Only 13% of European consumers have scanned a QR code within an outdoor advert, according to research from CBS Outdoor and Kantar Media.

This is despite that fact that the study showed awareness of QR codes to be at 40%.

Interestingly though, in comparison to other interactive mobile technologies, QR codes are still performing well.

The report, Interactive Europe, was based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of 9,000 Europeans across 6 markets – exploring interactivity in the context of ‘Out of Home’ advertising.

Awareness of augmented reality ads sat at 14%, with usage at 4%, while only 6% of consumers are aware of NFC – and 1% of respondents have actually used it in the context of outdoor advertising.

The report suggests that “the technologies with greatest potential are those which simplify the user experience” and that the mass use of smartphones is bringing “added strength” to outdoor advertising.

Interactivity on Out of Home campaigns allows brands to make an emotional connection with the consumer in a public space and at a time when consumer action is possible.”

In fact, 71% of smart device users said they would feel more positive about a brand that invites interaction as it makes the brand feel closer and more relevant because the consumer feels more in control.

And although the report’s authors do have a vested interest, the data shows that 74% of respondents expect big brands to advertise out of home, while 66% said that out of home advertising offers a welcome distraction to the mundanities of life – particularly when travelling.

Just over half (51%) of respondents said they pay attention to advertising to outdoor advertising more than any other medium.

CBS Outdoor highlights a series of pitfalls that should be avoided when planning an interactive campaign – these include linking to websites that are not mobile optimised, relying on a Facebook logo to encourage interaction, lack of connectivity and poor positioning of QR codes.

An Econsultancy/Toluna survey (conducted online) from October 2011 found that 19% of UK comsumers had scanned a QR code, and 31% knew what they were.