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. 

David Moth

Published 23 March, 2012 by David Moth

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

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Comments (2)

Andrew Wise

Andrew Wise, Strategic Director at Engine Creative

With regards to Augmented Reality (AR), we are seeing higher engagement rates when the advert is presented in a more intimate medium and when you have a captive audience (such as a magazine, a printed brochure or an album cover) and at the moment less so on outdoor (the embarrassment factor of scanning in public and people pointing at you is still an issue).

On the recent AR projects we have worked on, such as the fully augmented magazine for Top Gear, there has been a 27% engagement rate and of that number, up to 25% are clicking through to online content. We believe these figures can be replicated on augmented outdoor campaigns once the general awareness of AR increases to a higher level as long as the implementation is relevant to the audience and highly creative.

over 6 years ago

Panos Ladas

Panos Ladas, Digital Marketing Manager at Piece of Cake

There are 739 million Europeans (live in Europe) or 502 million (as members of the European Europe).

13% of 502 million = 65 million people.

Do you SERIOUSLY believe that 65 million people have scanned QR codes in outdoor ads? And 200 million people know what QR code is??

about 6 years ago

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