieve high Return on Experience (ROX) from its CTV ad, an air hockey game targets streamers watching an NHL game, inviting them to download their app and play against the rival team during halftime.

When the NHL fans scan the QR code they are redirected to the right app store, or directly to the relevant in-app content if they already have the game on their devices. Once they launch the game they are asked to choose an NHL team (contextualization, remember?) and start playing against their rival.

QR-to-app: NHL CTV to mobile example

Meeting your customers wherever they are

QR codes are all about engaging with your audience wherever they are while understanding the consumer’s exact place and time. For customers to take out their phones from their pockets, open the camera app and scan your QR call-to-action, the sense of context must be strong. 

To get your wheels spinning, here are some examples of how you can leverage QR-to-app Experiences in the offline world to acquire and engage new customers.

Shopping app

Shoppers are used to checking product reviews online before making a purchase decision, but what happens when they are in your physical store considering a purchase? In this example, a fashion brand places a QR code next to each shelf, encouraging customers to check out the product reviews on their app.

The shoppers scan the QR code. If the app is not installed, they are redirected to the relevant app store. Upon launch, the product’s review page opens for them to make smarter purchase decisions. Now that they have received value from the app, the brand’s marketing team can re-engage with shoppers in the future and increase lifetime value.   

QR-to-app: In-store QR to mobile app

Travel & hospitality app

What better opportunity to search for your next trip to the Maldives than a depressing bus stop, right? In this example, a digital travel agency takes advantage of the “waste of time” mindset typical of waiting passengers, plus the fact that certain bus lines serve certain audiences. So the app’s marketing team places a summer deal poster with a QR code appealing to the relevant bus line passengers.

Once passengers scan the QR code, they are redirected to the relevant app store  (or are brought straight to the in-app content if they already have the app). After launching the app, they are taken directly to the summer deal page to make a reservation or share with their family and friends.

QR-to-app: Offline ad to mobile app

Step into QR code mania

Coinbase and QR codes scored a big touchdown at this year’s Super Bowl. Millions of consumers understand the power of QR codes, and advertisers saw firsthand how a simple floating square on a CTV screen can drive UA in a huge way. 
As the divide between offline and online blurs, it’s time for marketers like you to tap into this fully measurable, highly effective tactic that leads users smoothly to your app from nearly anywhere – CTV, billboards, public transport, packaging, and more. Talk to us to get started.

Gaston Rendelstein

Gaston Rendelstein is Head of Marketing for OneLink and has over 10 years of experience in marketing, go-to-market strategy, and user acquisition. Gaston focuses on driving tangible business results by leading and working with multidisciplinary teams of growth professionals, content writers, designers, marketers and developers.

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