Move Over SMS, Make Room for the QR Code

QR codeEarlier this year Kinesis unveiled QR code support for Kinesis Survey™ so that clients could automatically generate a QR code for any mobile or multimode survey. Just last month we introduced the most advanced MROC portal, Kinesis Community™, which also can utilize QR codes as a means to drive recruitment of new panelists. While QR code implementation is not yet a widespread practice among our clients, nor among the greater market research industry, Kinesis is certainly ready when they are. Considering some recently released QR code usage statistics, it looks as if consumers – particularly those in younger demographics – are ready as well. Last week Comscore reported that 14 million Americans scanned a QR code using their mobile phones in June (representing 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience and 53.4 percent of users ages 18-34). In July, Mobio indicated that QR code scanning grew 9,840 percent in North America in Q2 2011 on a year-over-year basis.

What does this mean for market research? It means that there is a significant opportunity for the industry to get ahead of this mobile technology’s rapid adoption and capitalize on the benefits it affords our projects and clients. It means there is a less expensive and just-as-easy-to-use alternative to SMS short codes for general intercept research.  While short codes are currently the most commonly utilized method for recruiting respondents to provide feedback at retail stores, restaurants and other consumer-targeted locations, they are an expensive invitation delivery option. The client must incur a fee every time a potential respondent submits the short code – or worse – the respondent is charged for initiating the text. Here is the big “in” for QR codes – free for both parties!

QR codes can be displayed on promotional media just like SMS short codes, yet there is virtually no cost associated with their use.  While photographing a QR code first requires that a QR code reader application (app) is installed on the mobile device, several free and nominal cost apps are available for download on a variety of mobile devices. Additionally, as QR code usage continues to grow and becomes commonplace among mobile users, it is highly likely that smartphone OS providers will begin including QR code functionality as part of the standard mobile operating system, and thus eliminate the need for users to search for and download an app on their own.

For now, Kinesis recommends that all researchers who utilize short codes as an invitation delivery method also provide a QR code option. Using both in tandem provides potential respondents with greater flexibility and offers a choice that is free of charge. In the future, as QR code knowledge and usage continues to grow among consumers, QR codes will very likely supplant SMS short codes, unless the fee structure of SMS usage is radically changed.

The market research industry has an opportunity to lead mobile marketers to greater QR code adoption and assist them to reduce the research costs for many general intercept projects. Won’t you join us?

Posted on August 18, 2011 in Blog

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Erica is the Marketing Manager for Kinesis Survey Technologies. She loves bringing you the latest from the industry and engaging on social media! You can even reach Erica directly, to discuss this blog on

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