Before I jump into this post I’d like to update my readers on why I haven’t posted in a while. Since the last post I got married, went on a honeymoon and moved all within the last two weeks. As of today I am back online and will resume my weekly posting. Thanks for your patience, please enjoy the following blog post.
SpyderLynk, a marketing technology company, has created a similar component to the QR code called the Social SnapTag. According to a press release by Nikki DeFilippo and Melodye Demastus, a Social SnapTag features a Facebook or Twitter icon that any mobile user, with or without a QR code, can activate to trigger incentives from marketers upon ‘liking’ that brand http://bit.ly/pfpqrl. Incentives can include sweepstakes entries, exclusive content, free samples and discounts. Some of the major differences between QR codes and Social SnapTags are that Social SnapTags do more than just send a user to that brand’s website. They use Twitter and Facebook to provide interactive content, features, and rewards that extend beyond the brand’s website, making it more attractive to consumers. Also, a user does not need to have a QR code scanner to process the Social SnapTag. Users without a QR code scanner can take a picture of the Social SnapTag and send it to the designated short code. It’s these types of differences that make the Social SnapTag the next step up from the QR code. Perhaps the most notable example of where Social SnapTags are making their debut are magazines, and Glamour’s September issue is no exception http://bit.ly/n9EG22. It’s front cover, as well as several advertisers throughout, display the Social SnapTag icon – Facebook’s logo surrounded by two circles. The Social SnapTag may be the most successful version of a QR code yet, but how effective is it? A recent report by GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research shows that 4% of users who noticed ads with 2D bar codes (this includes QR codes) snapped a picture at least once http://bit.ly/nLvt57. The fact that Social SnapTags are more interactive and more accessible, combined with this research, shows promise. However, it does not disclose the social media metrics.
There is no way to tell how many users they are talking about, how many times on average a 2D bar code was snapped (taking into account all the places 2D bar codes have appeared), how many actually accessed the content, how long they lingered, and what their next steps were after that (sharing, redeeming, etc.). Additionally, there are many who say this technology has arrived before its time and consumers are not ready for it yet. Part of that is that Social SnapTags and QR codes are not easily identifiable yet. Not everyone knows what a QR code or Social SnapTag is, let alone how to use it and how it can benefit them. Unfortunately, this fact may hurt its success. The flip side of it is that QR codes and Social SnapTags are becoming increasingly popular, as GfK MRI Starch found that 6% of the 18-34 demographic who noticed took a picture of a 2D bar code compared to 3% of those who noticed in the 35 and up demographic. Obviously, the fact that Social SnapTags are an advanced version of a QR code acts in its favor. Common knowledge shows that the more convenient and easily accessible something is, the more likely it is to be used. The benefits of Social SnapTags far outweigh those of the typical QR code direct to website experience too. Is it enough to save print though? Out of all the mediums displaying 2D bar codes, ComScore found that users were most likely to scan codes on product packaging and print. Despite any negative aspects of this new technology, it appears promising and the research confirms that as well as its growing popularity. Whether it is a trend, or here to stay is still a question. In the meantime, it seems 2D bar codes like Social SnapTags at least have the power to draw more attention to print. As print is still suffering from ad drawbacks, increased readership and readership interaction would lead to more money for all involved, which would lead to more ad pages, more magazine pages, and a revitalized outlook for print in general. As I see it, this technology can only get better from here and may be just what print has been missing.