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Are 2D barcodes, which include QR codes, destined to be a big part of the digital marketing landscape - or are they really just the latest marketing fad?

It's too early to say. Awareness and use of the codes amongst consumers is low on both sides of the pond, but there are signs that QR codes can be employed effectively. For instance, Glamour generated over half a million QR code engagements in a special September 'social edition' of its magazine.

Debates over the viability of these codes aside, one thing is for sure: marketers are increasingly looking at 2D barcodes. That's according to a Scanbuy study of 100 marketers of varying sizes from different industries, which found near-universal awareness of barcodes.

Most importantly, Scanbuy says that 50% of the marketers surveyed are already using marketing barcodes in some fashion, with 86% planning to do so "in the future." The majority, not surprisingly, are looking at QR codes, but other formats, such as Datamatrix, Microsoft Tag and EZcode are generating some interest as well.

If Scanbuy's survey is to be believed, 2D barcodes, and QR codes in particular, may or may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread for marketers, but they're not going away any time soon. And if that proves to be the case, it would seem to boost the odds that these catch on eventually. After all, increasing use of QR codes in high-profile marketing campaigns, coupled with the growth of smart phone ownership, should mean that more and more consumers are eventually lured into seeing what these little barcodes are all about.

If and when enough of them decide to scan, marketers will be able to focus on what really counts: finding ways to best translate those scans into ROI.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 January, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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