Study: Stand-alone QR codes in magazines fall to 70% share

One-third of scanned experiences are not optimized

Mobile responses to content in magazines continues to evolve, with 20 percent of these activations coming from image-based activations (e.g. invisible watermarks) rather than code-based activations (e.g. QR codes), according Nellymoser.

The mobile marketing firm examined over 170,000 pages of the top 100 magazines and found that QR codes alone had dropped from an 80 percent share to just under 70 percent as image-based activations gain in popularity. "We expect this year-over-year growth to continue, fueled by the unique opportunity for editors to connect their print and digital content and engage readers via mobile," said John Puterbaugh, executive vice president and chief digital officer Nellymoser.

However, despite this dip in code-based activations, Puterbaugh stated, "QR codes still do quite well when deployed properly." The study found that one-third of scanned experiences do not lead to mobile-optimized websites, an increase from one-quarter of experiences from the company's previous survey.

Puterbaugh attributed the shift in mobile interaction to two things: aesthetics and brand cohesiveness. "With aesthetics, you can actually use invisible watermarks and take existing images and make those interactive, which is much more appealing." He also cited a rise in using image-based activations to add enhanced content through augmented reality, such as adding video content to the cover of a magazine.

Interestingly, many of these mobile activations require the use of different apps. Twelve percent of the top 100 magazines surveyed--including Lucky, Popular Science, GQ and Teen Vogue--all released magazine-specific apps for scanning the activations.

InStyle, Puterbaugh explained, had three types of activation types in its magazine, requiring the use of three different apps. "There are different battles for different readers, but when you have really high-profile brands, it creates a more coherent branded experience. Having three to six free apps on your phone is not a big deal. People are more than willing to download them," he said.

Earlier this year, NeoMedia CEO and former president of the Mobile Marketing Association Laura Marriott told FierceMobileContent that she wasn't worried that QR codes hadn't taken up as quickly in the U.S market as some analysts had predicted. "Ninety-five percent of the codes that you see today are QR codes. Consumers understand what they are and are recognizing them," said Marriott.

Last fall, Nellymoser issued another study about mobile interaction with magazines and found that mobile interaction had increased dramatically in the second quarter of 2012, with the number of mobile barcodes growing 61 percent.

For more:
- see this Nellymoser release

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