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QR Codes: The Next Big Thing in Social Marketing?

Scan this!

QR Codes are not a new phenomenon.

QR codes are those square matrix bar codes that appear to be a bunch of random squares which, when scanned by a mobile device, allow users to download content, read messages or visit mobile sites. Try scanning this one on the right.

They have been around since 1994, and were devised as a Quick Response (hence the QR in QR codes) method initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing. Since then, the humble QR code has moved on to become an increasingly used feature in commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users, otherwise known as social scanning and mobile tagging.

In Japan, QR codes are used for everything from giving away free bottles of tea to providing nutritional information of McDonald’s hamburgers. In fact, earlier this year, as part of Internet Week 2010, the city of New York covered Times Square with gigantic QR codes which, when scanned, drove traffic to several websites and offered free ringtones and chances to win free tickets to the Tony Awards.

iPhone apps such as SCVNGR (also available on Android and with partial support on other mobile phones via SMS) utilise QR codes as a part of their geolocation checkin services. Even the venerable Google has taken to using QR codes to enable people to instantly learn more about a business, by visiting a mobile version of the business’ Place Page whenever they scan said QR Codes.

That’s not all. There’s actually a blog out there that’s written entirely in QR codes. Now, that is awesome. Catch this video report by CBS and CNET’s Natali Del Conte showing how QR codes may change the future of advertising.

With many bigger companies now realising the potential of social scanning, the QR code is well on its way  to becoming a widely used feature for social marketing.

Do you know of any other cool QR code marketing efforts out there? Share them with us!

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