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Rules to Better QR Code - 4 Rules

  1. Do you know how to make a QR code?

    You can create and share the best media, but if people cannot easily interact with your site, the hard work is wasted. Imagine you've set up a great campaign, but to get to your website users must manually type in the URL. This will handicap engagement for even the most exceptional marketing. The last thing you want is for a user's experience to be cumbersome.

    QR codes give a smooth transition from offline to online content, which simplifies user interaction. They are effective in many different contexts.

    Steps to Create a QR Code

    1. Choose a Generator: There are many online that have different features. QR Code Generator is a simple, free one to use.
    2. Enter your link: You can link to a URL, text or other data.
    3. Customize it: Many generators let you modify the design of your QR code. Sometimes you have to pay for extra customization.
    4. Download The QR Code: Look for the download button (you might have to choose whether you want jpg, png, etc.).

    ⚠️ Note: You should never have to create an account to download a basic QR code. Many websites will try to fool you into making one. Don't fall for it!

    qr code generator
    Figure: The URL on the left, and customization options on the right

    Tracking QR Code data through Google Analytics (GA)

    If you want to track data through Google Analytics, it's very easy.

    1. First use the Google Campaign URL Builder to create your link
    2. Use the new link to create your QR code

    Figure: Good example - The link you use to make the QR code will have a '?utm_source' ending

  2. Do you know all the things you can use QR codes for?

    Just as barcodes allow machines to read data from items in stores, QR codes are a barcode-like vector between online and offline information. QR codes can be easily accessed by any phone in the world that has a camera. They enable everything from online to offline (O2O) marketplaces, the latter being huge in China.

    1. Use a QR code to follow a WeChat Business/Brand Account

    Customers - WeChat allows users to follow a Business/Brand account upon scanning (using the built-in QR scanner). QR codes aren’t just used online, but also in a store or on business cards to save you typing in a URL.

    Businesses - Followers of the WeChat Business/Brand accounts can be sent a limited number of messages per month, usually product info and promotions.

    Figure: A QR code on a Microsoft newsletter, which allows customers to scan and follow the business account

    Follow official account
    Figure: The WeChat app can scan the QR code, which then allows the customer to click the Follow button. They will then receive regular updates

    2. Use a QR code to share WeChat contact information

    All WeChat users get their own customized QR code. It can be shown for anyone else to scan or share.

    Note: QR codes can be scanned by tapping and holding on them.

    personal qr code
    Figure: Customize WeChat’s personal QR code by changing the style

    extract a qr code
    Figure: Tap and hold on a QR image to extract a QR code

    3. Use a QR code to receive money in Alipay

    Alipay allows users to receive funds via QR code without adding the payee as a contact.

    Users create a QR code for the payer to scan and pay.

    receive money alipay
    Figure: How to show your "Pay me" QR code on Alipay

    4. Use a QR code to make a payment offline by using WeChat and Alipay

    Making a payment to an offline merchant can be done via QR code.

    Once your total has been rung up, show your “Pay Vendor” QR code for the merchant to scan and pay.

    pay vendor wechat
    Figure: How to show your “Pay Vendor” QR code on WeChat

    pay vendor alipay
    Figure: How to show your “Pay Vendor” QR code on Alipay

    5. Use a QR code to check product history and verification

    QR codes are used for linking information such as supply and manufacture dates on the side of the packaging.

    product info qrcode
    Figure: Use WeChat to scan the QR code and view product information in a supermarket

    6. Use a QR code to install apps

    Companies are using QR codes to distribute Apps to download and install. It is easier than putting a link on ads or asking customers to search in App stores.

    install apps qr code
    Figure: A government-sponsored billboard in Hangzhou showcasing apps for tourists

    7. Use a QR code to sign-up and login to websites

    Some websites offer login using WeChat’s third-party authentication API - simply use WeChat to scan their QR code.

    zhihu login
    Figure: Use WeChat to sign-up and login to Zhihu (a Chinese Quora alternative)

    Some social networks also offer login by scanning a QR code using the network’s own app instead of entering a username and a password.

    weibo login
    Figure: Use the Weibo App to scan a QR code to login to their services on the web

    8. Use a QR code to connect to a hotspot

    Wi-Fi via WeChat is a feature for businesses and public places offering free Wi-Fi hotspots to their customers. It’s a common service in China. Rather than having to find the publicly posted Wi-Fi password, users can login quickly using their WeChat accounts.

    hotspot qr code
    Figure: How to connect to a public hotspot

    9. Use a QR code to ride a bus or subway

    You can use QR codes to ride a bus or subway in most main cities in China.

    For example, to ride a bus using Alipay QR code in Hangzhou you have to apply for a virtual bus card and use the card when you are boarding a bus.

    ride bus qr code
    Figure: How to ride a bus using the Alipay QR code in Hangzhou

    show qr code bus
    Figure: Presenting your QR code to a bus scanner

    10. Use a QR code to unlock a share-bike

    You can rent a bike in China by scanning a QR code on a share-bike.

    For example, to rent a Hellobike:

    sharing bike qr code
    Figure: How to rent a Hellobike using the Alipay App

    Note: Make sure you have funds available in your Alipay account.

  3. Do you know where the QR code scanner should be on a UI?

    The best place for a QR code scanner is to put it on top of the home page with a “Scanner” icon and labeled “Scan”?

    qr scanner on UI
    Figure: Good example - Apps put the QR code scanner on top of homepage

    QR code is widely used in Chinafy projects, it is easier for users to find the scanner when it located in a convenient place.

  4. Do you track QR codes' data for your own URLs in Google Analytics?

    To ensure you are tracking the traffic taken to your website from a QR code, it's important to add UTM parameters to the URLs you are using to create your QR codes.

    This will allow you to see users, bounce rate, sessions, events, conversions and more in Google Analytics.

    The UTM parameters in a URL identify the campaign that refers traffic to a specific website, and attributes the browser's website session and the sessions after that until the campaign attribution window expires to it. The parameters can be parsed by analytics tools and used to populate reports.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Important: this only works for your own domain or domains that you have access to in your Google Analytics account.

    Google's Campaign URL Builder is a free tool that allows you to easily add campaign parameters to URLs so you can measure Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.

    google utm generator
    Figure: Google will provide you with a campaign URL, ready to track all the relevant data you need

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