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What’s the Future for QR Codes?

QR codes, short for quick response codes (those funky squares of seemingly random blank and white areas) are popping up in more places, some of which are unexpected, such as headstones.

They have many uses, but a common one is in marketing, allowing people with smartphones to scan it and be whisked to a website.

With increased usage, does this suggest a growing trend or merely something trendy?

I think QR codes are more novelty than practical.

I remember a time when it seemed every TV ad ended with a website address. That didn’t last long, and I don’t think QR codes will either.

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Do You Really Need a QR Code?

Even if you don’t know what they are, you’ve no doubt seen quick response (QR) codes in print advertising and other places. QR codes are the next iteration of bar codes and look like a small white square that is populated with a seemingly random group of interconnected tiny black squares and rectangles.

Take a picture of the QR code with a properly equipped smart phone and you will have quick access to a website giving more information about the ad’s content.

But there is a problem with QR codes: consumer usage is low. According to a Forrester Research study, in a three-month window in 2011, only five percent of those surveyed scanned even one QR code. That’s not five percent for every code, but five percent of all codes combined. Hence, the reasonable assumption could be made that some codes are seldom or even never scanned at all.

The reasons are many: Some people don’t know what QR codes are. Others are confused in how to use them. A third group lacks the needed technology (be it the smart phone or the requisite app), but most just ignore them.

Add to this that the Web page the QR code lands on is often not optimized for mobile devices.

Although QR code usage is sure to grow in the future as these problems are addressed and overcome, there certainly doesn’t seem to be an imperative need to include them in your ads today — but just don’t dismiss them forever.

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Twelve Facts About Magazines

The following is from the 2010/11 MPA Magazine Handbook:

Magazine audiences are growing – and young adults read heavily: The number of magazine readers has grown more than 4% over the past five years. Ninety-three percent of adults overall and 96% of adults under age 35 read magazines.

  1. Magazine audiences are expanding across platforms: The number of magazine websites and mobile apps is increasing; e-readers are projected to grow rapidly – and consumers want to see magazine content on them.
  2. Magazine advertising gets consumers to act: More than half of all readers (56%) act on magazine ads. Plus, action-taking has increased 10% in the last five years.
  3. Magazines improve advertising ROI: Analysis of client-commissioned cross-media accountability studies found that magazines most consistently generate a favorable cost-per-impact throughout the purchase funnel.
  4. Magazines contribute most throughout the purchase funnel: Magazines are the most consistent performer in the purchase funnel, with particular strength in the key stages of brand favorability and purchase intent
  5. Magazines build buzz: Magazine readers are more likely than users of other media to influence friends and family on products across a variety of categories. Magazines complement the web in reaching social networkers, whom marketers increasingly favor to generate word-of-mouth.
  6. Magazines spur web traffic and search: Magazines lead other media in influencing consumers to start a search for merchandize online, ranking at or near the top by gender as well as across all age groups. Also, magazine ads boost web traffic, and magazine readers are more likely than non-readers to buy online.
  7. Magazines prompt mobile action-taking: Magazine readers are most likely to use a text message to respond to an ad and redeem a mobile coupon versus other media. Plus, magazines rank high in generating other mobile action.
  8. Magazines and magazine ads garner the most attention: When consumers read magazines they are much less likely to engage with other media or to take part in non-media activities compared to the users of TV, radio, or the internet.
  9. Magazine advertising is valuable content: Consumers are more likely to have a positive attitude toward advertising in magazines compared to other media.
  10. Magazines supply credibility: Multiple sources show that consumers trust ads in magazines.
  11. Magazines deliver reach: Across major demographic groups, the top 25 magazines deliver considerably more rating points than the top 25 primetime TV shows.
  12. Magazine audiences accumulate faster than you think: More than three-quarters of readers read their copy within the first three days. The average monthly magazine accumulates approximately 60% of its audience within a month’s time, and the average weekly magazine accumulates nearly 80% of its audience in two weeks.
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Earn More Money on Google Ads

Most of my websites contain Google ads. My main goal in doing so was to generate a bit of additional revenue to cover my direct costs to host the sites and my time to add content and maintain them. For the most part, these goals are met, albeit often only paying me minimum wage for my time.

A couple of months ago, Google announced it changed its search algorithms to give greater credence to “real” content publishers — like me — and less attention to those who merely throw questionable or valueless text online in order to get clicks.

I didn’t give this much thought until I received my most recent revenue check from Goggle. It took a 50% jump! (I’ve since heard that some of the biggest offenders saw a 90% drop!)

This is both exciting and affirming. Goggle implicitly sees value in the content on my sites and is rewarding me for it.

Even so, revenue from Google will never be significant to solely cover the creation and maintenance of informational websites, but it is a nice bonus. I am acutely aware that just as they tweaked their search algorithms to my benefit, they could later do the same to my detriment.

I’m thankful for Google but not depending on them.