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Last week I looked at the way advertisers were using QR codes in Sport magazine, and the results were far from impressive.

It seems it’s still commonplace for marketers to link mobile users to desktop sites and few of the adverts included a call-to-action or instructions on how to scan the QR code.

However among the badly executed campaigns, Toyota stood out as a brand that had clearly thought through the entire user journey and considered they type of content that mobile users would find engaging and useful.

We've previously blogged eight best practice tips for using QR codes in marketing, so I thought I'd see how Toyota puts these into practice...

QR code placement and CTA

The first hurdle that brands have to overcome is getting the user to notice the QR code, but marketers often place tiny codes in the corners of ads that are easy to miss and difficult to scan.

Similarly, the user needs to be convinced that they stand to benefit from scanning the code and some still require instructions on what a QR code is.

Therefore it’s important to include a CTA to encourage the reader to get their phone out.

Toyota’s ad ticks both of these boxes. At roughly two inches square the QR code is easy to spot, and it includes a short CTA that lets you know exactly why you should scan the code.

Landing page

If you’re going to include a QR code in your advertising it’s vital to have a mobile optimised landing page, otherwise nobody is going to bother reading your content.

Toyota has created a very simple, but incredibly effective landing page that entices the user to click the button and find out more.

The subsequent page includes a short animated advert for the Toyota GT86, which is quite pixelated but loads extremely quickly.

                      

CTAs

We’ve previously blogged eight best practice tips for mobile calls-to-action, with the most important factors being the size, colour and placement. You basically need to make sure that your CTA gets noticed and is easy to click.

In Toyota’s case, though the initial enticement is the advert it has also created an in-depth minisite packed with additional content.

It links to this with a large, prominent call-to-action (shown above) that is likely to encourage users to click through to find out more.

Content

QR codes don’t necessarily need to link to a site with a huge amount of content, they can just be used for a competition entry or some other kind of promotion or data capture form.

However Toyota’s code gives access to an interactive minisite that includes a huge amount of information about the GT86.

As well as interactive content – such as a swipeable 360-degree view of the car and audio of the engine roaring – there is practical information about the car’s specifications.

The site delivers a fluid user experience by placing the interactive and informational content side-by-side, which works better than segmenting different types of content it into different sections.

                       

One of the most impressive pages is under the ‘Explore’ tab. Designed to look like a road, text and images slide in from the side of the screen as you scroll down.

It includes information on the new car, the aforementioned audio of the engine revving, and a look at previous models dating back to the 1960s.

Navigation

The homepage gives instructions on how to navigate around the minisite, and all the different sections are hidden within a dropdown menu that uses large, buttons that make it easy to click through to each tab.

There is one usability issue here though. From the homepage there are links to the other sections presented on road signs – these are accessed by swiping the screen left and right.

However the landing page features an interactive image of the car that you can spin 360-degrees, which makes it difficult to swipe across to the other screens.

Data capture

The minisite has two different areas where users can opt-in for further engagement with Toyota.

Most QR codes link to a single data capture form, if that, but Toyota has really maximised its opportunity for gathering consumer information.

You can request an e-brochure or a test drive within the app, and there is also a link to an external mobile site to find your nearest Toyota dealer.

                       

The data capture forms are kept as short as possible (the e-brochure request has just four fields) which is important for ensuring that impatient mobile users don’t dropout.

Similarly the pages use large CTAs and the test drive form allows you to tailor exactly how you want Toyota to contact you.

In conclusion...

Overall this is one of the best uses of QR codes that I’ve come across. The technology is often derided as a stopgap until something better comes along, but that’s largely down to the fact that marketers aren’t using it correctly.

Advertisers need to keep in mind that QR codes are just the delivery method and that it’s the content that defines the user experience.

Too many brands seem to think that the QR code itself is the important content while anything that comes after it is of secondary importance.

Toyota has clearly put a lot of effort into creating a minisite that both entertains the user and provides two opportunities for data capture.

The animated film is the initial carrot to get users to scan the QR code, but the CTAs then encourage the user to find out more.

There are issues with the minisite – for example, you can’t view the content in landscape and there is a usability problem with the navigation on the homepage.

However the overall experience is very well designed and hopefully this will soon become the norm rather than the exception.

David Moth

Published 27 November, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1690 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Ali White White

Ali White White, Director at Elliptycs

Couldn't agree more with you here:

"Advertisers need to keep in mind that QR codes are just the delivery method and that it’s the content that defines the user experience."

As you say for the most part the minisite has been well thought out. However, I don't agree that the CTA is prominent enough underneath. I think more could have been done here to drive more engagement - especially when considering the effort & detail that has gone into the minisite.

about 4 years ago

Ali White White

Ali White White, Director at Elliptycs

Sorry I should specify by CTA I'm referring to the text under the QR code.

about 4 years ago

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Ari Fuld

Another great article on the QR Code fad.
Happy to see companies are finally using QR Codes the way they were supposed to be used. It's time the West catches up with the effective QR Code campaigns being used in countries like China, Korea and Japan.

The first problem you mentioned about QR Code placement is one that I have been working on at a young company called Visualead.
In a nutshell we believe that any design itself should able to be given the power of the QR Code without destroying the design itself.

A Visual QR Code allows for any design or any part of one to be turned into a QR Code.

A large responsibility of an effective QR Code ad still lies with the company that decides to use the QR Code. There is nothing more damaging for a company rep than having someone attempt to scan a QR Code to save time only to end up wasting time.

about 4 years ago

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Keep

The whole key for advertisers to use QR codes is to make sure that the code itself is obvious enough and intriguing enough for users to see and use it, but the whole content of the advert needs to also give people who don't know what QR codes are or don't use them the chance to understand it without getting confused.

I think with more knowledge in places in europe of QR codes the more people and advertisers will start using them in clever ways

about 4 years ago

Emma North

Emma North, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

I think the key to getting readers to engage with QR codes is giving them value, some sort of reward for doing so. Most people still don't use QR codes simply as a quick way to visit a webpage: most people find it quicker and easier just to type or search the site in their mobile browser. Readers are most likely to scan a QR code if they think they will gain something from doing so.

I think it's important not just to have a mobile landing page but a specific page only for that QR, offering something unique such as a video, offer or exclusive information. Brands need to consider what the user will want before they stick a QR code on mindlessly and wonder why no-one scans it.

Good article David!

about 4 years ago

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Alex Janus

Thanks. For the analytics fans statistics page for the used bit.ly link behind that QR code https://bitly.com/NaJ564+

about 4 years ago

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