QR Codes: Because Why NOT?
Three years ago on September 13, 2010, I uploaded a video about QR codes and I got a lot of confused questions that pretty much translated to, “What The Heck!!” At the time I was still learning about this technology, because it was still new to the United States. I would consume as much information as I could, with the goal of learning more about this cool “new” technology. In some circles I became the “GoTo” person for QR Code technology.
As my excitement grew I started to notice more and more of this technology out there. QR codes were on everything, people had them on their websites, online catalogs and more. I was guilty of this as well, until I though “Hey, wait a minute….” This is all wrong. That is when I started to understand that this technology is being utilized in the “hey new shiny object sort of way” but it was not being used as effectively as it could have been. That’s when I realized that the usage of QR codes might not ever reach its full potential because in some instances they were being used incorrectly.
- There is no reason to add a QR Code to your website because people are usually on your mobile or traditional website when they are viewing the QR Code. So if you had plans of using the QR code to direct them to your website, they are already there, there’s not need. Don’t use QR codes on a website to direct them to your website.
- QR Codes that are geared to open to a website should ALWAYS open to a mobile website, not a traditional website. We all know by now that a traditional website may not display properly on a mobile device. There ARE NO exceptions to this rule.
- QR Codes should NOT scan to “Download my catalog” because most of the time people have scanned a QR code with their phone. Absolutely NO one wants to use all of their data to download your HUGE PDF catalog to their phone.
The BEST and most practical use of QR Codes are to tie traditional print media to digital media. As digital marketers we can sometimes not grasp that everyone is NOT so enamored with the growth of technology as we are. However it is true! There are still many people that are very print-oriented and QR codes are a great option for that population of folks.
So as marketers we must recognize that although we are focused on digital media there is still an opportunity to tie traditional print to digital for clients that still utilize this form of marketing. QR codes are the perfect vehicle to get this done. As a matter of fact, this is the primary reason that QR Codes should NOT be discounted and should be revisited. There has not been an equivalent and cost effective medium introduced that is capable of tying together these two media as QR codes can, if executed properly.
Although it was once thought that NFC could bridge the gap between traditional print media and digital, it has not materialized as we originally thought that it would. This is primarily due to the cost and complexity of this technology for mainstream populations. Since the need to bridge traditional and digital, QR Codes remain the logical and least expensive way to go, as long as traditional marketing remains even a little relevant.
At one time we exclusively used traditional marketing, but we all know that things have change. In spite of this, there has not been a total elimination of traditional print media. So, we can still utilize traditional media to drive traffic to digital channels, creating a bit of a fusion between the older traditional marketing strategies and the new emerging digital marketing strategies.
Until the total discontinuation of traditional print media, as marketers we must find a way to tie together traditional and digital mediums for ourselves on occasion and for our clients. QR codes can be a very cost effective way to do this.
So lets give some thought to revisiting QR codes, if you’ve worked with them before or venture into something new if you haven’t.
I remember the 90’s, when the Internet initially entered the scene. I was immediately very enthralled with this technology. I was immediately taken with the little computerized box that had moved beyond being used for just work related tasks to a place that held an abundance of information. It didn’t matter that the information was mostly text based; I was just fascinated by HOW much information that I had access to within this little box, called a computer.
At the time, this information intense technology called the Word Wide. I was working at the local Library when I first got introduced to this magical world. Once I had experienced it’s magic, I instantly developed a huge fascination for what is now called the Internet and a stronger drive to learn as much as I could. So, I was tasked with not only teaching the staff Windows 95 but with instructing Windows NT, to patrons in the newly proposed computer labs. My enthusiasm about this new Internet technology started my journey into the LOVE of technology and helped lead me to where I am now.
I recognized, even back in the mid nineties that this technology would be HUGE and would change the world. As this technology was really taking off and all of the Internet companies were booming I was finishing my Bachelors Degree in business. I was so involved with finishing school during the time, so regrettably I was not able to take an active part in this technology growth as I longed to. Although I was not in the thick of things, only instruction, it was still so exciting to see the Internet take off. I always did regret my inability to get involved and to take an active role in the growth of the first wave of the Internet Technology boom.
Roll the clock about 18 years ahead, and here we are. I cannot express the excitement at having an opportunity to be an active part in this era of what looks to be the NEW wave of Internet growth.
When I returned to grad school, I had no clue that the Internet Space would be heading toward the second boom. It was all a blessing, luck, great timing or some combination of all of those. Either way, it is an exciting time to be a part of the second technology boom.
Since the 1990’s we have gone from having huge monitors, towers and keyboards to having the ability to literally carrying our computer around in our pockets due to the growth of smart phone technology. THIS is the NEW Technology boom and I am so excited that I get to be a part of it this time around.
Smart phones are almost singularly responsible for the HUGE boom in technology because they allow us to literally become mobile WHILE being connected. The growth of smart phones has grown so much in the past few years that some say the there will soon be more mobile devices in use than there are people in the world. That is unimaginable.
With all of the growth of mobile technology businesses MUST quickly jump in this space if they want their organizations to benefit from those that are users of this technology.
The need for a mobile website should be at the forefront of every organizations digital marketing strategy. Organizations cannot be sluggish in adopting this as they were in the 90’s when they were prompted to get a traditional website. Technology is moving so much faster now than it was back then.
Take a look at the information below on HOW much growth is expected in the mobile area moving forward.
Global mobile data traffic grew 70 percent in 2012. Global mobile data traffic reached 885 petabytes per month at the end of 2012, up from 520 petabytes per month at the end of 2011.
Last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly twelve times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. Global mobile data traffic in 2012 (885 petabytes per month) was nearly twelve times greater than the total global Internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month).
Mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2012. Mobile video traffic was 51 percent of traffic by the end of 2012.
Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2012. Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2012 was 526 kilobits per second (kbps), up from 248 kbps in 2011. The average mobile network connection speed for smartphones in 2012 was 2,064 kbps, up from 1,211 kbps in 2011. The average mobile network connection speed for tablets in 2012 was 3,683 kbps, up from 2,030 kbps in 2011.
In 2012, a fourth-generation (4G) connection generated 19 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection. Although 4G connections represent only 0.9 percent of mobile connections today, they already account for 14 percent of mobile data traffic.
The top 1 percent of mobile data subscribers generate 16 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 52 percent at the beginning of 2010. According to a mobile data usage study conducted by Cisco, mobile data traffic has evened out over the last year and is now lower than the 1:20 ratio that has been true of fixed networks for several years.
Average smartphone usage grew 81 percent in 2012. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2012 was 342 MB per month, up from 189 MB per month in 2011.
Smartphones represented only 18 percent of total global handsets in use in 2012, but represented 92 percent of total global handset traffic. In 2012, the typical smartphone generated 50 times more mobile data traffic (342 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 6.8 MB per month of mobile data traffic).
Globally, 33 percent of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell in 2012. In 2012, 429 petabytes of mobile data traffic were offloaded onto the fixed network each month. Without offload, mobile data traffic would have grown 96 percent rather than 70 percent in 2012.
Android is now higher than iPhone levels of data use. By the end of 2012, average Android consumption exceeded average iPhone consumption in the United States and Western Europe.
In 2012, 14 percent of mobile devices and connections were potentially IPv6-capable. This estimate is based on network connection speed and OS capability.
In 2012, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 2.5-fold to 36 million, and each tablet generated 2.4 times more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2012, mobile data traffic per tablet was 820 MB per month, compared to 342 MB per month per smartphone.
There were 161 million laptops on the mobile network in 2012, and each laptop generated 7 times more traffic than the average smartphone. Mobile data traffic per laptop was 2.5 GB per month in 2012, up 11 percent from 2.3 GB per month in 2011.
Nonsmartphone usage increased 35 percent to 6.8 MB per month in 2012, compared to 5.0 MB per month in 2011. Basic handsets still make up the vast majority of handsets on the network (82 percent).
The Mobile Network Through 2017
Mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next five years.
• Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 10 exabytes in 2017.
• The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2013.
• The average mobile connection speed will surpass 1 Mbps in 2014.
• Due to increased usage on smartphones, handsets will exceed 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.
• Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 1 exabyte per month in 2017.
• Tablets will exceed 10 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2015.
Global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold between 2012 and 2017. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66 percent from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.
By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2017, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules-exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.6 billion).
Mobile network connection speeds will increase 7-fold by 2017. The average mobile network connection speed (526 kbps in 2012) will exceed 3.9 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2017.
In 2017, 4G will be 10 percent of connections, but 45 percent of total traffic. In 2017, a 4G connection will generate 8 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection.
By 2017, 41 percent of all global mobile devices and connections could potentially be capable of connecting to an IPv6 mobile network. Over 4.2 billion devices and connections will be IPv6-capable in 2017.
Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017. Mobile video will increase 16-fold between 2012 and 2017, accounting for over 66 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.
Mobile-connected tablets will generate more traffic in 2017 than the entire global mobile network in 2012. The amount of mobile data traffic generated by tablets in 2017 (1.3 exabytes per month) will be 1.5 times higher than the total amount of global mobile data traffic in 2012 (885 petabytes per month).
The average smartphone will generate 2.7 GB of traffic per month in 2017, an 8-fold increase over the 2012 average of 342 MB per month. Aggregate smartphone traffic in 2017 will be 19 times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 81 percent.
By 2017, almost 21 exabytes of mobile data traffic will be offloaded to the fixed network by means of Wi-Fi devices and femtocells each month. Without Wi-Fi and femtocell offload, total mobile data traffic would grow at a CAGR of 74 percent between 2012 and 2017 (16-fold growth), instead of the projected CAGR of 66 percent (13-fold growth).
The Middle East and Africa will have the strongest mobile data traffic growth of any region at 77 percent CAGR. This region will be followed by Asia Pacific at 76 percent and Latin America at 67 percent.
So needless to say I think it’s time to get mobile people! There are a variety of options available when considering a mobile website, that are great for corporate business. One of the options that I immediately wanted to explore was a mobile website powered by WordPress after all WordPress is one of the most powerful CMS platforms available. After being a WordPress hold out for so long, now that I am there I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to consider other options because this platform fits my business needs.
So in sticking with my need to go with WordPress I started exploring options for Mobile Templates that I could use for WordPress. At first I was only able to find a variety of plugins that would convert my WordPress site to a mobile ready site. The Plugins work fine if you page doesn’t have a lot of pages and submenus. If it does, the plugins make your page look goofy. YES, goofy is a technical term.
I then took a look at the responsive themes; they were fine but still didn’t suit my needs because I didn’t want to change my entire brand to go with a new theme. I wanted a mobile site that would match or closely match my current website.
Finding a fully functional Template built exclusively for mobile practically nonexistent, until I recently found a small company that ONLY Creates WordPress Templates for MOBILE. Excited I am! So I was able to throw up a fully functional WordPress Mobile website based on the look of my site. The great thing about it is that everything that I can do formy full website can be done for my mobile site. Guess WHAT? WIN!
So whatever route you decide to take in the mobile strategy of your business, make sure you get started right away!