5.3 Billion QR Codes by 2022 – Why Should You Use QR Code Marketing?

QR codes are literally everywhere. From the back of your soft drink bottles to the gym equipment you work out on each morning; QR codes wheedle their way into daily life with minimum intrusion but with maximum impact.

Not only that, but they are increasing in numbers. It’s almost like a QR code invasion as they find their way into almost every aspect of our lives. For example, it is estimated that there will be around 5.3 Billion QR Codes by 2022!

So, from a Digital Marketing perspective, how effective are QR codes in a campaign? And what role do they play in spreading your company’s voice in two wildly different places; within the ‘online’ realm, and outside in the ‘offline’ world?

What Is A QR Code?

A QR code (or Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional barcode that is scanned, read and acknowledged by a dedicated smartphone device via the camera function. This forms a direct link to promo deals, company sites, contact numbers, social media accounts, job profiles…the list continues! It’s not hard to see how using a QR code in a campaign is powerful.

The humble barcode was developed in the 1970s. The QR element was a demand born out the need for speed and flexible scanning. It was developed by Denso Wave (a brand owned by Toyota) shortly after the original. It became the first signifier of a bridge gap between the online and offline worlds.

Regardless, QR codes had endured a somewhat turbulent history with limited influence spreading much further than its Eastern origins, which is surprising. However, there is a clear correlation between the gathering influx of worldwide smartphone users (10% in 2014 to 36% in 2018) able to connect to high-speed internet (48.8% in 2014 to 61.2% in 2018) and the QR code resurrection (click here for statistic reference).

Entering into the 21st century, Apple’s iOS11 update in 2017 added the iPhone to the list of QR code compatible devices. Slowly but surely, its influence has spread from the East to the West.

With QR codes in marketing campaigns, ‘offline’ messages transfer ‘online’ with ease and simplicity at the touch of a button. Thus, QR codes blur the boundaries between the offline and online worlds. And they are gathering steam.

Why Are QR Codes Becoming More Popular For Marketing?

In this day and age, instant gratification has become an even more prevalent aspect of our lives. From the short attention span that Social Media promotes to the need to get immediate answers that we have developed now that we have Smartphones, people have a need to be able to find information as quickly as possible.

So, when you are putting out an offline marketing campaign, you need to make sure that you are providing a way for your target audience to find that information.

QR Codes, due to their simplicity to engage with using a smartphone, allows you to do just that. You can create a landing page or sign up form that the QR Code takes the person to as soon as they scan it. From there, they can get access to all of the information that they need and a place where they can convert.

Because of how QR Codes merge marketing requirements with the ability to appease that sense of instant gratification, they are becoming far more popular. With that said, let’s take a look at a few examples of QR codes being used in marketing campaigns.

Examples of QR Codes In Marketing Campaigns


Research by The Paper Worker suggests that a third of decision-making from consumers is based just on the packaging. QR codes are ideal when it comes to brands matching their packaging to millennials preferences, such as minimalistic designs. The QR code means brands can give customers the product information they need, but without cramming it all on the packaging. In 2019, QR codes have evolved from plain monochrome to customisable, colourful images sometimes with the brand logo.

Traditional Marketing

In 2019, QR codes are frequently used in traditional marketing campaigns, such as magazines. This is a great way for brands to track which traditional campaigns are doing well, or not doing so well, rather than before when they had no way of tracking success and failure.


An example of an enhanced shopping experience involving QR codes is at Nike’s US flagship store (House Of Innovation 000). The Nike Plus app unlocks when a member enters the store, and there’s a ‘scan to try’ option whereby a member can scan a mannequin and have a store assistant bring them alternative sizes and colours. If a customer isn’t a member already, they can scan QR codes on the walls to download the app and become a member.

However, as amazing as that sounds, a company has taken the marketing and instant gratification aspects of QR Codes one huge step forward.

Amazon Go

It goes without mention that Amazon is a market leader when it comes to a comprehensive e-commerce experience. However, with the use of a QR code, they have taken the shopping experience to a new level. With the tagline ‘No lines, No checkout (No, seriously)’, Amazon Go invites customers into a modern convenience shopping culture that belongs to decades far in the future.

The system is simple. You download the designated app (that’s one conversion, most likely you obtained the app by scanning the Amazon website). Next, you visit an Amazon Go shop, and as you enter, open the app and scan your unique QR code on the barrier. You grab your items, and you leave. That is it. Amazon Go then uses its ‘computer vision’, ‘sensor fusion’ and intelligent algorithms to create the revolutionary Just Walk Out technology.

QR Codes In Marketing – The Future

The ongoing development and growth in the popularity of QR codes will undoubtedly push innovations in traditional marketing campaigns in the future. They will also be beneficial for start-up businesses with small budgets due to the minimal costs when creating the codes.

However, one feature that QR codes don’t currently have is the ability to collect information from the individuals scanning the codes. Considering this is an era with a very data-driven market, it is not beneficial that brands can’t collect data about the customers that are showing an interest in their brand.

At the moment, brands can only programme their QR code to open up a ‘newsletter sign up’ or landing page. However, since instant gratification is so important in marketing these days, this is long-winded. It can cause customers to leave the page before converting. Although, with an increase in the popularity of QR codes, this could be a potential development point in the future, so it is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Would Your Business Benefit From A QR Code Marketing Campaign?

If you’re looking to improve the connection between your offline and online marketing campaigns or want to make sure your offline marketing takes advantage of instant gratification, using QR Codes could be exactly what you need. Adding a QR Code can help to increase conversion rates of your campaigns and also allow you to track offline marketing campaign performance.

So, if you are looking to implement QR Codes into your marketing campaigns but aren’t sure of the best way to do it, we would be happy to discuss your requirements with you. Feel free to get in touch today to improve your marketing campaigns.

Written by Gareth Torrance

Hello there. I'm Gareth, the Search Engine Marketing Lead at Brave. With almost a decade of experience in PPC and SEO, I've seen everything from Pandas and Penguins to the horrible time that was Mobilegeddon. As a Google Ads Certified Google Specialist, I have lived through almost every major shift in the industry! And that makes me feel old.

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