In recent years, cryptic symbols have begun appearing in magazines, on flyers, and across billboards. These mysterious boxes are known as QR codes: printed barcodes that can be read by smartphones to link to URL, text, or other data. As the National Apartment Association’s Lauren Boston reports, marketers are intrigued by the codes’ potential to connect with the 31% of U.S. mobile users (73.3 million people) who own a smartphone; a group that is expected to rise to 43% of U.S. mobile users by 2015.*
Consumers are also intrigued. 72% of smartphone owners said they would be likely to recall an ad with a QR code. 32% have already used a QR code and 70% plan to use a QR code again or for the first time. However – it is still uncertain whether QR codes are an inexpensive way for Multifamily companies to get consumers interested in their properties, or a short-lived fad that will soon fade into obsolescence.
Inexpensive and Versatile
QR codes can be generated for free at sites like Kaywa and then pasted or printed like any other image for use on flyers, stickers, or billboards. Google Analytics or other services can then be used to track the amount of scans each code receives, providing an easy way to measure their effectiveness. QR codes could simply link to a company landing page, or could link to a video offering a model unit interactive tour.
Unique Content Fares Best
Consumers may begin to lose interest in QR codes if advertisers use them merely as another way to link to their webpage. If QR becomes associated with poor advertising, it will lose its appeal to consumers. Google has already dropped a program that attached QR codes to individual locations on its search results, likely due to the fact that it didn’t offer anything extra to users. QR is most effective if it links to unique content, like a unique landing page, video, or coupons.
Most Popular Among Students
QR marketing may be most effective for those involved in the student housing market. College students are far more aware of QR than other demographics and are more likely to use QR links. Regardless of their target audience, marketers who have used QR generally agree that the most effective advertisements are ones that have a call to action next to them, urging readers to “Tour this unit now,” or asking them “Why wait?”
Whether or not QR codes fade from consumer attention in the coming years, they currently offer multifamily companies a unique way to gain consumer attention at minimal cost. Making a unique and memorable QR campaign will surely be worth the effort. Thinking outside the box will make the QR boxes pay off.
Thoughts? Already using QR? Tell us what you think – here or on our Facebook page.