Tag Used (Almost) Correctly

In last month's ASHRAE Journal, Price Industries ran a full-page ad including a Microsoft Tag - their proprietary version of QR codes - and used the Tag almost exactly correctly. Unfortunately, the one rule they broke is the big one.

Here's the ad:

At the bottom is the tag, with instructions on how to use it. Including instructions is a smart move, and I like that they used the black & white version so it would still work if someone made a non-color copy of the ad.

Scanning the tag brings you here:

Very cool; the site's good looking, and it's information about the project I was looking at in the ad. That gives it relevance, which is essential to a successful QR Code campaign. [Note: I use QR Code as the "Kleenex" of the industry, because it's a more resonant term than "Two-dimensional Bar Code"] Users want information about their current task at hand, not a webpage they might be interested in later.

Where this fails, though, is the landing page itself. Look at the screenshot above again. Here's a link to the same page on a full-size browser. You need that second link, because most of the screen from my iPhone is too small to read! It is essential to have all your QR Codes point to mobile friendly sites!

When I started researching QR codes, a simple search of the app store brought me over 20 readers in a few seconds. Looking for a reader that works reliably from my desktop took days. Most people will use QR Codes with a phone, so the content needs to be optimized for mobile screen sizes.

In summary, Price did a great job of using Tag in their ad; it was clearly displayed, looked good, and had relevant information. But they failed to use a mobile-friendly landing page; that's a big enough sin to almost erase everything they did right.