Recently, a colleague of mine Allison Hartsoe asked if I had any information related to tracking the performance of QR Codes and I figured that this would be a good opportunity to build upon some previous campaign and social media tracking tips provided by June Dershewitz. June provided some great tips on Tracking Social Media Links as Campaigns as well as URL Shorteners with Analytics that dovetail nicely with tracking the performance of QR Codes. But first a little background.
Mobile barcodes can take on many different shapes, sizes, and colors owning to the limiting factors holding this technology back. QR Codes are rapidly becoming the de-facto standard, but there are many proprietary solutions and several competing standards which has made adoption somewhat slow, especially in the US. Wikipedia details several of these formats:
- Refers to the use of 2D barcode images read via a mobile phone for quick access to stored content
- Utilize a reader application to scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser
- Limiting factors include interoperability, proprietary barcode technologies and a lack of standards
Thanks to our friends at PercentMobile, you can get a QR code reader for your phone by visiting http://percentmobile.com/getqr on your mobile device. Or to see a listing by device, visit http://analytics.percentmobile.com/device_qr_code_readers/.
My favorite reader application currently is QuickMark. It can handle many different mobile barcode formats and is super fast at isolating and reading the barcode image.
Tracking QR codes falls into two categories:
1) Fully contained systems – Utilizing a mobile barcode generation service you can generate and deploy a mobile barcode and then report on performance within the vendors proprietary system. A short list of vendors include:
2) Manual or Redirect based – By creating your mobile barcode manually and using standard campaign tracking, you can effectively track the performance of your mobile barcode campaigns by leveraging your existing Web analytics vendor.
- First create your mobile barcode using any number of free tools:
- If you are linking directly to a page within your site that already has tracking on it - you can simply append a campaign code to the URL you are using as the target for your mobile barcode.
- If you are linking to content NOT on your own web site you will need to route through a 301 redirect page with your analytics tracking code embedded on the redirect page. Check with your analytics vendor and see if they have a preferred method for redirects.
Then there is the Easy way...
bit.ly and goo.gl allow for QR creation and tracking of shortened URLs created on their system. By adding .qr to the end of any shortened link you are taken to a QR code for that link. Simply copy the image and you are good to go!
You can leverage each tools respective tracking system for analytics - but this will only provide basic metrics such as clicks, referrers, and location. However, if you follow June Dershewitz’s suggestions with respect to tracking your social media campaigns and be sure to embed a campaign code within your shortened URLs, you will have visibility into post click behaviors and conversions.
For example, here is the QR Code for this blog post as trafficked through bit.ly with Google Analytics campaign codes. Fire up your QR Code reader and snap the image below to check out the resulting URL.
Please leave a comment below as I would love to hear how you are leveraging QR Codes in your marketing efforts, if you are tracking them, and how they are performing.